Interview: Taming Gaming (Family-Friendly Gaming Database)

When you think of videogames, sometimes family friendly isn’t the term that comes to mind. Here at Gaming & God, I hope to bring awareness to games that can be enjoyed and that parents wouldn’t have to worry about the content in them. Games can be very long at times, unlike a TV show or movie, and what’s in them isn’t always as clear as a trailer or commercial.

I came across this wonderful website called Taming Gaming, that has a very curated database of games that I hope you all can check out, as well as the interview below!

Thank you so much for your time Andy, it’s a blessing to be able to ask some questions about what you’re doing with Taming Gaming! As a gamer since I was around 9 years old, I’ve never stopped enjoying this genre of entertainment even into my adulthood. I was excited to see that a site like yours exists to help those that are unfamiliar with video games. Resources like the one you and your team has created is certainly needed in the gaming community.

I hope readers will get to know you and what you’ve made, and make positive gaming decisions.

Gaming & God (Samuru): Could you share a little about yourself? How did you get into gaming and what’s your personal history with the industry or gaming in general?

Andy: I grew up enjoying video games but worked for a long time as a technical author writing online help for tax software. I developed a hobby of writing game reviews for blogs and after a few years took the jump to being a freelancer writer.

G&G: Can you please share how you got started? What is the origin story of Taming Gaming and why did you want to create the database?

Andy: I wrote a book called Taming Gaming, but it was delayed because of the pandemic. I created the database as a small project to fill the gap. But it got really popular with it’s lists of games to find hope and calm and ended up on BBC breakfast.

G&G: What criteria do games need to meet to fit into each list? What kind of games don’t make it on the list?

Andy: On Taming Gaming we only include games that we want to suggest. So they are all great games. But great for someone in particular. This means we may include games that reviewed badly because they were too hard or too boring, because some people love that. You can see all the lists of games here.

G&G: What has been the feedback about the website and the list? How has this benefited others?

Andy: It’s been really positive. We see thousands of families visit Family Video Game Database every day and find details on PEGI and ESRB ratings. They also discover a wider and more engaging range of games to play. The hope is that this encourages people of all ages to play together particularly parents and their children.

G&G: What can you tell us about your book? What inspired you to write it, and what is it about? Looking forward to getting my own copy!

Andy: I wanted to offer parents the advice they needed about games. To address issues like violence and addiction and violence. But rather than the common moral panic I wanted to help them understand and engage with games. 

G&G: How is the gaming community in the UK, or Europe in general? What could you share with those of us in the USA, “across the pond”, that we can learn from and improve as gamers?

Andy: Video games are really popular in schools and with teenagers, but they can be seen as something not mainstream or for adults. My work is to help people see that games are media and a part of culture and society like books and films.

G&G: Did your personal faith play any part in creating the website or database? 

Andy: My background in theology gave me tools to ask different questions of video games. Like when reading the bible I like to consider “what is this about”, “what is this saying to me”, rather than just “is it good?”. Also, I love the overlap between faith and storytelling media like games. 

Then there’s the commonality of violence. The bible and video games share the problem of violence. Christians know how to love a text that has problematic violence but not let that eclipse the message and value. Video games need to learn how to be honest about their violence and learn how to still hold value in spite of this.

G&G: What are the future plans for Taming Gaming? What would you like to accomplish with the website?

Andy: I’m hoping to add educational data to the site to help parents and teachers see how games can offer benefits to childrens education and aspirations.

Thanks so much again for your time, and I hope my readers will check out your content and pick up a copy of the book. God bless, and be safe!

You can find out more about Taming Gaming below:

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When not conquering digital worlds in video games, he can be found reading, watching anime, listening to music writing, and just enjoying life as a geek in the city.

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