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Happy Brain With
Endorphin 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 endorphins, we can struggle to cope with pain and stress. We also need endorphins when we want to push ourselves beyond our discomfort in chosen activities. They are also needed to help with sleep, particularly when there is anxiety or worries on our minds.

Along with getting outside for exercise, eating well and nurturing conversations, video games can also help. Games that help create endorphins are those that let us experience excess emotions. Video games that make us laugh or cry do this. Also, games that let us feel the exhilaration of creating something beautiful or being part of that creative process help generate endorphins. Horror games can do this for some, offering the stress of fear and jump-scares before the euphoria of escape and mastery of both the situation and our fears. Extreme racing games can also generate endorphins as you narrowly escape a catastrophic crash, or if you take on a super long challenge like Le Mans 24 Hours.
 
This list includes 41 games from the last 29 years, with 866 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to generate endorphin.

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Subnautica

Release Date: 11/04/2016, updated in 2018

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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

Subnautica is an open-world adventure where you explore the ocean on an alien planet after crashlanding. You collect resources and fight creatures to survive. This enables you to establish an underwater base, gain new craft and equipment and explore...

Hello Neighbor (Series)

Release Date: 08/12/2017

Out Now: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Hello Neighbor is a stealth survival game with a horror feel where you try and sneak into the basement of your neighbour’s house to uncover a "horrible secret". The game responds to your strategy by setting traps along paths the player followed in...

Lonely Mountains Downhill

Release Date: 22/10/2019

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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

Lonely Mountains Downhill is a racing game where you traverse a mountain on a bike. Make your way through thick forests, narrow trails and wild rivers. Race, jump, slide and try not to crash all the way from the peak to the valley. You choose your route...

Wavetale

Release Date: 10/11/2021, updated in 2023

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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

Wavetale is a surfing and jumping adventure in a world of sunken cities, dangerous water and oppressive fog. You play as Sigrid, a young girl who works to restore the decaying archipelago and befriends a mysterious shadow that lets her walk on water...

Cruis’n Blast

Release Date: 14/09/2021

Out Now: Switch and Wii

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Cruis’n Blast is a brash over-the-top racing game based on a series of big arcade machines. Competing with games like Ridge Racer, OutRun and Daytona USA, it offers whacky racing with big and bombastic visuals and characters.

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...

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...

Carrion

Release Date: 23/07/2020

Out Now: Mac, PC, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Carrion is a horror game where you play the amorphous alien as well as human protagonists. This reverse-horror scenario puts you in control of an organic tentacled monster to make your way through the facility, stalking and killing humans in your path.

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...

Street Fighter V (Series)

Release Date: 16/02/2016, updated in 2020

Out Now: PC and PS4

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Street Fighter V (Street Fighter 5) is a competitive fighting game. First introduced in 1987, this classic game from Japan has inspired a whole genre. You choose a champion fighter from around the world, each with unique abilities, then fight one-on-one...

Descenders

Release Date: 08/05/2019, updated in 2023

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

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Descenders is a downhill mountain biking game with a focus on skill. In each downhill run, your goal is to score as many points as possible by completing skill-based challenges and executing as many tricks and flips as you can, all while you try to...

Karlson

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Karlson is a platform game where you take on shooting, running and jumping challenges to complete the level by getting to the tongue-in-cheek Milk prize. The focus is on skilled movement and precision shooting. As you fight your way out of the facility,...

MultiVersus

Release Date: 26/07/2022

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

MultiVersus is a fighting game like Smash Brothers where you team up with or against other players. The novelty is this teamwork and the deep catalogue of characters you can fight with. Batman, Shaggy from Scooby Do, Superman, Bugs Bunny and so on.

The Finals

Release Date: 07/12/2023

Out Now: PC, PS5 and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

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

The Finals is an online shooting game where you are a contestant in a violent game show. You play from first person perspective, aiming to shoot opponents before they shoot you. The twist is that everything in the world from the buildings to the trees...

Burnout Paradise

Release Date: 16/03/2018, updated in 2018

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

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

Burnout Paradise is the latest game in the Burnout series, an over-the-top racing game where you’re encouraged to crash, bash and ram other cars. Throughout the series the bravado and crashing increase, but they all have the same novel core gameplay.

Skate 3 (Series)

Release Date: 14/09/2007, updated in 2010

Out Now: PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Skate is a skateboarding series with innovative controls. One stick is used to control the skater's body and the other his feet. This resulted in the need to quickly motion different patterns to intuitively achieve different tricks - what become coined...

Tony Hawk 1 and 2

Release Date: 04/09/2020

Out Now: DS, Mac, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Tony Hawk 1 and 2 is a sports simulation skateboarding game series. It features the famous skater in 19 different games. From its start in 1999 on PlayStation it is now available on most consoles and has recently been re-released in updated as Tony...

Climber: Sky is the Limit

Release Date: 21/11/2022

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

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

Climber: Sky is the Limit is a survival climbing adventure, where you scale the peaks of the highest and most famous mountains in the world. Plan the best route, select the correct equipment and avoid dangerous hazards as you ascend. It's a unique blend...

Suika Game

Release Date: 20/10/2023

Out Now: Switch and Web

Skill Rating: 3+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Suika Game, also called Watermelon Game, is a spatial puzzle challenge about matching fruits. You select where to drop each new fruit into the cup, aiming to get matching varieties touching so they merge, create bigger fruit and score points. It stands...

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...

Cash Cow DX

Release Date: 16/02/2024

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Cash Cow DX is a running and jumping game styled on classic 80's action. Play involves travelling the platforms to collect all the gems while avoiding the enemies. It stands out for perfectly capturing the sounds, visuals and pixel-perfect jumps of...

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown (Series)

Release Date: 30/06/1995, updated in 2019

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

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown is the latest flying and shooting game in the Ace Combat series of games. It features lots of real-life aircraft to master and weather conditions that impact gameplay and controls, while still retaining a fast-paced...

SpiderHeck

Release Date: 22/09/2022

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

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

SpiderHeck is a chaotic fighting game where a weaponised spider tries to take down opponents. You sling webs, shoot and slash at enemies, while frantically jumping about the dangerous arenas to land the decisive blow for victory. It's a strange concept,...

Buck Up And Drive!

Release Date: 10/01/2022

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Cartoon

Buck Up And Drive! is a retro racing game that double's down on the surrealism of 90's arcade games. It's driving meets skating by way of destruction derby and offers a great distraction from a sometimes over serious world.

Klang 2 (Series)

Release Date: 22/09/2016, updated in 2021

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Klang 2 is a psychedelic rhythm-action game. You take on enemies in this symbolic universe of three attacks: stikes, dashes and holds. The simple system interplays with the pulsing music to create a rhythm based high-speed combat challenged. Like the...

Tiny Tires

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Tiny Tires is a miniature racing game where you control toy cars around super-sized everyday locations. Play is a simple matter of getting around the course ahead of the other drivers, but as you do you must deal with hazards, make use of moveable...

Trombone Champ

Release Date: 16/09/2022, updated in 2023

Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Cartoon and Grid

Trombone Champ is a rhythm-action game where you play a trombone in time to on-screen directions. Play is unlike other music games, because you can play a trombone note at any time and the focus is on fun musicality rather than accuracy. It stands out...

Pro Gymnast Simulator

Release Date: 04/09/2020

Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Pro Gymnast Simulator is a game about gymnastics, parkour, and obstacle courses. You control a gymnast who can achieve amazing feats, however you have to pull them off by controlling your limbs and body directly. The result is a game that's unusual to...

Rally 2020 (Dreams)

Release Date: 22/02/2020, updated in 2020

Out Now: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Rally 2020 is a single-player rally racing game. Drive through a cross-country course in Germany from the viewpoint of the driver with your co-driver giving you navigation. It's novel because of the simple intensity of this task. Don't fall in the water...

Super Buckyball Tournament

Release Date: 15/11/2022

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Super Buckyball Tournament is a multiplayer futuristic sport game where teams of three battle each other to get an oversized ball into the goal. It's like Rocket League only without those tricky car physics. Instead you use your character to run, pass,...

Terror of Hemasaurus

Release Date: 17/10/2022, updated in 2022

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Terror of Hemasaurus is a retro fighting game where you smash up a destructible city as a giant monster. Play is like the classic Rampage arcade game, here though you can use the game's physics to inflict greater damage, chain reactions and combos. It's...

Tiny Terry's Turbo Trip

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

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

Tiny Terry's Turbo Trip is a bizarre action-adventure game where you must build a car capable of driving up a huge skyscraper into outer space. Play focuses on exploring the open-world city and interacting with its inhabitants to get the necessary parts...

Toroa

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

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

Toroa is a traversal game where you soar, swoop and glide across the vast Pacific Ocean as a Northern Royal Albatross. You take on an epic journey to help of Māori God of the winds, Tāwhirimātea and discover the wonders of the sea and sky.

Arcade Archives

Release Date: 19/06/2015, updated in 2022

Out Now: Android, PS4, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Arcade Archives is a series of games that faithfully recreates classic Arcade games from their original software. Along with the play modes of the original games you can adjust settings like the difficulty dip-switches, like arcade owners could.

BEAST: Bio Exo Arena Suit Team

Release Date: 19/12/2023, updated in 2024

Out Now: Apple TV, Mac and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and Cartoon

BEAST: Bio Exo Arena Suit Team is a shooting game where teams of anthropomorphic animals battle with the aid of their mech suits and weapons. Play involves joining a team of three heroes to go head-to-head with another team. It stands out for the...

Blasphemous II

Release Date: 24/08/2023

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Blasphemous II is a running, jumping and fighting game set in the same horrific world as the first game. The follow-up focuses on quality over quirkiness which makes the exploration and combat smoother but a little more derivative. There's more...

Feed The Deep

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Feed the Deep is an underwater diving and collecting adventure. You control a diver who must traverse a system of caves to find gold and other items they can sell for more equipment. It stands out for how it uses light and sound to create an eerie...

From Space

Release Date: 03/11/2022

Out Now: PC, Stadia and Switch

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

From Space is a shooting game where squads of four players liberate the earth from an alien infestation. Play is in B-Movie style with over-the-top weaponry and a cartoony post-apocalyptic world. It stands out for combing the classic dungeon action of...

Selaco

Release Date: 31/05/2024

Coming Soon: PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Selaco is a shooter game with a focus on fast movement and staged battles in a destructible underground facility. In many ways it's an update of classic fast shooting games like Quake and Doom, but the detail elevates Selaco to be something more than...

Vagante

Release Date: 22/02/2018

Out Now: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Pixels

Vagante is an adventure game where you hunt for riches in a dark fantasy world filled with monsters, demons, and crooks. Like Spelunky, enemies are not pre-programmed but respond to the player and the environment. This creates all sorts of ways to...

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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