Image: Nintendo, IGDB

Ctrl-Alt-Escape: Animal Crossing

When I want to relax, my go-to is none other than Animal Crossing. The game itself has been a presence in my life from a very young age, and so it is hugely nostalgic whenever I open up my little village. The game is relaxing because it’s pure and wholesome. Unlike some other games that can become frustrating if you can’t complete a level or are killed continuously from a villain, the only annoying part of Animal Crossing is Tom Nook continually wanting his rent money – much like real life! I have played all of the versions of Animal Crossing from Wild World to New Leaf, and the therapeutic effects have always been the same. Hours can be spent, or wasted, fishing in the rivers or watering flowers which can calm down a stressed out and racing mind, especially over exam season.

The only annoying part of Animal Crossing is Tom Nook continually wanting his rent money

One of my favourite aspects of Animal Crossing is interacting with the animals in your village. Through time they will remember who you are and if you’re lucky will send you letters, sometimes with gifts! Anyone who has played the game will have experienced some form of sadness when their favourite villager decides to move out. What’s more, with Animal Crossing, because it is a game based on simple activities rather than levels, there is no end. The game can be picked up whenever you want with little consequences, other than weeds and perhaps an absent villager. What’s more, if you decide that you’re bored with your village you can delete the game and start afresh.

On top of that, it’s seasonal! The game follows the clock of your device and so from month to month something is always different. Holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s and Easter are met with sweet new challenges and exciting guests which makes a change from the routine of fishing, bug catching and fossil collecting. Animal Crossing for me is the perfect game to open up and lose myself in for an hour or so in the bright graphics and cute characters, a definite distraction during revision season.

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Comments (1)

  • I love stumbling across people associating this series with therapeutic properties. I’m an English major and I actually dedicated my capstone project at university to find out why this series is so therapeutic for players; specifically as a means of mitigating psychological disorders like anxiety and depression.

    One key term I’d like to point out that can be associated with AC players is the cyberflâneur. While a flâneur (W. Benjamin) works at leisurely strolling city streets without specific goals, the cyberflâneur of Animal Crossing works at exploring virtual territories for pleasure in the same sense, “transcending a lure of consumerism” (J. Kim).

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