Cozy games are video games that help you relax. They make you feel like you’re snuggling with your favorite blanket on the comfiest of couches. Cozy games have existed for quite some time, but there seems to be a bit of a resurgence of them. Games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town, Coffee Talk, and New Pokémon Snap have each become rather popular. However, for whatever reason, a large portion of the gaming community look down on games like these.
Many gamers deem these cozy games as “baby games.” They think they’re too easy, too boring, and overall lame. Taking care of a farm or recruiting villagers to live in your town may not be their cup of tea, but there’s no reason to gatekeep video games. Gatekeeping is already a massive issue within the gaming community. There’s no need to discourage others because they want to play games that are calming.
Along with gatekeeping, another similar issue within the gaming community is difficulty shaming. There are way too many gamers out there who disparage others for not playing games that are considered to be difficult or not playing a game on the highest difficulty setting possible. Just because some individuals enjoy playing Kingdom Hearts on Proud Mode, it does not mean that others shouldn’t enjoy it on Beginner Mode. Video games shouldn’t be stressful. What matters is having fun the way you want to, whether that’s playing on the hardest difficulty or the easiest. Cozy games are often considered “easy” because they don’t put the player in stressful situations, which is the whole point of them.
The suspense of battle royales, the feeling of being immersed in the story of expansive adventure games, and the satisfaction of defeating a nearly-impossible boss fight are all incredible and fun in their own ways. They can even be some of the most entertaining parts of gaming at times. However, everything doesn’t need to be Dark Souls. There’s room for cozy games as well.
These cozy games, like Harvest Moon, are meant to be a break from the high-octane shooters and slashers. They’re meant to be an escape that helps get one’s mind off of the stressful day they may have had. Not only do they provide an entertaining way to relax, but many of them also have just as much story or satisfaction as other types of games. It can be extremely rewarding to have a new villager join your town or to snap a picture of a rare Pokémon.
Playing cozy games can make you feel like drinking your favorite warm beverage on a weekend afternoon while your pet cuddles up to you. They can be therapeutic as you check off tasks, make progress, and complete objectives. They can be nice for relaxation, keeping you busy during a long car ride, and for getting a different gaming experience than most other AAA games. Video games don’t inherently need to be action-packed, suspenseful, or too difficult. There’s no reason to look down on cozy games as if they aren’t real video games. They are, and they’re just as valid as Halo or God of War. If you’re looking for a good way to relax while getting a solid hit of dopamine, then go grab a cozy game to play while laying on your sofa.