Let’s face it: 2020 has been a wet fart of a year, to put it mildly. Between the COVID-19 pandemic, a divided political climate, and police brutality towards African-Americans, it would be a mild understatement to say that this year could have been better. The escapism provided by video games has never been so important. With all of the stresses in the real world, it is relaxing and calming to find a great game to get lost in. No game that I’ve played this year has provided this feeling better than Animal Crossing New Horizons (ACNH). I downloaded Animal Crossing New Horizons in the midst of a very stressful period at my workplace. I wanted a game that would enable me to zone out and relax after a long day. ACNH definitely achieved that. What I didn’t expect was the game to utterly captivate me the way that it has. Full disclosure: Animal Crossing New Horizons is the first game I have played in the series. Up until now, I never really understood the point. After sinking dozens of hours into the game over the past two weeks, I can confidently say: I get it. ACNH is, quite simply, the perfect virtual world to get lost in. You can’t die, and the game isn’t taxing in the slightest. It represents your own virtual world to get lost in for hours. Even some of the mundane early-game tasks, such as paying off your home loan and gathering supplies to furnish the homes of new residents, can be completed at a very laid-back pace. It is a very easy-going game to play, and I mean that in the best possible way. You don’t stress out while playing Animal Crossing New Horizons. You simply listlessly drift along and chill in this charming new world. There are plenty of things to keep you occupied in ACNH. Whether it is fishing, exploring for fossils, chatting with neighbors, or decorating your home and property, there is always something to do. You can do whatever you want at your own pace on any given day. I’ve lost hours setting up my exterior decorations exactly as I like them and digging for rare fossils. Catching bugs and fish and digging for fossils isn’t just for busy-work, either. I can turn my findings into Blathers and he can display them in a huge, impressively-rendered museum. The residents of my island are charming to talk to each day. I have become completely engrossed in the ACNH experience. During my lunch break, I find myself thinking about what I’ll do in my budding new town of Caldwell (I’m a huge Sopranos fan, alright) once I get home and get a chance to play. Nintendo picked the perfect year to release this game, and I can’t thank them enough for it. It is quickly becoming my favorite game of 2020. I can’t say now whether or not Animal Crossing New Horizons will definitively be my game of the year. Even if it doesn’t, I can confidently say that it is the game we all need this year.
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