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Get Children Into
Architecture
 

We spend our lives in buildings every day. Our homes, offices, shopping malls, cathedrals, stations, bridges and even public toilets have all been designed. Video games mirror and magnify this built environment in different ways.

Some, like Assassin's Creed, Grand Theft Auto and Forza Horizon recreate virtual versions of familiar places. Others, like The Witcher, Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess and Eastshade, create their own cities and buildings. Then there are games like The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, Biomutant, Enslaved or The Last Of Us that drop you in a once-great but now ruined architecture.

Along with these pre-built spaces, there are also games that invite you to affect and rebuild the architecture of a world. Games like Townscaper allow you to easily create a series of buildings and consider how one structure relates to those around it -- like a street-scene generator. Then there are games like Animal Crossing, that offer a social context in which to apply your architectural and landscaping skills.

Then there are games that build spaces that would be impossible in real life. From the Escher-like Manifold Garden to the scale-confounding Superliminal, these games can play with perspective and movement to not only confuse the player but open new possibilities in perceiving buildings.

Finally, there are games with breathtaking architecture. Whether it's the atmospheric lighting of Control, the climbable buildings of the Uncharted series or Shadow of the Colossus vast cathedral-like structures, video games often create original spaces that stop you in your tracks.

The video games in this list create space to notice, reflect and try your hand at architecture. They are fun, but they are also important because the design of the spaces we spend time in has profound effects on how we feel, think and move.
 
This list includes 64 games from the last 24 years, with 2,300 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to learn how buildings are built.

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Unpacking

Release Date: 02/11/2021

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks, Hand-Made and Pixels

Unpacking is a meditative puzzle game where you unpack belongings into a series of spaces, each representing a stage in life. You get to know the owner of the objects by their possessions and circumstances. To finish a level you need to work out where...

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild

Release Date: 03/03/2017

Out Now: Switch and Wii U

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild departs from the previous Zelda formula with the scale and depth of its world. You walk, fly, ride and climb your way through a landscape that varies in climate, terrain, inhabitants and vegetation. Weather and...

Teardown

Release Date: 29/10/2020, updated in 2023

Out Now: PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Teardown is a strategic game where you plan and execute a heist in fully destructible environments. Your objective is to claim the key cards that are hidden around the map. However taking one triggers the alarm, giving you only sixty seconds before...

Townscaper

Release Date: 30/06/2020, updated in 2021

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Web, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Blocks and Hand-Made

Townscaper is a creative town-building game where you pick colours from the range available and click to put down a house in the sea. As you continue to add houses of different colours the game automatically orientates the architecture for you.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Release Date: 19/05/2015

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is an action-adventure game where you play monster-hunter Geralt in a vast open world as he searches for his missing adopted daughter. The game responds to your actions and has dynamic environments, weather and day–night...

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Release Date: 19/11/2016, updated in 2017

Out Now: PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is an action-adventure game set several years after the events of Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception. You play Nathan Drake, a happily married former treasure hunter coaxed out of retirement by his brother. This leads into another...

The Last Guardian

Release Date: 28/10/2016

Out Now: PS4

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

The Last Guardian is a running, jumping and exploring adventure about a boy who befriends a giant half-bird, half-mammal creature, Trico. You work together to navigate the world, solve puzzles and reach new heights. Unusually, you have to build trust...

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves

Release Date: 13/10/2009, updated in 2015

Out Now: PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is an action-adventure game that puts you in the role of treasure hunter Nathan Drake. You head to Nepal looking for the lost city of Shambala, unfortunately, you're not the only one looking for it. On your journey, you'll...

The Tomorrow Children

Release Date: 06/09/2016, updated in 2022

Out Now: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World, Persistant World and Weather

The Tomorrow Children is an online strategy game where you collaborate with other players to build, explore and develop communities. Unusually, it uses social economics and a Soviet Union-themed post-apocalyptic dystopia as the setting. You play a clone...

Tiny Glade

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead

Tiny Glade is a simulation game that gets you doodling picturesque castles. More of a toy than a game, you play by placing and moving different elements of your construction. As you do the game magically connects everything together to create beautiful...

Lego Fortnite (Fortnite)

Release Date: 06/12/2023

Out Now: Android, PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks, Day and Night and Open World

Lego Fortnite is an adventure survival game that brings classic brick building to one of the Fortnite islands. Play is more like Minecraft than Fortnite (and perhaps could have been better named). Rather than shooting other players, you collaborate on...

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Release Date: 08/11/2012, updated in 2016

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Day and Night, Open World, Persistant World and Weather

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a life simulation game where you design your dream village in a world filled with anthropomorphic animals. Like other Animal Crossing games, you design and decorate your home, collect and sell items, chat and play with...

Shadow Of The Colossus

Release Date: 18/10/2005

Out Now: PS2, PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Shadow Of The Colossus is an action-adventure game where you play a young man who enters a forbidden land to defeat sixteen massive beings to restore the life of a girl he cares about. It sounds like any other video game, although in fact, Shadow of the...

Control

Release Date: 28/08/2019

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Control is a narrative shooting game set in an outlandish paranormal fantasy, where you are swept into a role as the new director of the Federal Bureau of Control agency of the ‘paranatural’. With impressive cinematic visuals and storytelling, your...

Monument Valley

Release Date: 11/05/2018

Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Blocks

Monument Valley and Monument Valley 2 are puzzle mazes made from optical illusions. You interact with each level to change the pathway and get your character to the exit. Its striking, calm visual theme is used to build atmosphere and slowly reveal a...

Assassin's Creed Discovery Tour

Release Date: 10/09/2018, updated in 2023

Out Now: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Assassin's Creed Discovery Tour is a special mode that uses the worlds created for the main Assassin’s Creed games to offer an educational exploration experience. It is available both as a free part of the original games...

Biomutant

Release Date: 25/05/2021, updated in 2022

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Open World

Biomutant is an open-world role-play adventure about a Raccoon warrior in a large world filled with mutated animals. Exploring this living breathing ecosystem has the feel of a Zelda game, but in a broken-down steampunk aesthetic and with political...

House Flipper

Release Date: 17/05/2018, updated in 2019

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

House Flipper is a simulation game where you renovate old broken houses to make money. It's a blend of money management, detailed interior design and repair right down to the electric circuitry. It fosters a sense of creativity and imagination in how...

Empty

Release Date: 25/09/2020

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Web and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Hand-Made

Empty is a minimalist puzzle game that teaches the value of simplicity in life. You rotate and interact with different vignettes to line up items with the same background colour. As you do this they disappear and the scene slowly empties.

The Last Of Us

Release Date: 14/06/2013

Out Now: PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Weather

The Last Of Us is an action-adventure where You play a father, Joel, whose daughter was killed during the early stages of a deadly fungal outbreak. It’s now 20 years later, and he has clearly suffered from the loss. When Joel is given charge of a...

Haven Park

Release Date: 05/08/2021

Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Hand-Made and Open World

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Superliminal

Release Date: 12/11/2019, updated in 2020

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and Open World

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Paralives

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead

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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Release Date: 23/11/2011, updated in 2021

Out Now: Switch, Wii and Wii U

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Open World

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The Sims 4 (Series)

Release Date: 04/02/2000

Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Grid, Open World and Persistant World

The Sims puts you in charge of a world of characters living normal lives. By providing a home, a job, leisure, friendships and even a love interest, you work to make them happy. It’s an open-ended game as well, although the altruism is focused on...

Forza Horizon 4

Release Date: 25/09/2018

Out Now: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

Forza Horizon 4 is a thrilling racing game where you race all manner of vehicles across a wide range of landscapes. This fourth iteration is set in the United Kingdom, with Edinburgh’s narrow streets, the Lake District’s hills and rainfall and the...

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception

Release Date: 01/11/2011

Out Now: PS3 and PS4

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception is an action-adventure game and the third entry in the Uncharted series. In Uncharted 3 you once again take the role of Nathan Drake, treasure hunter, in the hunt for the lost city Ubar (also known as Atlantis of the...

Bioshock

Release Date: 21/08/2007, updated in 2016

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS3, PS4, Switch, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Bioshock is a first-person shooting game set in a fantastical underwater city. A dark story unfolds about the misuse of surgery and gene therapy, and what happens when a society develops with a power mad genius in control. It's an unusual combination of...

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Release Date: 19/11/2006, updated in 2016

Out Now: GameCube, Wii and Wii U

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is an adventure game in the Zelda series. As with the other games, you play Link, who must prevent Hyrule from being engulfed by corruption from a parallel dimension. Unlike other Zelda games, you can take the form...

Demon's Souls

Release Date: 05/02/2009

Out Now: PS3 and PS5

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Persistant World

Demon's Souls is a fighting and exploration game where you take on monstrous enemies in tough-as-nails combat. You navigate interconnected locations while fighting enemies with weapons and magic, timing your attacks, dodges, and parries exactly. It...

From Dust

Release Date: 27/07/2011, updated in 2011

Out Now: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Weather

From Dust is a strategy game. You play as an all powerful God of a primitive people. The land is ancient but devoid of humans. Unusually, you control the landscape rather than the people, moving land and water and lava to give villagers pathways to...

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Release Date: 13/11/2014, updated in 2018

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Switch and Wii U

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a running, exploring, puzzle game where you guide the Toad character to save Toadette from the villain Wingo and retrieve the Power Stars on each level. You navigate puzzles and obstacles, fighting enemies to reach the...

Maquette

Release Date: 02/03/2021, updated in 2023

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Components: 3D First-Person

Maquette is a puzzle game played in a series of nested identical worlds. What you do in the larger world affects things in the smaller one, and so on. Every building, plant, and object is simultaneously tiny and staggeringly huge.

Cloud Gardens

Release Date: 09/09/2020, updated in 2021

Out Now: Mac, PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Blocks

Cloud Gardens is a puzzle game where you grow vegetation over a dilapidated post-apocalyptic world. It's a low-pressure puzzle, from the team behind Kingdom. It has the same pixel-art style, but here you are left to take your time...

World of Goo

Release Date: 13/10/2008, updated in 2017

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Wii, Wii U and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

World of Goo is a puzzle game where you use balls of goo to create bridges that span increasingly large chasms and obstacles. The game simulates real-world physics to determine if structures are strong enough and when they collapse. This means that...

Manifold Garden

Release Date: 18/10/2019

Out Now: Apple TV, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and Open World

Manifold Garden is inspired by Escher's drawings and the reality-bending moments in the film Inception. You play from a first-person perspective and explore a beautiful, and what seems to be an abstract world, bereft of colour. It takes time to master...

Gravity Rush

Release Date: 09/02/2012, updated in 2017

Out Now: PS Vita and PS4

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Gravity Rush is a running, jumping and exploration adventure game. You play as Kat, an amnesiac with the power to manipulate gravity. She uses this ability to help her community and uncover the mystery of her past.

Staxel

Release Date: 23/09/2021

Out Now: PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Blocks and Open World

Staxel is a strategy farming game. It looks like Minecraft and has block building tools that are similar. However, this is a farming game more like Stardew Valley rather than open-world adventure. There are no monsters or dangers you find in other...

Before We Leave

Release Date: 08/05/2020

Out Now: Mac, PC, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Grid, Open World and Weather

Before We Leave is a city building simulation and strategy game. Humanity has been living in bunkers after a great calamity, and are emerging to start a new life by building farms, industry and trade routes throughout the solar system. It's an unusual...

Eidolon

Release Date: 01/08/2021

Out Now: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

Eidolon is a narrative game where you slowly explore a massive, post-human Western Washington. Unlike other action-oriented adventures, here you navigate an open world without threat. It's simply been reclaimed by nature, so your task is to discover...

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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