What Makes for a Good “Comfort Game”?

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.

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