Game of the Year: 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons' Is Exactly Wh

  • This month, I've woken up feeling a lot more overwhelmed than usual.  When you combine constant push notifications alerting me to the deterioration of the economy as a result of Covid-19 with the uncertainty of not knowing when I'll be able to see my friends and family in person again, it's an odd time to be a human on this rock.  Even when I'm not feeling overwhelmed, I'm feeling one of the following adjectives: anxious, melancholy, or various levels of unsettled.

    When the stress finally got to me on Saturday, I put my phone on the bed, left my Apple Watch on its charger, and went to the basement where I made a cozy nest of blankets and put on some headphones to unwind.  On my Nintendo Switch, I proceeded to spend the next 12 hours playing buy ACNH 2.0 Items: New Horizons until I was completely exhausted.  In terms of my mental health, it was the most beneficial thing I'd done this year.

    Just what I was looking for

    When things get tough, it's only natural to look for solace in whatever places you can find.  For myself and many of the WIRED staff members, that place is on our respective islands in the new Animal Crossing video game series.



    Since its inception, Animal Crossing has served as a therapeutic tool.  It's not like the other games you've played before.  There are no battles, no hard-and-fast rules, no time limits, and no big bosses to contend with in this game.  Your job, much like Stardew Valley's, is to chill out and create a pleasant little life for yourself.  Picking fruit, fishing, redecorating your home, and helping out your neighbors are all part of your daily routine. Alternatively, you could spend your time customizing furniture to match your home's décor or changing your wardrobe.  It is entirely up to you.  You may be owing a few thousand Bells (the currency used in this world) to a greedy raccoon, but he will not harass you into paying your rent or charge you interest.

    It seems only fitting that the latest animal crossing buy items game from Nintendo should be released now, after eight years of anticipation.

    Your friends must be at least 6 feet away in real life, but in Animal Crossing, they can hang out on your island for hours at a time with no need to maintain the necessary level of social distance.  When it comes to socializing, there is little pressure; you can either run around and bonk your friends in the head with nets, or you can use a more robust third-party service like Discord to chat while you and your friends fish together.

    The same low-pressure theme can be found in a variety of in-game features as well.  Choosing between slingshotting presents out of the sky or hitting rocks for money are the most difficult decisions you'll have to make during your adventure.  Every day will bring you something new to look at in your island's shops, something new to dig up and identify, something new to discover in trees you can shake, something new to experience.