There are plenty of fun games online, but some of the best and most popular games involve making things. The phenomenal success of FarmVille over the last year or so, is down to that creative urge. Growing crops and making a farm has a massive appeal. Some games that cater to the 'making' impuls in a very direct way are construction games.
There are many online games to play online for free and there are also games for PC and console.
Some games are pure construction, others have a big element of construction in the game play. Examples of the latter include the Tycoon games which in a sense are business games but where the player needs to build up assets to earn more money and proceed. There are also empire building games like Rise of Nations where cities must be constructed and managed so that income can flow to equip armies.
One of the purest building games is 'Bridge It'. The object is simple. You have limited funds to spend on materials to build a bridge. The challenge is to make a structure that is strong enough to withstand the passage of trucks or trains. The fun is partly the building- with its true-to-life rules of physics- and partly watching the trains as they crash into the abyss or bounce through to a triumphal conclusion!
Railroad Tycoon 2 was one of the most successful games of its era. The aim is to build rockets and get rich. It is getting old now but still provides plenty of fun and game play. It is also worth mentioning Zoo Tycoon. The 3D environment and the exhibits that you need to build in your Zoo make it a satisfying experience.
Tropico 3 has been very successful in the last few years. You are in charge of a tropical island and need to guide it to a bright and prosperous future. This is a fun game if you do not mind playing as a person of dubious morals As a Banana Republic Generalissimo you only have bribery or terror tactics to control your population. Upset the Americans and they will invade- which is almost as bad as the hurricanes that sometimes turn up.
The Age of Empire series involves getting your villagers to work well as your Empire expends. The Rise of Nations installment from that series is one of the best strategy games ever made. Also worth mentioning are 'Settlers' and 'Caesar'.
Sid Meir is a legend in the simulation games world. He was seriously responsible for the Railroad Tycoon series as well as Civilization and Colonization.
This is the best of the many city building games. Sim City 4 offers the chance to construct and manage everything from mega cities to small towns with a satisfying degree of realism.
There are dozens of online games geared to satisfying the impulse to build. One of the nest pure building games is Cargo Bridge. You design a bridge in the blue print mode and then send out your little workers to fetch some supplies. As they cross the bridges you have built there is a satisfying amount of shaking and bouncing as the wood and steel structures react to the loads. A bad design means your workers plummet into the abyss as the bridge collapses!
There are also Lego like brick building games, electrical circuit games, plumbing games and physics based demolition games- for when the creative impulse gives way to the glee of destruction.
Younger children are catered for with games that are similar to dress up games in their format. Instead of make up and clothes to engage the interest, there are building styles to select and color schemes to explore. Daisy's Construction Crew is a good example of this kind of games.
It would be fun to know if any of theses games have sparked an interest in a career in architecture or the construction industry! There is probably a young Leonardo da Vinci out there right now!