Gaming has been slated over the years as a largely violent pastime, and is even occasionally blamed for the violent actions of a few individuals. Different countries have taken varying stances against such situations, implementing both mandatory and voluntary ratings systems (such as ESRB and PEGI): designed to keep inappropriate content away from children and other vulnerable groups. For instance, Australia’s ratings board is often mentioned in the gaming press for having banned a particular title (such as GTA and Manhunt), while some developers are forced to produce a censored version of their game in certain regions.
With that said, today we present a look at five of Power Up Gaming’s favourite games for pacifists (or parents):
5. RollerCoaster Tycoon (1999-present, PC series)
We have owned every Rollercoaster Tycoon game since the series launched and are eagerly awaiting the release of RCT World, currently in production by Pipeworks Software for Atari. In the series, you play the role of a theme park owner/manager cum designer, tasked with running a successful business, creating fun and exciting rides and keeping the pavements and walkways as puke-free as you can. The more recent 3D reboots even let you ride your creations from a first person viewpoint – just keep a sick bucket handy!
We’re not going to recommend a specific sports title as your enjoyment will be based almost entirely on whether you’re a fan or not. Suffice to say that there are plenty of golf, hockey, basketball, baseball, cricket, football, American football and rugby games out there for you to choose from. Some are arguably more violent than others (EA Sports’ UFC title for instance), but they are largely more about fun and simulation. Football Manager is also a favourite in the office.
3. Skate 3 (2010, PS3/Xbox 360)
Although some still consider skateboarding to be a form of high-speed anti-social behaviour, the chilled, humorous and often refreshingly complex gameplay of the Skate series is great fun and not at all violent. Unless you count the “Hall of Meat” challenges… but that’s all self-inflicted so it’s okay.
2. Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011, Multi-platform)
Oh yes. We’re throwing in a curve ball, because we can. Sure, you play the role of a genetically and cybernetically enhanced super soldier toting advanced weaponry in a bid to bring down international terrorists and Triads, but technically you can complete the entire game without harming a soul, meaning it’s all about the choices made by the player. Take that, anti-video game lobbyists.
1. Portal (2007-present, Multi-platform series)
We don’t think we’ve recommended any game more than we’ve recommended Portal 2. Its combination of engaging puzzles, bizarre unravelling story and top class humour makes it one of our favourite games of all time (Also, my car’s voice response system sounds like GLADIS, which makes receiving texts all the more funny – DJ).
Of course, there are now thousands of mobile, social and indie titles like Farmville, Bubble Witch Saga and Temple Run which could also have proved our point, but it is more often than not the larger developers who face the most criticism (Additionally, having said that, the Minion Rush game brings out a darker side to my girlfriend that is far scarier than anything in the Resident Evil series – DJ).
There is even an increasing number of education-based games aimed at teaching kids how to code or improve skills in areas such as Maths and English. We personally hope this trend continues, as it will slowly begin to prove gaming’s worth to the wider community beyond being a simple pastime.