“What if I built my actual streaming room in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?”
The question hit me fairly early on as I uploaded the image of my Toronto Raptors championship banner that adorns my IRL studio. That night, I uploaded a few more images to give my house the “feel” of my basement, such as Link to match the art that Kris and Rachel from Double Jump gave me for Christmas, my Notorious B.I.G photo, and a picture of my best boy Snorlax.
Finally, I went all the way and built out the whole room.
About a week-or-so after the global pandemic took a grip on the western world, my friend Melissa started a group chat with our circle of friends. Checking in to make sure everyone was okay, Matt replied that he and Brendan were safe at home, playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons. That one reply derailed everything.
These last few weeks have been some of the hardest in modern history. Forced to retreat into our homes for the sake of social distancing, many are turning to games for some mental health relief. Ever since Animal Crossing: New Horizons released, my wife and I have poured hours into our shared island.
Part of that is because it’s the hot new game of the moment. But it’s also a fitting game for where we are from a mental standpoint. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the ultimate comfort game, considering the circumstances at hand.
This got me thinking about the greater concept of “comfort games”. Technically, any game can be comforting to someone. But what is it about a game that makes it more comfortable during times of high stress? I take a stab at defining the broadest parameters of what a “comfort game” is.
One of Nintendo’s big selling points for Animal Crossing: New Horizons was that the game would get updated throughout the year with fresh events and new reasons to keep playing. For the first few weeks, the game was flying high without any major post-launch support beyond patching out exploits. But now that we’ve had a taste of multiple events in rapid succession, they’ve inadvertently made the game worse.
How do you revitalize Animal Crossing? Many may argue that this question is built on a false premise and that’s fine. For me, every gimmick they’ve bolted onto each subsequent release couldn’t mask the fact that I’m still catching fish, talking to villagers, and paying down a mountain of debt in the same ways that I did on the GameCube decades ago.
Much of what’s defined the franchise still persists in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, right down to how annoying it can be to cast your lure at the exact angle. Even so, I find myself completely enamoured with this Switch iteration thanks to a host of quality-of-life improvements.
Welcome to Steff and I’s island of Pawnee! We just got a shop and I’ve got a boatload of tasks to cross off my to-do list. I have also put in a lot of work making sure the art on my in-game walls is reflective of what you see in the basement. Towards the end of the stream, we take a visit to Randy’s island that is rich in fruits!
Click through for the full video, highlights, and shoutouts!
One of the coolest things about the Animal Crossing franchise is that its open-ended structure allows players to have a rewarding experience however they approach it. Want to collect one of everything? Go nuts! Prefer to focus on designing clothes? Have fun! Want to dabble in everything the game has to offer? Me too!
However, this openness can feel like aimlessness. With so much to do, where does one even begin? Or, as someone who has played almost every entry in the series, “What is my incentive to fish, talk to strangers, and collect fruits again?”
Admittedly, I did not expect Animal Crossing: New Horizons to have a compelling answer to this question. The franchise has struggled with this question with every release past the original on GameCube. Lo and behold, I think New Horizons figured it out.
Are you ready to expand your horizons? Animal Crossing: New Horizons is coming soon! Based on what we saw in the recent Direct presentation, here’s what I’m most excited to experience in this upcoming Nintendo Switch game!
In case you were wondering, yes, this is inspired by my post earlier this week. Even so, I do take a slightly different approach to discussing the subject. Hope you enjoy both!
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One of Nintendo’s biggest releases on the Switch is coming soon! Animal Crossing: New Horizons is set for release on March 20th and many are can’t contain their excitement. Though I’ll admit that my hype for the franchise was at its peak during the GameCube days, the recent Direct showed me a few things that have piqued my interest.
GameCube Week “technically” today on In Third Person! One more official post in the series; this time about Animal Crossing!
Whether I’m cracking skulls with gravity-defying uppercuts, or launching mystical dragons from a bow and arrow, or dropping blocks down a well, I primarily use video games as an escape from the ordinary. Animal Crossing – while maybe not the most dramatic departure from reality, was an escape nonetheless. One that I obsessed over for a solid year.