I've been playing Factorio  , which I think would resonate with your love of Rocky's Boots, cellular automata, queuing theory, visual programming, system dynamics and distributed control systems. It's in the spirit of John von Neumann's 29 state cellular automata  and universal constructor. 
 Factorio: https://www.factorio.com/
 HN Factorio discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11266471
 John von Neumann's 29 state cellular automata: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Neumann_cellular_automaton
 JvN Universal Constructor: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Neumann_universal_construc...
I think I'm so out of context wrt video games here and now that I can't come up with a worthwhile reply. I liked Rocky's Boots because of the brilliant combination of the content and the idea behind the game play -- and they were well matched up. I liked the idea of its successor "Robot Odyssey" a lot, but advised the TLC folks to use something like Logo for the robot language rather than the Rocky's circuit diagrams (which were now not well matched up to the needs). As you know I really tried to get the Maxis people to make "Sim City" a rule based system that children could program in so they could both understand the generators and to change them (no luck there).
If I were to look around today, I'd look for something where the underlying content was really "good" for children -- I doubt that cellular automata would be in my top 10 -- and then would also have good to great game play.