As many of us face day after day of spending a good majority of our time indoors, we are starting to really miss being able to go outdoors more. Luckily, we have a new game that is helping keep us sane.
Last week, Animal Crossing: New Horizons came out for the Nintendo Switch. What is best described as a life-simulator, the goal of the game is for players to build, operate, and maintain their own island getaway, make friends with other characters, visit other players’ islands, and just make a life for themselves in the world. No guns, no fights, just island-living.
It sounds so simple and boring, but right now, it is the perfect game for a lot of people.
The game allowed us to feel in control, in a time when a lot of things feel out of control. Our views of what we controlled and steady are gone now, and there is a lot of uncertainty facing us. But with Animal Crossing, we are still in control. We have ways that we can manage the game, creating the way we want to create, and stick to a plan that we have.
Having a game that gives us goals and things to accomplish every single day gives us motivation. The time in the game moves along in real-time, meaning that some things won’t be available to do until we wake up in the morning. This can give us a feeling of something to look forward to every day, when we could just be wanting to stay in bed.
But more than just control, the game makes us social. The goal is to build relationships with characters and other players. You can have eight people “living” on your island in the game, meaning that you can have a group of people to interact with through it. You can all work together to accomplish your goals and make the island as good as it can be.
This helps us cope with the isolation many of us are feeling. Social distancing is causing us to not see our loved ones as much, and cut off a good portion of our interaction with other people. But having a medium through which we can still do something with our friends makes that isolation easier to manage.
Finally, the game is a sweet and wonderful escape. The stress and obstacles you face in the game are far less stressful than the ones you face in real life, and that is a good thing. We don’t need to add further stress into our lives, and we don’t need to keep thinking about the world around us. It does us all a lot of good to take a break from it and focus on these smaller things that we can overcome.
Games are going to be surging right now, and it’s not just because of their addictive nature. They offer ways for us to feel in control, interact with people, and escape from our worries. As we are relegated to our homes, they offer us a doorway into another world where we aren’t restricted or forced to stay in one place. They engage our imaginations and help us build a better emotional stability.
Right now, we need these small things to keep us going. The world is going to sort itself out, we are positive about that. But that doesn’t mean we have to stay here and focus on it. Take the time to get away and enjoy a digital, island getaway.