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Guilt-free video games

Think gaming companies only prey on your child's baser instincts? Check out these seven video games with creative and humanitarian themes.

By Chris Colin

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Giraffe Above

Online, free
Ages 6 and up

Before moving on to heavy topics like poverty and strife, younger gamers can spend time in the gentle realm of animated animals in Giraffe Above. Specifically, the realm of an "apple-crazy giraffe on a mission to gobble all the apples in Africa." Players move their extra-long neck through a maze in search of fruit and try to avoid backing themselves into a corner. You'd have to dig pretty deep to find any reason to feel guilty about letting kids play this one.

Bottom line: A gentle puzzle game for younger children.

Chris Colin is the author of What Really Happened to the Class of '93 and writes the "On the Job" column for the San Francisco Chronicle as well as stories for the New York Times, Mother Jones, McSweeney’s Quarterly, and GOOD magazine. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.

Comments from readers

"There are a lot of great educational games for children - one that was not mentioned, but my son loves is Math-Whizz. "
"These video games are great. I just told my 13 year old about them and he is now playing Darfur is Dying and loves it."
"i agree with this 100% and i like this idea i have a 7 yr old son and i like for him to get into good learning games "