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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 49 games from the last 29 years, with 1,032 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to generate endorphin.

 

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...

Alien: Isolation

Release Date: 06/10/2014, updated in 2019

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

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Alien: Isolation is an adventure horror game set in space, remastered in 2019 from the 2014 game due to its popularity. You play Amanda who is trying to find out the truth behind her mother's disappearance. You explore Sevastopol, a decommissioned...

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...

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.

Phasmophobia

Release Date: 18/09/2020

Out Now: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Phasmophobia (Phasmophobia VR) is a horror survival game where you and your team investigate paranormal activity. It focuses on creating a realistic world built to get your heart racing, through interactive ghost-hunting equipment and teamwork.

Choo-Choo Charles

Release Date: 09/12/2022

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Choo-Choo Charles is a survival shooting game that imagines Thomas the Tank Engine in a horror setting. You explore an island in an old upgradable train and hunt down Charles the evil spider train.

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,...

Alan Wake

Release Date: 14/05/2010

Out Now: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person

Alan Wake is a shooting game with a horror tone where you must survive the darkness and the terrors that dwell within it. You use your torch to weaken the monsters that hunt you, then switch over to conventional weapons to dispatch them. It stands out...

Poppy Playtime

Release Date: 12/10/2021, updated in 2022

Out Now: Android, PC and iOS

Components: 3D Third-Person

Poppy Playtime is a horror puzzle adventure game where you are pursued by vengeful toys in an abandoned factory. Amidst the disturbing music and jump scares you hack electrical circuits and collect useful items. Along with the unusual horror setting,...

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.

Resident Evil Village

Release Date: 22/03/1996, updated in 2021

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

Skill Rating: 15+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person

Resident Evil Village is a survival horror adventure. It follows on the narrative of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and the first person perspective. As in the other games, you play Ethan Winters who is searching for his kidnapped daughter in a village...

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.

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...

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...

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...

Motorstorm (Series)

Release Date: 14/12/2006, updated in 2012

Out Now: PS Vita, PS2, PS3, PS4 and PSP

Components: 3D Third-Person

Motorstorm is a series of games started on the PlayStation 3 with innovative tracks that got muddier as you raced. This, along with a wide variety of vehicles and routes through each of the courses makes for an entertaining and light-hearted racing...

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...

Selfloss

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Selfloss is a narrative adventure game about a kind old man in a myth-filled world. You explore the land using the light of your staff to defeat mythical creatures and help those you meet. It's unusual because of its basis in ancient Russian and...

I Am Alive

Release Date: 07/03/2012, updated in 2013

Out Now: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

Skill Rating: 15+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

I Am Alive is an action adventure in a post apocalyptic future where an event has reduced cities to rubble. You traverse the country to find your wife and child. It draws on end of humanity fiction like The Road, and stands out for its commitment to...

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.

Ereban: Shadow Legacy

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC, Xbox One and Xbox X|S

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Ereban: Shadow Legacy is a fast-paced stealth running, jumping and fighting game where you play Ayana who can harness mystical shadow powers and gadgets. Play involves traversing the world and enemies either avoiding them or killing them as you race to...

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...

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...

Anger Foot

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Anger Foot is a fast shooting and kicking game set in a fantasy world. You shoot and blow up enemies, kick down doors and generally cause mayhem in pursuit of a menacing merciless gangsters. It's an over the top violent rush of a cartoon battle that...

Demon Spore

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Components: 2D Overhead

Demon Spore is a shooting game set in a lab with an escaped alien creature that grows organically as you play. You take on the role of a failed lab experiment that gives birth to a rapidly growing viral horror.

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...

Akimbot

Release Date: Coming soon

Coming Soon: PC

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

Akimbot is an action-adventure where you are a mechanical robot in a chaotic, futuristic universe. Play involves traversing the dense levels using your wall-running and jet-boost skills. You can take on enemies from a distance or get in close for combat...

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...

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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