Animal Crossing’s most important gift is simply making its players feel at home. The village is a safe space in which you can slow down and be yourself. And while it certainly shouldn’t be used as a cure, Animal Crossing can make living with mental illness just a little bit easier. – Game Skinny
Wild World is such a classic Nintendo game. If you didn’t have it, what were you doing?
Nintendo has always been a massive part of my life. Mario, Zelda, Pokemon. I was surrounded by Pokemon cards since I was born due to my brother owning every single one. McDonald’s toys constantly promoting Mario and the revelation of getting our first computer at 7 years old, I remember seeing advertisements for Zelda. But in 2007, I got my first animal crossing game; Wild World (2005). And it changed everything for me. It was the first game that gave me an escape. My own imaginary land that I could control, relax in.
And then in 2013, New Leaf came out and changed the game. It was a masterpiece that upped Wild World, not only in graphics but the spectacular beauty, and enhancements you could make to your own safe haven. It also allowed for the dreaming of other towns and creating stories and depths.
New Leaf created a brand new community. It took over Instagram, Tumblr and even started a facebook community of groups. It expanded Animal Crossing onto a new level of friendships, creativity and more. Allowing for people like me, who may be socially awkward, a lack of social interaction or someone who just needs peace sometimes to band together and enjoy the awkwardness together. I even created my own facebook group to collectively sit with a bunch of people and play this amazing game.
Why it relates to anxiety? Animal Crossing is one of the most innocent games out there. Of course, there was the sarcasm and banter in Wild World, but that’s what made it beautiful, and humorous. New Leaf added a broader spectrum to suit anyone. People who like designing, people who like writing and more could enjoy New Leaf.
In New Leaf, you are the mayor. It’s not like past games where you start by working for Tom Nook, oh no! You’re the “main man” now. Of course, that doesn’t stop Tom Nook from stealing all them bells, hell no! But it does allow for a sense of control, which many may be missing from their lives in the real world. It allows YOU to take charge of an aspect that you may enjoy.
It also allows for endless hours of fun. There is no ending. Of course, if you’re more into the design aspect, there’s always an ending to a town story. But then you can go on and create a new one, and continue until you’re out of ideas. For example; I have a greek mythology town, a yellow town and more! The way you design and play the game is endless fun and caters to anyone.
When I need a chance to get away from life, maybe something is stressing me out, I can whip my DS out and open New Leaf. I can plant a tree, visit friends or speak to the very cute or smug villagers to get away and relax this stressed-out brain. There’s also been research on the correlation between Animal Crossing and those with Anxiety/Autism. It could become a form of safe behaviour, as it can be very addictive, but it can also be a short term stress relief or self-care moment. Imagine this. Laying in bed, the tv on in the background, a nice hot cup of tea and working on a magical, mythical state in which everything revolves around you and your likes. The pretty trees, a cute pet villager and shopping. All from a tiny screen of goodness. It also allows for a lot of customisation and personality preferences. Although it considers skin tones as “tans”, and there isn’t a lot of choice in male clothing or switching between the two, it does allow for creativity in design by using QR codes and decorating how YOU wish to decorate. You can present yourself how you see yourself, and there isn’t any bother. Well, unless you have a smug villager, they ALWAYS have something to say.
So what are you waiting for? Check Animal Crossing out now! There’s a whole series you can check out, and if you can’t wait, check out the mobile version “Pocket Camp”. Although, I’d recommend New Leaf or one before that instead!
Do you play AC already? What are your thoughts? How does it relax you?