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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 12 games from the last 18 years, with 860 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to generate dopamine.

 

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...

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...

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...

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

I Commissioned Some Bees (Series)

Release Date: 30/05/2022, updated in 2024

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

I Commissioned Some Bees is a puzzle game series where you search original artwork to find bees hidden in them. There are many bees in every picture, so you can normally find one in a couple of seconds, although finding all of them can be challenging...

Pureya

Release Date: 26/03/2021

Out Now: Android, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 5+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Cartoon

Pureya is an action game about collecting marbles. However, the type of game you are playing changes every 10 seconds so the challenge is as much about quickly adjusting to the new format as much as pressing buttons really quickly. It's a game that...

RunMan Turbo

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

RunMan Turbo is a traversal game where you race through a brightly coloured world. You play by bouncing, sliding, jumping, tumbling and running as fast as you can over obstacles and towards a finishing line. It is a game of instinct, where you must...

Smash Hit

Release Date: 06/03/2014

Out Now: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Smash Hit is a surreal adventure where you shoot balls to smash the stylised world in harmony with the music. The challenge comes from your limited supply of balls, that must be topped up by hitting key objects. It stands out for offering a meditative...

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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