What the Kids are Playing—the Top Video Games Among Children in 2021

Like almost every other behavioral pattern in the U.S. (and around the world), COVID-19 has left its prints on kids’ gaming habits in 2020 and beyond. They have turned in droves to their devices to connect virtually with friends they couldn’t see in person. One study examines the overall effect of the 71 percent increase in gaming during the pandemic and reveals that an overwhelming majority of the respondents to an online survey said games had a positive effect on their well-being. 

The world of gaming, whether console, mobile, or PC, can be exciting but confounding to parents trying to keep up with the sheer volume of choices their children have today. Whether your kids are into puzzles, multiplayer battle royales, strategy, fighting, role-playing, or sports, stay informed and talk with them about their selections. 

We examined a few games below to give you an insight into their platforms, tactics, and social interaction. We share some kids’ favorite games right now, based on ranking sites and a little inside research from real kids. Keep in mind that new games are available every week, so what’s popular today likely won’t be tomorrow.

Among Us

Among Us is a popular mobile online game for up to 10 players, developed by Innersloth and released in 2018. Its platforms include iOS and Android devices, Windows, and some consoles, allowing cross-platform play.

The game allows each player to take on the role of either a crewmate or an impostor. The crewmates’ function is to identify and destroy the impostors and complete tasks on four maps. The impostors’ goal is to secretly sabotage the area and kill the crewmates before they complete their tasks.

Players use logic and deductive reasoning to try to reveal one another’s real roles, while those players in turn can bluff their opponents. Kids like it for its animated cartoonish characters, cool space theme, and appeal of being part of a team. 

Crewmates win if they eliminate all impostors or complete all tasks. Impostors win if there is an equal number of impostors and crewmates, or if a critical sabotage goes unresolved.


Overwatch is an award-winning hero shooter multiplayer video game released in 2016 by Blizzard Entertainment. Kids love playing it because of its brightly colored animation and its rule that as long as a player engages in play, the more rewards are they earn. 

Overwatch divides players into two, six-person teams. Each team member then gets to choose which of the 30 characters, or heroes with special abilities, he or she wants to play. The teams compete to complete map-oriented tasks in a timed course. Bottom line: capture or defend objectives as you attempt to shoot down the competition. The biggest assets needed to win this game are constant teamwork and communication with fellow players. 

Overwatch is available on Windows, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. An optimized performance patch for the Xbox Series X and Series S was released in March. 

Hollow Knight

As you play Hollow Knight, you’ll take on the role of the mysterious, nameless knight from the town of Dirtmouth, unlocking its mysteries (buried beneath Dirtmouth in the lost civilization of Hallownest), and conquering its evils. 

In this challenging two-dimensional action adventure, you explore vast, interconnected worlds, fight frightening creatures and attempt to escape traps. The goal is to solve ancient mysteries of glory, riches, and old secrets. You’ll encounter bizarre characters (both friend and foe) and learn powerful new skills as you roam the strange world of Hollow Knight, filled with terrifying creatures and spooky sights that are brought to vivid, detailed life—all animated by hand-drawn art. 

First released in 2017, this action-adventure game was developed and published by Team Cherry in Australia, and was released for Microsoft Windows, macOS and Linux in 2017, and for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One in 2018.

Rocket League

Developed by Psyonix, Rocket League is a vehicle-driven (no pun intended), physics-based video game in which teams of four players steer customizable rocket-powered cars in attempts to score points by hitting the ball into their opponents’ nets. The game can be played online or offline. 

Rocket League was originally released in 2015 on Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 4. Ports were later released for Xbox One, macOS, Linux, and Nintendo Switch.


Released by Epic Games in 2017, Fortnite is an online shooter survival game with three modes that share the same general game engine: Save the World, Battle Royale, and Creative.

“Save the World” is a cooperative hybrid tower defense-shooter-survival game for players to fight off zombie-like creatures. “Battle Royale” is a free-to-play last-man-standing battle open to as many as 100 players. The sky’s the limit with Creative,” in which players may design their own worlds and battle arenas.

The first two modes became the most popular with gamers, with Battle Royale now considered to be a “cultural phenomenon.” 

Save the World is available only for Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Battle Royale and Creative are available for all of those platforms, plus Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android devices. The game is expected to also launch with the release of the next-generation PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S consoles.

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