Growing up, I always saw playing video games as a natural extension of my interest in reading. To me, the fantastical worlds I explored in games mirrored those of my favorite children's books like Where the Wild Things Are and The Lorax. Many of the games I played and the stories I read shared a similar sense of whimsy and adventure, and piqued my interest with intriguing art styles.
And that makes sense, given that some video games evoke the feeling of reading a great piece of children's literature. This is especially true for the point-and-click genre (named after the way you play), which can make you feel like you're turning the pages in a book as you progress from scene to scene, moving your character across a static, 2D illustrated background. And just like a children's book, these games encourage you to stop and take in the scene as a whole.
With that in mind, here are three great games to play alongside the kids in your life. While none of them are specifically marketed towards children, they're each still compelling and appropriate for younger players—and they don't require a fancy console or prior experience playing video games. Although some of the puzzles in these games will be too difficult for a kid to figure out alone, they make for a wonderful time that you can share together. Try them sitting side by side, and huddle over the screen together as you tinker through these worlds.
In an essay for the New York Times Book Review, editor Pamela Paul discussed the contributions of classic children's authors like Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and Dr. Seuss, saying they "brought a shock of subversion to the genre—defying the notion that children's books shouldn't be scary, silly or sophisticated." While all the games on this list speak to this sentiment to varying degrees, reading Paul's words made me particularly think of Röki.