Most video games today have some kind of violence in them, whether it’s realistic gunplay or cartoony fights. Even though this has been going on since the beginning of the medium, the very first video game had no violent parts at all. William Higinbotham and Robert Dvorak made Tennis for Two in 1958 for the Brookhaven National Laboratory. It was just a virtual ball and net.
Even today, you can still find fun, high-quality games that encourage fun and competition without using weapons or fists. Perhaps surprisingly, not all of these games are marketed towards kids, either; the last few years have seen plenty of successful, peaceful games for all ages.
Beat Saber gives players two energy swords that look like lightsabers, but they aren’t used for fighting. Instead, these tools are used to dodge and cut blocks to the beat of music. Reddit user Xyanthe gives the title high marks, saying that “Beat Saber is the VR game I’ve played the most. It’s such a great game.”
This fast-paced rhythm game can be a great workout, and Oculus Quest players should try it as one of the first games they play. It’s a great way to show off virtual reality to friends and family.
Microsoft Flight Simulator
Most people probably know that flying an aeroplane is a hard and complicated job, and Microsoft Flight Simulator helps players learn how it works. There are dozens of planes to fly, and each one is made to look like the real thing, right down to the controls and interiors.
When someone on Reddit asked about good video games without violence, Fasterthanligh just said, “Flight Simulator.” There are some cool places and landmarks to visit, and “World Updates” add more every now and then. The first game in the series to be available on home consoles is Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The Pokémon franchise is the most profitable intellectual property of all time because it lets players collect monsters and fight them against each other. Slime Rancher takes some of these ideas and combines them into a more peaceful game.
In Slime Rancher, the main character, Beatrix LeBeaux, collects slimy creatures to raise and care for on a farm. Bigchungaswholesome, a Reddit user, called it “one of the most relaxing and fun games.” A sequel is currently being made, and when it comes out in 2022, it will be one of the most anticipated independent games.
Spiritfarer centers on death, but players don’t do any killing in this 2D management game. Stella, the main character, is a Spiritfarer. She sails around the game world to take care of spirits before they move on to the next world.
Beadgcf53 explains on Reddit that players can relax by doing things like “explore the world on a boat and do things like farm, cook, and build different things on your boat.” In 2020, a Farewell Edition came out, which included the base game and three major add-ons.
When someone on Reddit asked for suggestions of peaceful games, aphexx12 said that Journey is “the ultimate peaceful exploration game.” Players take charge of robed figures that are making their way through a desert to a mountain. There are no enemies to fight, but players must use their magic scarves and musical shouts to get around platforms and solve puzzles.
Players can also meet and help other players, but they can’t talk to each other until the game is over. Journey can now be played on many consoles and mobile devices, but when it came out in 2012, it was only available for the PlayStation 3.
Outer Wilds didn’t get much attention from gamers, possibly because it came out around the same time as the more popular The Outer Worlds, but it’s one of the best puzzle games of the last few years.
In the game, an alien astronaut is trying to figure out what happened to a strange race of beings that went extinct and a solar system they used to visit. Outer Wilds is full of puzzles that have to do with the environment and managing resources. Head Maintenance 323 says that Outer Wilds has “…no violence and almost no interaction with other living things…”
Real restaurants are often busy, and chefs can be under a lot of pressure, but Overcooked 1 and 2 turn professional kitchens into a fun cooperative time management game. Players have to run around a kitchen and do things like chop vegetables, mix ingredients, cook meat, and more, before there are too many orders and customers get upset.
It’s not a relaxing game because it can get hard and complicated, but Reddit user Dionysus24779 says, “Very easy to pick up and understand, no violence.”
Gris is an emotional, gripping platformer that talks about grief and depression through the use of artistic metaphors. It does this without any fighting or violence. Most of the time, players have to figure out how to move through different landscapes.
MaudQuickpaw argues that the game should be played by saying, “I think you should play Gris, which is an art platformer like a 2D Journey. With beautiful watercolour graphics, fun puzzle platformer gameplay, and another great story about loss, this game is a must-play.” Gris sends a strong message about accepting yourself and dealing with the pains that everyone goes through at some point in their lives.
The Animal Crossing series, which has five main games and four spin-offs, has always been about letting players relax in an open, fake-social setting. There aren’t a lot of specific tasks or goals. Instead, players can build their own communities and talk to their neighbours in any way and at any time they want.
Some popular things are missing from New Horizons, but players can still make their own clothes, decorate each room of their house, and do a lot more. Reddit user trophicmist0 says that the series is “the obvious choice” for a calm, non-violent game.
A very cheap (£2/$3) gliding game where you use a wingsuit to fly freely over a huge voxel landscape. It’s beautiful to look at, and you can choose to fly through it without stopping or to try to beat your own score in a mode where you fly fast around or through rock formations.
Most of all, though, what makes this song sing is the sound and feeling of the wind roaring around you. It gives you the feeling of being in a different place and being as free as a bird.