Three games that have caused me to withdraw from society for weeks

Back when the carillon had a projector and some spare time. Julia Dima

A hobby built to last, forever… and ever

We are nearing only a few weeks until the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch on March 20, 2020. Many of us have been waiting for this game for literally years since New Leaf, and are absolutely starved for it – when I was watching the new trailer and saw that you could use a ladder, I made a sound that I don’t think a human will ever be able to recreate. Needless to say, that bastard Tom Nook has done it again, and on March 20 it’s likely that many of you won’t see or hear from me for several months. I’ll say this now: I have not died or fallen ill, I am simply playing Animal Crossing. It will be like I’ve entered the matrix.

I know this because it’s happened before. It happened when New Leaf dropped, too. It also happened after the release of some other games, games that weren’t Animal Crossing, but that were just completely immersive dopamine machines in the same way. As a person with AD(H)D, I have a particular tendency to do something called hyperfocus, where I’m incredibly attentive and driven to do one task without even pausing to eat or sleep. This can happen with anything, but it often happens to me with games. So which games give me that matrix feeling?

Keep in mind that these are technically game recommendations, but they are also warnings–do not start these games before you have a final or an assignment due, or if you have work early the next morning. Unless you have really good self-control, in which case… quit flexing.

Game number one: Stardew Valley. I don’t know what it is about having a virtual farm. There’s so much to keep track of, so many things to do, such a wide variety of goals you can set for yourself, and also just such a relaxing atmosphere despite all the work you’re doing. I have over 300 hours of gameplay in my main file, and this one-developer indie game only costs about twenty dollars – which is incredible when you consider that most of Nintendo’s sell for eighty. Most of my time in there is spent fishing, making extremely high-quality goat cheese, and using the sewing machine to make myself more overalls. Also, kissing my wife Penny, whom I would die for.

Game two: Moonlighter. This is another indie game that’s very inexpensive and is actually on sale on the eShop right now, so I recommend checking it out. This game is like two extremely engaging games smushed together – by day, you play as a shopkeeper selling items to townspeople, setting your own prices and trying to keep your stock diversified. But by night, you have to gather those same items by going into dungeons and fighting monsters. This game completely sucks me in because I always get so caught up in one half of the game that I forget about the other half and get excited all over again.

Lastly: Cook, Serve, Delicious 2. I’m featuring this game because there’s going to be a third installment in the series coming out soon (with bubble tea as one of the recipes… finally). Basically, it’s a chef simulator, but it goes at an incredibly fast pace. I cannot be interrupted while playing this because my thumbs have to move at an inhuman speed as I process customers’ orders and cook them by pressing the right buttons in the right sequence – once you get “in the zone” though, it’s like meditating. A strange calm comes over you. Also, there are just a lot of really fun missions to complete and different restaurants’ menus to try out.

So if you have about thirty dollars to spend on games and can’t wait until March 20 to go into a video game coma, or if you’re looking for an Animal Crossing alternative that will give you the same high, try some of these. Because despite capitalism’s obsession with productivity and functionality, we should consider it a kind of success to have fun for fun’s own sake.

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