These Are the Best Video Games to Play While Doing Homework

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Do video games and homework go together? Various studies have suggested that gamers spend less time on their homework than those who don’t indulge, and might perform worse on standardized reading and writing tests. Other studies, in contrast, show no evidence of reduced scholastic achievement among gamers.

Whatever their effects may be, video games are a part of student life today, and taking a break from studies at home to play for “just one hour” or “just one level” is commonplace — though often those levels and hours somehow seem to expand.

PC Gamer, which styles itself “the global authority on PC games,” has just published its recommendations for games that won’t keep anyone away from their homework — at least not for long.

“These idle and management games,” writes game designer Lauren Morton on the site, “are perfect to leave running in the background while you write a report or have up on your monitor while you hit the books.” Four of the five games she lists are free (A Dark Room is the exception, at $2.99). Free games might be a factor why this one famous video games retailer is falling apart.

The games Morton recommends are:

Fallout Shelter, “great for playing on the side…because it only requires a bit of attention every few minutes.”

Realm Grinder, “a great studying game” that will “flex your arithmetic skills” but “doesnt really require too much of your attention.”

Spaceplan, a clicker game that takes some time to set up, but then requires only casual check-ins — and that, incidentally, has a “low-key space soundtrack by Logan Gabriel [that] is absolutely stellar.”

A Dark Room, a game which “almost defies explanation,” but that you can ultimately “leave…running for hours and come back later to investigate….”

Cookie Clicker, “THE classic clicker game,” which can be upgraded so that an automatic clicker does all the work. “You can pull up Cookie Clicker in a browser while you write a paper,” says Morton, “and check in on it whenever you remember.”

The homework-friendly video games are not necessarily the most popular. While fans continue to seek out the newest games, the best-selling games in history continue to be those that are all-around outstanding — these are the most popular video games of all time.