The euphoric magic of Animal Crossing and Nintendo
I gave up on my PlayStation console, but Nintendo always has me going back
When I first bought my Nintendo Switch I was gleaming with happiness. It was especially a day to remember because of how innovative I found the console — finally, I can play hand-held and on the TV — my dream come true!
I have never been an avid fan of games to earn the status as a “gamer,” but I’ve grown up playing all the PlayStation (PS) consoles (except the PS5) and some Nintendo consoles such as the DS and the Wii.
Although I’ve mainly grown up with the PS consoles and games, there was always something special in my heart for Nintendo.
In comparison to the PS, Nintendo’s games tend to be more light-hearted. While I’d say the PS is most memorable for gritty games such as Grand Theft Auto and The Last of Us, people would think of games like Super Mario when they think of Nintendo.
The console’s other exclusive games like The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing (AC), all have a delicate feel to them which makes them even more indulging.
Whether that be finding stars to save Princess Peach, restoring Divine Beasts to help beat Calamity Ganon, or simply designing your town, the atmosphere set up within each of these games creates a peaceful sense of escapism. Even the forms of action you may stumble upon in a Mario or Zelda game do not tend to be dark.
In particular, it is player-simulation games such as AC that keeps me going back to my Switch.
AC’s latest edition, New Horizon’s, came to the world when we needed it the most. I remember anticipating the game ever since I first bought my Switch in 2017. I had also encouraged my cousin to buy the console and we both followed gaming news in hopes of the announcement of a new AC game.
Finally, the announcement came on September 18th, 2018, and it was set to release on March 20th, 2020. Two years, but we could make it. The passing of time is an illusion, after all.
The closer the date got my cousin decided to book the day off from work so she could properly indulge herself in the game — but she never went back to work ever since. Oh, Corona, what did we do to deserve you?
Getting lost within the world of AC was everything we could ask for in a world where we were faced with fear and constant bad news. It provided the perfect escapism with its friendly animal villagers, designing and decorating your entire island, and going fishing or insect hunting to your heart’s content.
But what makes the game attractive in particular is its lack of pressure. There’s no winning or losing, no re-spawning, it encourages you to go at your own pace, and there is no right way to play the game. Even with the only hurdle in the game being waiting a day for the construction of something new, this can easily be overcome by changing the date and time of your console.
While there are plenty of appealing aspects of competitive games, such as Call of Duty, I find that I’m straying further away from games like these due to its added pressure to everyday life. What I tend to find myself increasingly needing is a peaceful and quiet environment in which I can clear my mind by focusing on small tasks, which Nintendo perfectly creates with AC.
Nintendo’s way of creating colourful and fun games brings a whole new function to gaming, which I never found myself needing until now — to relax. Playing games was always entertaining and fun, but I never thought of them as soothing, until I rediscovered my love for AC at a time when I needed it the most.