Entertainment

10 Video Games to Play With Your Parents

Joe Keeley Updated 21-02-2020

Gaming is still a relatively young industry. So, while many of you grew up playing video games, your parents may have looked on in confusion. Of course, we all know the wonders that video games can bring, and it makes sense to want to share this hobby with your parents or guardians.

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To help ease older members of your family into gaming, we’ve rounded up a list of the best video games to play with your parents. While these games are still excellent in their own right, they don’t require the muscle memory or reaction speeds that naturally come from gaming for years.

So, without further ado, here are the best video games to play with your parents…

1. For Bookworm Parents: Firewatch

Firewatch is an adventure game set in Wyoming. You take control of Henry, a fire lookout, and live out his days as he uncovers the mysteries that surround him.

Firewatch is played from a first-person perspective, so you move Henry around and interact with the environment. It’s simple to control and is focused on telling an immersive story in a world that looks and sounds beautiful. If your parents like delving into a unique story, Firewatch will be right up their street.

2. For Parents Who Watch TV: The Walking Dead

Thanks to advances in technology, games now have the spectacle of film and TV. Some of them are also based on established franchises, like The Walking Dead. Telltale produced a game based on the show in 2012 and it’s fantastic fun, especially if your parents watch The Walking Dead.

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This game is told episodically, giving it the pace of a TV show, and tells an emotional story set in a zombie-infested world. Your parents will have to make tough choices that will make them feel immersed in the story. It definitely isn’t one for those who don’t like violence, though.

3. For Puzzling Parents: The Witness

If your parents are the type who enjoy solving a crossword or Sudoku, they’ll enjoy testing their brain with The Witness. While the game is set on an open world island, this simply acts as a backdrop for around 650 puzzles. It can be a great bonding experience to solve them together.

It gets really tricky, though it has a smooth learning curve, so your parents will be kept busy for a long time. And cracking some of the tougher puzzles is extremely satisfying.

4. For Parents Who Like to Laugh: The Secret of Monkey Island

Games don’t have to be serious, which The Secret of Monkey Island perfectly demonstrates. First published in 1990 and then remastered in 2009, this remains one of the funniest games ever made.

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It’s a point-and-click adventure that follows the tales of wanna-be pirate Guybrush Threepwood as he sets out to defeat the evil ghost pirate LeChuck. The control scheme is a simple point-and-click affair, which means your parents can focus on solving the puzzles and enjoying the witty dialog.

5. For Artistic Parents: Journey

Video games are another form of art, and that’s none more evident than in Journey. The game can be played individually or in multiplayer. The entire adventure is wordless, as you guide a robed figure through a desolated desert.

The aesthetics of this game are stunning, as is the ethereal soundtrack, and your parents will likely be impressed by the contemplative, moving experience of Journey.

6. For Creative Parents: The Sims 4

Even if your parents have never played a video game, they’ve likely heard of The Sims. This life simulation became a cultural phenomenon and the fourth instalment is the perfect entry point.

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There’s no particular goal here—instead, players can build and design their own homes, perfect for flexing their creative side. Then, these houses can be populated with people with their own needs and desires.

If your parents enjoy playing The Sims, there are lots of great The Sims 4 expansion packs The Sims 4 Expansion Packs: Are They Worth Buying? Each One, Reviewed We take a look at all of The Sims 4 expansion packs and help you decide whether or not they're worth buying. Read More you can use to enhance the game.

7. For Entrepreneurial Parents: Two Point Hospital

1997’s Theme Hospital was an incredibly popular hospital simulation game. Two Point Hospital is its spiritual successor, released in 2018 and developed by some of the same people. The aim is to build and maintain various hospitals, ensuring that they run safely and meet targets.

While the challenges can get tricky, business-minded parents will enjoy the challenge. Don’t worry, though, there’s humor injected to keep the experience light.

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8. For Strategic Parents: Civilization VI

Civilization is a turn-based strategy game, playable against the computer or other people. You take control of a famous historical leader and try to build an empire so that it lasts throughout time, from the Stone Age to the Information Age.

Civilization is a very complex game once you dive into it, but the helpful tutorials will guide your parents along so that they’ll be waging war against Cleopatra or Gandhi in no time.

9. For Parents Who Are Just Big Kids: Lego Star Wars

There are endless Lego video games, but Lego Star Wars remains one of the best. It’s based around the first six films and is a perfect co-op game.

You and your parents can play as one of over 120 characters, battling your way through all of the iconic moments of Star Wars. Swing a lightsaber at Darth Vader, take part in a pod race, and more.

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If your parents enjoy this, they should also check out the best Lego video games 10 Best Lego Video Games: Star Wars, Marvel, and More Looking for the best Lego video games? Don't take a chance on playing a dud. Here are the the best Lego games you can play right now! Read More .

10. For Parents Who Are Animal Lovers: Planet Zoo

No matter what animal your parent loves, it’s bound to be available in Planet Zoo—from lions to elephants to flamingos. This is a simulation game where the aim is to build and manage the perfect zoo, keeping both the creatures and humans happy.

However, your parents can just focus on building their zoo if they like. The powerful construction tools offer endless opportunities to customize the zoo exactly how they want it.

There Are Games for Kids Too!

Hopefully your parents find a game or games they enjoy from this list. And before you know it, they’ll be recommending games for you to play.

Now that you’ve got your parents into playing video games, perhaps there are kids you want to entertain too? If so, our list of the best educational mobile games for kids 10 Educational Mobile Games Kids Will Enjoy Playing Most kids would rather have fun than learn. However, these educational mobile games educate and entertain at the same time. Read More will keep both parents and children alike happy.

Explore more about: Game Recommendations, Gaming Culture.

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  1. Luna
    January 2, 2018 at 1:40 am

    I think the sims 4 or the sims 3 would have been a great choice. My mom is not a gamer whatsoever but she enjoys the sims 4, She actually thinks it’s a good game for the mind. You can build and express your imagination. She especially likes CAS where she can let her creativity fly with outfits and makeup.

  2. Alex
    August 3, 2016 at 7:33 pm

    What about "Heavy Rain"?

  3. rock
    April 20, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    mister michel portal has no violence at all
    tell me what part of the portal game was violent?

    • Uncle Know-it-all
      February 20, 2016 at 6:09 pm

      "Tell me what part of the portal game was violent?"

      How about that one part where THE ENTIRE GAME has a robot that's not only designed, but actually loves to torture and kill you (and your clones) over and over again. And inside the factory, just because the thing crushing the robot is another robot, doesn't mean it isn't violent. And that's not even talking about Portal 2 CO-OP where the traps and hazards are even more crazy then anywhere else. And on top of all of that is the game's humour of which 90% falls in the categories of either shadenfraude, slapstick or downright dark humour involving the torture of the Aparture Science employees.

      "The game doesn't have guns or organs being ripped out, that means it isn't violent!"

      Buy a dictionary. Or better yet, take 5 seconds to think about something before you post.

    • Mate
      September 25, 2016 at 1:41 am

      The first portal (I only own the first one) has some minor blood physics when shot at by turrets, some people find this "violent"

  4. Gendo Ikari
    February 24, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    "Conventional wisdom" suggests gamers are violent?

    That's an odd way of saying "neofeminists and con artists..."

  5. Garville
    February 10, 2015 at 8:45 am

    My mom is 88, and her eyesight means she doesn't play many games these days. She used to be quite fond of Elite, a sci-fy type shoot-em-up. I enjoy a mix of first person shooters and strategy games such as Astro Galaxy. My 9 year old either plays minecraft or watches videos about it. It's good for learning about cooperation and I value that, but that is only one skill, and there are so many more that are being missed because of the addictiveness of this single game.

    I look forward to the day I can compete with my child in a computer game, and even more so the time when they have developed their skills far enough that they can beat me consistently. That is when I know they are ready to meet and take on their peers in the real world.

    Gaming can offer an emotional preparation for the real world. Last's face it - if you can't frag your loving dad's avatar five times in a row, how are you going to take on someone who is aggressive and antagonistic towards you?

  6. McFuzz
    February 9, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    "Super Smash Brothers."

    Yes. I am sure that parents, who are inept at videogames, would LOVE to play a HIGHLY skill-based, fast paced fighting game. If you wanted a Wii-U game on the list, why didn't you say Mariokart. Sure, it's still competitive, but 'skill' doesn't measure much with red shells on the menu. My dad still comes last every race anyway, but he doesn't seem to mind. Lol :3

    SSB shouldn't be here at all.

    • Rachel K.
      February 10, 2015 at 6:35 am

      "Parents, who are inept at videogames..." Not all of them are. And there's no reason they should be. Studies have shown that playing games can reduce the risk of dementia, improve focus and build up lasting hand-eye coordination in adults of all ages. So there's no reason why people like our parents can't take up a challenging game and actually become as good at it as we are.

      I chose Smash mostly because I have met many people of my parents' generation who love to compete and don't mind putting up a good fight to get in first. Trust me, if your dad doesn't care that he comes in last in Mario Kart, he wasn't the sort of player I had in mind.

      Besides, the beauty of Smash is that to some players it is a skill-based and competitive multiplayer game, while to others it is that button masher played with a bunch of friends for a laugh. (And before you ask, I fall somewhere in the middle; and yes, you could probably beat me.)

  7. Anonymous
    February 7, 2015 at 3:14 am

    I don't think putting portals on walls and accidentally destroying a box is violent. U might be better off not leaving your home, and watching teletubbies.

  8. mike
    February 6, 2015 at 10:34 pm

    See that? Moronic social justice warrior. Dipshit doesn't even realize that the world he perceives is just the inside of his colon. All that violence can only lead to hemorrhoids.

    • michel
      February 7, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      Yeah, insults really make your point intelligently. I supplied an authoritative dictionary definition of violence for those of you who don't understand the word. Speaking of the world you perceive.

    • michel
      February 7, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      Rachel, your introduction strongly implied to me that you were going to present games that were specifically not violent. You used the word Violence or Violent five times, always in a context that implies someone else thinks games are violent - and you want to change their minds. Besides which, everyone should calm down. I never once said I was against these games or insulted anyone.

    • Sjael
      February 7, 2015 at 7:24 pm

      Who is the social justice warrior? If it is me I apologize that my comment made me look that way. That was not my intention. Honestly all I wanted was a intelligent discussion about violence in culture.

  9. michel
    February 6, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    violence
    [ ?v?(?)l?ns ]
    NOUN
    behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.
    synonyms: brutality · brute force · ferocity · savagery · cruelty · sadism · More
    Powered by OxfordDictionaries · © Oxford University Press

    Why are you for game violence? Can you really not see any alternatives?

    That's the problem with this lowest common denominator pop culture: the total reliance on violence as entertainment. It's so pervasive, you don't even see it anymore. Does constant exposure to simulated violence lead to real violence? I don't know.

    Does advertising sell products? The amount of money spent on it would suggest yes. Does propaganda work? Why else would hundreds of millions be spent on electing a president?

    • Sjael
      February 7, 2015 at 9:01 pm

      I am not for nor against game violence. I think it can be used to much, and too little given the situation. There are games that are non-violent, like the Sims and Journey. I find that both are fun.

      I have to ask what alternative are you talking about? If you mean non-violent games than I just mentioned two of them that I like. The way you write your responses it seems that you think violence is a black and white issue. If this isn't your stance I apologize and ask what is.

      Violence to me is like an ingredient. Whether or not it is a healthy one is based on how much is put in. In some stories just the right amount can lead to a greater experience than it would have been with out it. In other stories too much of it can dull the other ingredients making the whole experience not enjoyable. It is all about how much of it we use as opposed to the ingredient itself.

      Everything in the world exists on a spectrum. EVERYTHING. Nothing is ever as simple as black and white.

    • Rachel K.
      February 10, 2015 at 6:23 am

      If your complaint is with this list, I'd be happy to hear it. But if you take issue with violence being omnipresent in popular culture, I'm afraid you'll have to take that up with the entirety of human history, not me.

      World mythologies, folk stories, gladiatorial combat, animal baiting, opera, theater, Gothic novels, American football, superhero films . . . video games are hardly the first popular activity to be associated with violence, simulated or otherwise.

      I did not intend to create a pacifistic list, and I'm sorry if I led you to think that's what you'd be reading. I like to think this list covers everybody. Some of us, myself included, have parents who take no issue with fictional brutality at all.

      Oh, and @Sjael? The Sims is supposed to be nonviolent? Ahem. *hides dozens of burned Sim corpses under the floorboards*

  10. michel
    February 6, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    As against the implication in your introduction to these games, all but one are violent. Even the first puzzle game uses guns to solve the puzzles.

    • Ben S
      February 6, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      Portal really isn't violent. Sure it uses guns (really, the portal gun is just a tool and a way to make the game first-person) but it's a puzzle game, not a shooter. The only violence occurs if you die.

    • michel
      February 6, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      You're so immersed in the culture of violence you don't see the violence? I realize the gun is a tool - that's what a gun is - and I said so - "uses guns to solve the puzzles." How is it not violence to blast your way out of a problem? Or blast anything? Aside from that, there's a lot of smashing and destroying in the short clip provided. It's all violence.

    • Sjael
      February 6, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      How is "shooting" a portal and walking through it violence? We shoot pictures, are they violent? To be violent one has to inflict harm on someone else. In the game only the antagonist can act violent towards the player. The crushing violence you are talking about is the antagonist. Her goal is to prevent the player from reaching the end. The only mandatory violence the main character does is redirecting missiles in the boss fight back at the boss. If anything it is self-defense.

      Also it is not all violence. Like Ben said the crushing only happens when you lose, and only in certain places. It is possible to make it through the entire game without being crushed. Most of the time The player just walks around and through portals. thinking about when and where to put the next portal. And listening to whatever dialogue happens to be going on.

      I do have to ask. Why are you against game violence? And what would be your alternative?

    • Jason
      February 6, 2015 at 7:10 pm

      The actual name is "Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device". The term "Portal Gun" is just a common name, like calling a bar-code reader a "Price Gun". T

    • Rachel K.
      February 7, 2015 at 2:27 am

      I don't believe I implied I was against violence, or that I was going to write a non-violent list. I just said that some parents might be turned off by the violence inherent in some of our major titles, and included a game in the list specifically for such parents (Journey).

  11. Matt
    February 6, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Lol, Saint's Row is the last game I would want to play with my parents.

    • Rachel K.
      February 6, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      Why would you NOT want to see their faces when they discover the superpowers in Saints Row IV?

    • dragonduder
      February 6, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      "Oh that? That's a...uhh, giant dildo bat."

    • Rachel K.
      February 7, 2015 at 2:28 am

      Maybe I just have unique parents. My mom's the sort of person who says "Fatality!" when she finishes a steak.