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Happy Brain With
Dopamine Games
 

You can aid the happiness of your brain by taking on activities that generate key experiences and chemicals:

  • Dopamine for motivation, learning and pleasure.
  • Oxytocin for trust and building relationships.
  • Serotonin for significance and importance.
  • Endorphins for euphoria and elation.

Without dopamine, you can be subject to procrastination, low self-esteem, inability to focus and feelings of hopelessness. It's the chemical that can give you the determination to accomplish goals, desires and needs.

Along with getting outside for exercise, eating well and nurturing conversations, video games can also help. Games that generate dopamine are those where you can complete repeating tasks, like Fortnite or Rocket League, which have a lot of chances to win or excel. Other games, like Animal Crossing or Adopt Me, offer the feeling of a job well done. This is increased in games where you are doing this not only for yourself but for the group you are a part of, like playing in a team in Sea of Thieves, Apex Legends or Sky Children of the Light, where new players also need help and kindness.
 
This list includes 60 games from the last 25 years, with 2,484 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to generate dopamine.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Release Date: 25/04/2020

Out Now: Switch

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

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

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a role-play collecting game where you live on a small island teeming with life. Insects, fish, trees, vegetation and fossils are represented with cute cartoon visuals. Rather than the scale or grandeur of other game...

Sea of Thieves

Release Date: 20/03/2018, updated in 2023

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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

Sea of Thieves is an online game where you play a pirate searching for treasure and adventure. Cast into a large open sea you work with other online players to crew your ship and find treasure. The game has a main story but really focuses on creating...

Rocket League

Release Date: 28/08/2018

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Rocket League is a sports action game where you drive futuristic cars to score goals with an oversized football. It's a game that sounds ridiculous but is actually a huge amount of fun to play and requires a lot of expertise. What's not obvious from the...

TowerFall Ascension

Release Date: 25/06/2013, updated in 2017

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

TowerFall Ascension is a running, jumping and archery game where each player selects a pixelated knight and fights to eliminate opponents by shooting them with arrows or jumping on their heads. Play is about quick reactions and second-guessing what your...

Hi-Fi Rush

Release Date: 23/01/2023, updated in 2024

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

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Hi-Fi Rush is a rhythm fighting game where wannabe rockstar Chai uses the beat to fight an evil corporation. You play by exploring the world and fighting enemies. The twist is that everything moves to the beat, and you must attack in time to do the most...

Crawl

Release Date: 11/04/2017, updated in 2017

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Pixels

Crawl is a dungeon fighting game where your friends control the monsters and traps. The hero player moves around, break boxes and attack enemies while the ghost players try and stop him. Once the hero dies they become another ghost and the next player...

Summerhill

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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

Summerhill is a narrative traversal game where you are a young shepherd and their dog. Play involves exploring a mysterious land to find your lost flock to guide them back home. It draws on the unusual subject matter of sheep herding to create an...

PinOut

Release Date: 27/10/2016

Out Now: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead

PinOut is an action pinball game played against the clock in a Tron-like world. You use your flippers to work up through an endless series of tables, collecting time to stay alive. It stands out not only for the endless pinball challenge but the...

Lovely Planet

Release Date: 31/07/2014, updated in 2016

Out Now: Mac, PC, PS4, Wii U and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, 3D Third-Person and Hand-Made

Lovely Planet is a shooting game which focuses on athletic flow and accuracy rather than headshots and gore. You jump and shoot your way through five worlds full of treacherous enemies with your trusty pop-gun. It's an unusual, almost balletic, shooting...

Mosa Lina

Release Date: 17/10/2023

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Mosa Lina is a platform brain game where you are granted three random abilities to complete each self-contained level. You can always walk and jump around the level, but this is aided (and sometimes hindered) by the selected abilities at your disposal...

Fortnite

Release Date: 25/07/2017, updated in 2018

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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

Fortnite is an online multiplayer shooting game where 100 people compete to be the last player standing. You stealthily traverse the world to collect weapons, out-maneuvering and out-gunning your opponents, while a storm gradually shrinks the playable...

Minecraft

Release Date: 23/11/2017, updated in 2019

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

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

Minecraft is an open-world adventure where you collect, craft and construct structures and items. Play involves exploring the world to find resources and good locations to build. Some of the best aspects of the game are less well known; along with the...

Overwatch 2

Release Date: 24/05/2016, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Overwatch 2 is a shooting game where the focus is on teamwork and skill rather than violence. In teams of five, you communicate and work together to take out the other team and complete your objective. Along with games like Rocket League, it has...

Sky Children of the Light

Release Date: 18/07/2019

Out Now: Android, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person, Cartoon, Open World and Persistant World

Sky Children of the Light (Sky Children of Light) is a huge open-world online game designed to create altruism between players. From the developer of Flower and Journey, it takes you on a social adventure in an ever-expanding world with up to 8 other...

Just Shapes & Beats

Release Date: 21/06/2018

Out Now: PC, PS4, Stadia and Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Just Shapes & Beats is a two player rhythm game where you dodge bullets in time with the music. As well as this unusual premise, play extends the novelty as you have to both avoid the various shapes and move to the Beats. It’s a new spin on the shoot...

EA Sports FC 24

Release Date: 28/09/2023

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

EA Sports FC 24 is a sports game designed to simulate the players, tactics and crescendo moments of top-flight football. Play involves picking players and setting tactics before controlling each of your team in turn on the pitch. Its simulation is...

Adopt Me! (Roblox)

Release Date: 14/07/2017

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

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

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

Adopt Me! is one of the most popular Roblox games. In a rudimentary way, it simulates daily life. You can build a home, look after pets and make friends. Like many Roblox games, it's the combination of an avid community of players...

Splatoon 3

Release Date: 21/07/2017, updated in 2022

Out Now: Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and Cartoon

Splatoon on the Wii U, Splatoon 2 and Splatoon 3 on the Switch are games where you shoot ink rather than bullets in this deeply skilled combat game. As well as taking out opponents, teams work together to cover the arena with their colour of ink. This...

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Release Date: 21/01/1999, updated in 2018

Out Now: Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a light-hearted cartoon-style brawling game where multiple players choose well-known video game characters to fight. Play involves using your character's move-set to outwit and beat your opponents. You wear down their...

Apex Legends

Release Date: 04/02/2019

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and Open World

Apex Legends is a shooting game where you team up with a few other players to survive the longest on the island. Play is. combination of shooting, moving around to get the advantage and searching for weapons and supplies. Your mission is to defeat the...

Forza Horizon 5

Release Date: 05/11/2021

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

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

Forza Horizon 5 is a fast-paced racing game where you drive all manner of different vehicles in races and across the vast open landscape. Building on Forza Horizon 4, this fifth entry to the series is set in Mexico,...

Shell Shockers

Release Date: 29/09/2021

Out Now: Android, PC, Web and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and Cartoon

Shell Shockers is an online shooting game where you play as an armed egg. It has the usual array of guns but here you aim to crack rather than kill the other players. You play the game in a web browser, it's fast to start and simple to play with a focus...

Blade Ball (Roblox)

Release Date: 17/06/2023, updated in 2023

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Blade Ball is a dodgeball-style sports game where players use their sword-like weapons to deflect the ball at each other to be the last man standing. Like dodgeball, you mustn't get hit by the ball or you are out, here you can move around freely and use...

Bomberman (Series)

Release Date: 15/03/2018

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS, Android, DS, Mac, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Stadia, Switch, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

Bomberman is the spiritual ancestor of last-player-standing battles like Fortnite and Apex Legends, but here you all play on the same screen and have the same bomb weapon. There are lots of versions, but in all of them, you battle with up to eight...

Rain World: Downpour

Release Date: 28/03/2017

Out Now: PC, PS4 and Switch

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Day and Night, Open World and Weather

Rain World: Downpour, and Rain World are traversal and survival games where you play a half-cat, half-slug in a living breathing world. You must venture out and brave the other predatory creatures to find food before the rain comes and you have to hide.

Tetris 99 (Series)

Release Date: 20/09/2019

Out Now: Switch

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Tetris is a longstanding puzzle game where you make horizontal lines by placing differently shaped tiles in a well. It's simple and fun, but as the pieces speed up it gets increasingly difficult.

Please, Touch The Artwork

Release Date: 26/01/2022

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Grid

Please, Touch The Artwork is a puzzle game that tells a story with real abstract paintings. Unconventionally it asks, what would happen if we did touch the artwork in museums? The answer is revealed over three stories each focusing on a different...

I Wanna Maker

Release Date: 13/02/2020

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

I Wanna Maker is a running and jumping game where you create unique levels and share them with other players. With over 1000 levels to play, all made by different people across the world, it offers a fresh platforming challenge with a wide range of...

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl

Release Date: 05/10/2021

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl is a fighting game similar to Super Smash Bros. The novelty comes not only from its roster of Nickelodeon characters, but also from its fast-paced and intense rounds, rewarding skill...

Splitter Critters

Release Date: 15/05/2018, updated in 2021

Out Now: Android, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Splitter Critters is a puzzle game where you cut up the world to connect platforms and get to the exit. You split and rearrange each level so you can avoid deadly lasers and create floating swimming pools to guide alien critters back to their spaceship.

Stick Fight: The Game

Release Date: 28/09/2017, updated in 2021

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

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Stick Fight: The Game is a vicious fighting game depicted with stick men. You play by controlling small coloured stick men, who mimic real-world physics and bodily movement. To win you need to use the physics-based movement to land punches, kicks and...

Marvel's Spider-Man 2

Release Date: 20/10/2023

Out Now: PS5

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

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

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 is the action-adventure sequel to Marvel's Spider-Man and Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales where you shoot webs to swing around New York and defeat...

GigaBash

Release Date: 05/08/2022

Out Now: PC, PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Blocks

GigaBash is a fighting game where you brawl against other players in matches of up to four people, each of whom controls a huge, city-destroying monster. With a wide array of moves to perfect for each character, there's not only silly fun but also deep...

Luck Be A Landlord

Release Date: 06/10/2020

Out Now: Mac and PC

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Luck Be a Landlord is a simulation game where you collect symbols to build the ultimate slot machine, win lots of money, and defeat capitalism. You choose the tokens like deck building games, then have repeated attempts to win money like a rogue-like...

Shotgun King (Punkcake)

Release Date: 12/05/2022, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

Shotgun King is a gruesome game of chess where you play a single piece with a shotgun. It combines turn-based strategic runs with classic chess moves. It's a game of Chess where all your comrades have gone to the other side (and you found a firearm).

Olliefrog Toad Skater

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Olliefrog Toad Skater is a skateboarding sports adventure where you play a cute frog or toad pulling stunts at their local skatepark. You play by rolling, ollie-ing, grinding, and kickflipping to score points and explore the world.

Paper Animal RPG

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

Paper Animal RPG is a simple adventure game in a colourful world. You create a band of animal heroes to fight enemies and collect equipment and power-ups.

Survivor.io

Release Date: 05/09/2020, updated in 2022

Out Now: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Pixels

Survivor.io is a shooting game where you survive hoards of zombies. You play by controlling the direction of your character and nothing else. Unlike the web game of a similar name, Surviv.io Battle Royale, this is a single-player game that stands out...

Wii Play (Series)

Release Date: 02/12/2006, updated in 2011

Out Now: Wii

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Wii Play is a collection of multi-player party games originally designed for the Nintendo Wii and its motion controller.

Astro Aqua Kitty

Release Date: 04/06/2021, updated in 2022

Out Now: PC, PS Vita, PS4, PS5, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Astro Aqua Kitty is a space adventure where an intrepid crew of cats launch into space to harvest milk from far off planets. You play by moving and shooting your way through levels to meet inhabitants and upgrade your abilities. It stands out for this...

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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