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Identity Lists

These relate to games that help us understand ourselves and our place in the world. This uncovers the important identity work that players are often doing in the games they play. Dress-up and role-play in the play room, video games offer a chance for us to be someone else for a while. Building understanding and compassion for ourselves and others.

Video games usually let us step into the role of the hero. Sometimes our heroics result in many henchmen or even innocent bystanders getting killed. But our hearts are thought to be in the right place.

05/10/2020 / 3 years ago

While a significant portion of video games focus on combat and competition, these titles offer a less aggressive way to progress and win. None of these games enable or require the player to cause harm to another living thing -- even Mario's merciless campaign to stomp on every Goomba he meets bars him from this list. Or then there's catching and selling fish in Animal Crossing that rule that one out.

06/04/2020 / 4 years ago

Children talking to people they don't know in a video game rings alarm bells. In fact, even if they do know online friends, it can still feel a bit worrying about what might be said. Worrying headlines about these conversations going wrong or being co-opted by adults means we rush to limit them.

06/01/2022 / 2 years ago

Video games offer an opportunity to inhabit another body. Whether we step into the powerful frame of a trained marksman or brave adventurer, while we play we have a different sense of our physicality.

24/06/2020 / 4 years ago

Video games are not often used in mature cultural spaces. We expect to find them in bedrooms, living rooms, the chip shop and the motorway services. But we don't expect to find them in arts festivals, church services or park gatherings.

19/03/2021 / 3 years ago

Video games let you step into the shoes of someone else. For a long time, the lead characters were dominated by men but more recently games have offered protagonists of a wider set of genders. Still, there aren't many with a woman hero who faces challenges and opportunities unique to her identity.

08/04/2023 / 15 months ago

Video games, like urban planning or architecture, create spaces for us to enter. Like those other disciplines, video game spaces can offer a chance to address relationships, history and identity in open and generative ways. However, also like those other disciplines, they can only exist to funnel and restrict allowed behaviour in the direction of the institution that owns the space.

16/05/2024 / 8 weeks ago

Video games aren't high on the list of most people's spiritual spaces. However, many games offer experiences that invite you to explore buildings, worlds, cities and the countryside full of potential for spiritual reflection.

07/04/2020 / 4 years ago

In September 2022 there were huge queues along the banks of the River Thames as people waited to pay their respects to the Queen. The queue became something of a phenomenon, with its own website, toilets, water points. Some people waited more than 24 hours as they slowly walked the 10 miles.

28/09/2022 / 21 months ago

Video games are essentially entertainment media that are usually designed to make money. Interestingly, they are also a powerful way to look at what agency we have (or don't have) in our lives dominated by a capitalistic imperative.

23/12/2022 / 19 months ago

We are used to books, films and radio programs challenging our assumptions on subjects. Adam Curtis, Louis Theroux and David Attenborough have powerfully used film to change perspectives and values.

05/03/2021 / 3 years ago

We've worked with the Mermaids charity to find games that create space for gender identity including trans, non-binary, and gender-diverse perspectives. Mermaids has been supporting trans, non-binary and gender-diverse children, young people, and their families since 1995.

11/12/2020 / 3 years ago

Video games often place you in positions of power, saving the world, righting the wrongs and bringing justice. Of course, real life isn't neat and tidy like that. There are many games where you are challenged to make difficult decisions and some of those put you in situations without power, where the kindest thing to do is to lie.

28/05/2020 / 4 years ago

Realistic poverty isn't a subject that is commonly featured in video games. The medium rarely asks players to balance finances with real-world consequences or to experience absolute economic destitution.

20/06/2022 / 2 years ago

These games offer worlds you explore in unusual ways. Maybe it’s hard to put one foot in front of the other, or maybe you get a chance to climb and jump athletically. These games put you in touch with what it’s like to move more easily or with more difficulty than in real life.

18/03/2020 / 4 years ago

Things don’t stay put. You’re the only one keeping the ship afloat. You can’t get people to do what you tell them. The effort you spend doesn’t produce the results it deserves. Well, in these video games you get to wield complete control over people, things, situations or even whole worlds.

01/04/2020 / 4 years ago

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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