This year was a tough one for everyone, with lockdowns forcing young and old to suddenly start spending most of their time at home. And while there’s always an abundance of games for older gamers, I think the pandemic really gave family-friendly games a chance to shine, and there were a number of high quality ones released this year. But perhaps none was as impactful as…
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Released just as South Africa and many other countries went into lockdown, Animal Crossing: New Horizons arrived at the perfect time. It’s a solid game (check out our review here) and would no doubt have been quietly enjoyed by fans of the franchise and some newcomers under normal circumstances.
But with millions of people of all ages stuck at home all of a sudden, a peaceful game about making friends, choosing outfits, and building and designing an island home was just what everyone needed. Many people, myself included, spent hundreds of hours crafting the perfect island, handpicking villagers to live there, and collecting bugs and fish. And while the multiplayer aspect of the game is a bit rudimentary, it allowed friends to visit one another in a time when they couldn’t do so in person, to show off their creations, to trade and participate in events together. Even celebrities like Elijah Wood, Danny Trejo and Brie Larson turned out to be spending a lot of time in the game.
In a time of real world turmoil, this colourful and cute game of daily chores was just what we needed to help us through this year. And perhaps there was no better platform for Animal Crossing: New Horizons than the Nintendo Switch.
Runner-up: Fall Guys
Honourable Mentions: Paper Mario, Mario Kart Live, Sackboy A Big Adventure, Among Us