2020 is nearly over - thank goodness for that. And despite everything, it’s been a pretty good year for video games. We got the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X... well, some of us got them. We got Cyberpunk 2027 after eight years of anticipation, and Final Fantasy VII Remake after five.
But the biggest game of the year for me and my family was Animal Crossing New Horizons. Going back decades, Nintendo has had this knack for making games that people who don’t normally play video games still want to play.
Animal Crossing’s gameplay is primarily about doing chores on your own personal island. Harvesting fruit, weeding your garden, landscaping, and paying your mortgage. I know, that doesn’t sound terribly thrilling. And it isn’t really a thrilling game. But the little tasks you can perform every day, as well as checking in with your neighbors and seeing what they’re up to, are what drive me to fire up the game for a few minutes every day.
And, for me, the best part of the game was talking to my friends and family about their islands, and who their neighbors were. In a year where many of us felt isolated, it was something bringing us together.
Since its release in March, Nintendo has updated the game many times, adding events for Easter, Summer holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Many times, I’ve lost my momentum in playing the game, but these events pulled me right back in. Sure, I’m not playing as much as I was in March and April, but I’m still visiting my island enough that my neighbors aren’t worried that I’ve been kidnapped.
And, according to Nintendo, the updates will continue into next year. It’s one of the few things from 2020 I’m happy to bring with me into 2021.