In my darkest hours, I've found solace in one thing and one thing only: Animal Crossing. I've played Animal Crossing for about 10 years now, and it's been with me through thick and thin, through the good and bad days. I think during these stressful political and COVID-19 times, everyone should have some Animal Crossing into their life.
If you aren't a long-time player like myself, you've probably heard a lot about Animal Crossing when its fifth console game, New Horizons, released earlier this year, conveniently right at the beginning of quarantine. I spent hours playing the game each day, catching fish and bugs, collecting furniture, and styling myself with all of the new clothing options available. New Horizons did more than give me something to do while I was stuck at home alone — it gave me something to care about. I looked forward to loading up my game every day to customize my island, talk to my villagers, and catch new fish and bugs.
But even before quarantine, Animal Crossing was working its magic. I first started the series with the second installment, Animal Crossing: Wild World for the Nintendo DS. While the graphics are significantly worse, there is a feeling you get when you're playing Wild World that is hard to describe. It's a simple experience, with less to do than other games, but it fills me with serenity and nostalgia.
City Folk for the Wii and New Leaf for the 3DS were also favorites of mine. I used to play them with my best friend and we would spend hours in each other's towns. Animal Crossing brought us closer together and having someone to play it with made the experience all the better. And then there was Pocket Camp, Animal Crossing's venture into a mobile app. While this installment offered much less than any of the console games, I knew if I ever needed it, Animal Crossing would be right in my pocket. One night I was feeling particularly stressed out, probably about school, so I pulled out my phone and opened Pocket Camp, and started fishing. Something about the blue water and the methodic motion of pulling up the fish made me feel better.
So that's Animal Crossing. It's not the most exciting game. There's nothing to fight or any boss to beat. There's no way to even know when you're truly "done" with Animal Crossing. You can keep playing forever if you have the time and the desire to. It's not violent or competitive. It's not even difficult. But maybe, that's what we need right now. Maybe the world could do with a little bit of Animal Crossing.