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Non-violent video games

January 1, 2008

in All Articles,Games

I recently went to relive my childhood arcade experiences. Expecting to relive my glory days, I went back to an arcade with bills clutched eagerly in hand. And man, was I disappointed. The majority of games seemed to be shoot-em-up, blow-em-up and drive-em-around. I went to another arcade, and yet another, and encountered the same thing. Don’t know if it was my over-optimistic childhood memories or things truly have changed, but I was disappointed.

It’s not that I dislike violent games, I just got tired of seeing so many. I like chicken fajitas, but if I had to have one for every meal, I’d quickly consider going vegetarian. Similarly, the arcade’s persistence with violent remakes of other violent games is, oddly, boring. Yes, I enjoy performing a triple kick to a zombie’s head as much as the next guy, but really, there’s got to be more to keep my interest.

Enjoy this list of non-violent, non-confrontational video games. Perfect for those wanting a bit more strategy, intelligence and family-friendly game play.

The 1991 hit Lemmings was one of the best and most popular games of its day. Luckily, it’s coming back for the Sony PSP and PS2. Control the cute Lemmings by giving them abilities, like climbing, digging and building, enabling them to find their way through a variety of levels. Other fun games with cause-and-effect problem solving themes are Chain ReactionEets and Armadillo Run. (At the time of this writing, the Lemmings site above by Sony is often slow and unresponsive. Wikipedia has another excellent Lemmings resource.)

From Mario to Zelda, Nintendo excels at imaginative, family-friendly video games. If you’ve got a handheld Nintendo DS, take advantage of non-violent games with multiplayer capabilities:

Solve puzzles and test your memory with the most important tool you have, your brain: Give your noggin a fun workout with Nintendo’s Big Brain Academy and Brain Age. Or check out Animal Crossing, where players live, work and improve the town they live in. Design and wear your own clothes. Pick furniture and design artwork for your house. Visit the museum to view exhibits, learn about fossils you’ve found, donate, or go to the observatory to view and create constellations. Talk and write letters to friends. After you’ve customized your town, invite other players to visit. Or visit and explore their towns.

A Force More Powerful is a single-player, turn-based “game of non-violent strategy”. Players learn how to defeat dictators, solve human rights violations, topple corrupt political regimes, all with non-violent methods. Modeled on real-world situations, AFMP is more than just a simulation. It’s a way of educating players how non-violence is a powerful tool in fixing social, racial, religious and political problems.

“Dance games” like Dance Dance Revolution and In the Groove are found in some arcades and most home consoles and PCs. “Dance” by stepping on a special footpad in time to music. A great workout and a lot of fun, your toughest competitor will be yourself. A free version of DDR called “Stepmania” is available for the PC.

Civilization IV: Start with a small group of settlers. Pick a good spot, and build a city. Use the city’s growth to further scientific research and exploration. Build more cities. Meet other civilizations and negotiate for peace or war. While conflict in Civilization is possible if desired, it’s not required to win. Learn about and control scientific progress, political systems and foreign diplomacy, and play one of the best epic world-building games of all time.

Readers Repsond

Jen asks:

Like yourself, I’m not too keen on shoot-em up / driving / racing / killing / golfing games. Yesterday was my birthday, and I received a Sony PSP. … I’ve just been looking on the internet for some games I’d like to buy to play on this console – but it seems that every single game consists of some form of killing / racing. I think the PSP console was predominantly built for men – as mostly all the games are of the genre described above. I was very disappointed to learn that the Animal Crossing game you suggested only runs on the DS or CUBE. The only other options left on the PSP is forms like tetris or the sims – which albeit is a gr8 game – but I have all the expansion packs on my pc. I’m somewhat disappointed and thought you may have suggestions I could try that are similar to animal crossing or the sims?

Apart from the usual sports titles, there are some non-sports non-violent games for the PSP.

In my article above, I mention “Lemmings“, an excellent PSP game. In addition, you should also check out “Mercury Meltdown” and “Locoroco“.

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