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Happy Brain With
Oxytocin 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 oxytocin, you can be subject to feelings of loneliness, stress, disconnection and a general lack of motivation. It's important for bonding with loved ones and friends and without it you can feel anxious and on your own. It's the chemical that helps you give and receive love in all its forms.

Along with getting outside for exercise, eating well and nurturing conversations, video games can also help. Games that generate oxytocin are those that let you stay in the present moment with other people. Games that offer ways to communicate for the joy of conversation, or helping and being helped by other players, help your brain make this chemical. Games where you care for a pet or look after people generate this chemical. This is maximised in experiences that combine this activity with music and a sense of creative flow in what you are doing.
 
This list includes 28 games from the last 17 years, with 2,123 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to generate oxytocin.

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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...

Journey

Release Date: 14/03/2012, updated in 2019

Out Now: PC, PS3, PS4 and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Journey is an adventure game set in a desert. Exploring the eerie sandscape, you discover a world abandoned by the race that created it. The sense of space and scale evokes feelings of aloneness and being lost. But then the game pairs you with other...

Rainbow Billy

Release Date: 05/10/2021

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

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

Rainbow Billy: The Curse of the Leviathan is a role-play adventure where you save the world from colourless darkness. Unusually, battles are won through listening and conversation rather than traditional attacks. It combines the excitement and strategy...

It Takes Two

Release Date: 26/03/2021, updated in 2022

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Cartoon

It Takes Two is a running, jumping and exploring game that tells the story of a young girl, Rose, whose parents are divorcing. The girl creates two dolls to represent her parents, which unexpectedly traps the clashing couple in them. You and a friend...

Venba

Release Date: 31/07/2023

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Venba is a narrative cooking game where you play an Indian mother who emigrated to Canada in the 1980s. You cook various traditional Indian dishes and restore lost recipes which were damaged in the move to Canada. As you cook, you talk to your family...

Conduct Together

Release Date: 06/12/2018

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Cartoon

Conduct Together is a strategy game where you control toy trains along overlapping train tracks. Each train can be started and stopped with a specific button. Other buttons change different points. The aim is to transport people from one station to the...

Chicory: A Colorful Tale

Release Date: 10/06/2021, updated in 2021

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Hand-Made

Chicory: A Colorful Tale is an adventure where you play an everyday dog thrust into the role of wielding a magic brush. The world starts black and white but you colour it in with your paintbrush to solve puzzles and help your animal friends. It looks...

Knights And Bikes!

Release Date: 26/08/2019, updated in 2020

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Hand-Made

Knights And Bikes! is a hand-painted adventure in a fictional late-eighties British Isles. You work together as Nessa and Demelza who explore its coast on bikes to find treasure, mystery and trouble. There’s fighting with frisbees, water balloons,...

Bury Me My Love

Release Date: 26/10/2017, updated in 2020

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

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On, Cartoon and Text

Bury Me My Love is a narrative adventure game where you play the husband of a Syrian woman, Nour, travelling to Europe. Play involves receiving and sending simple messages where Nout tells you how she is getting on and you influence her choices. It...

Lil Gator Game

Release Date: 14/12/2022, updated in 2023

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

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

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

Lil Gator Game is an action-adventure set on an island playground where a young brother invents exciting games to try and get his older sister to play like they used to. You guide your waddling gator to explore the world as you bop cardboard baddies,...

That's You!

Release Date: 04/07/2017

Out Now: PS4

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

That's You! is a family quiz game played on the PlayStation using Android or iOS phones/tablets as controllers. The game displays a challenge on the main TV screen that each player tries to complete on the device in their hand.

Wilmot's Warehouse

Release Date: 29/08/2019

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Wilmot's Warehouse is a game for people who like to organise things. You are in charge of a warehouse and must manage 100s of items of stock. Identical square boxes are labelled with rudimentary icons. On your own or with another player, you must...

Orchids to Dusk

Release Date: 03/12/2015

Out Now: PC

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Orchids to Dusk is a short wandering adventure. You are an astronaut stranded on an alien planet, with only a few minutes of oxygen. You explore the world and discover fantastic gardens on the planet.

Affordable Space Adventures

Release Date: 09/04/2015

Out Now: Wii U

Components: 2D Side-On

Affordable Space Adventures is a communication shooting game where you work to pilot a diminutive spacecraft through a hostile environment. One player uses the Wii U game tablet to control engines, power and shields. A second player controls lights and...

Jett: The Far Shore

Release Date: 05/10/2021

Out Now: PC, PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Components: 3D Third-Person and Open World

Jett: The Far Shore is a sci-fi adventure where you play inquisitive pilot Mei, exploring a mysterious planet on a nimble jet-powered craft. It draws on films like 2001: Space Odyssey and takes its time building atmosphere. Once it gets going it becomes...

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...

One Hour One Life

Release Date: 27/02/2018

Out Now: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

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

One Hour One Life is a civilisation survival game where each player lives a whole life in an hour of play and then passes away. Born as a baby into the care of anonymous other online players, you initially depend on them for food. Quickly growing, you...

Overcooked! All You Can Eat

Release Date: 07/08/2018, updated in 2018

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Grid

Overcooked! All You Can Eat is part of a series of collaborative cooking games for up to 4 players. You must keep talking to other players to coordinate the various elements of the dishes. It starts simply enough but soon gets more complicated as you...

Heave Ho

Release Date: 29/08/2019

Out Now: Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On

Heave Ho is a game where up to four players try and swing themselves across a level. But you can only hang on to certain points and must dangle and swing with both arms to progress. The twist is that you can also hold hands with other players and make...

Last Stop

Release Date: 22/07/2021

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

Skill Rating: 13+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person and Cartoon

Last Stop is an adventure set in London. You play three interconnected characters, making choices that shape their conversations, and determine where their stories lead.

Wide Ocean Big Jacket

Release Date: 07/02/2020

Out Now: Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 3D First-Person, Cartoon, Hand-Made and Open World

Wide Ocean Big Jacket is a game about camping. Or rather, it's a game about the conversations you have while you are camping. You follow 13-year-old teenage friends Mord and Ben who recently started dating. The camping trip is with Mord’s Uncle Brad...

Spaceteam (Series)

Release Date: 01/12/2012

Out Now: Android and iOS

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Text

Spaceteam is a puzzle communication game where players pilot a spaceship, each with their own control panel on their smartphone or tablet screen. The switches, dials, sliders and levers are labelled with randomly-generated peculiar names: ‘Astral...

Time on Frog Island

Release Date: 12/07/2022

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

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead, Cartoon, Day and Night and Weather

Time on Frog Island is a world building adventure set on an island of anthropomorphised frogs where you solve puzzles to survive and thrive on an island after a shipwreck. You explore at your own pace and solve sticky situations for the colourful locals...

Tanknarok

Release Date: 23/06/2020, updated in 2021

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

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Components: 2D Overhead and Blocks

Tanknarok is a high speed shooting game where 2-4 tanks battle in different toy-like arenas. Controls are simple: one stick for movement and one for aiming. It's a fast and frantic competition with each tank using guns, explosions and rockets to win.

Pikmin Bloom

Release Date: 27/10/2021

Out Now: Android and iOS

Components: 2D Overhead

Pikmin Bloom is an adventure strategy game you play by walking outside, like Pokemon Go. You explore your locale to find and recruit colourful Pikmin creatures with different abilities that can be used to complete in-game tasks.

Airhead

Release Date: 12/02/2024

Out Now: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Components: 2D Side-On and Cartoon

Airhead is an exploration adventure in a sprawling interconnected world. The twist is that you play as a small Body that must keep the Head (it finds) inflated. Sometimes together, sometimes apart, you must use a growing array of abilities to find a way...

Fru

Release Date: 29/06/2016

Out Now: Xbox 360 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Dice

Fru is a platform game with a twist. One player uses a controller to run and jump around the level; a second player stands in front of the Xbox Kinect camera and appears on the screen in silhouette. This person must use the outline of their body to...

Hotel Dusk

Release Date: 22/01/2007

Out Now: 3DS and 2DS and DS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Components: 2D Side-On and Hand-Made

Hotel Dusk: Room 215 is a point-and-click adventure game about detective Kyle Hyde staying in a Twin-Peaks-like, rundown motel near 1979 Los Angeles. You move around the hotel to find clues, talk to other guests and ultimately solve what happened to his...

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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