Columns share an author’s personal perspective.
I play a lot of video games nowadays. Before my wife and I started dating about 10 years ago, I really played a lot of video games.
She knew this about me going in and it’s never been an issue, except on those rare occasions where she’ll ask me to take out the trash or fold some clothes or let the dogs out when I’m in a multiplayer match that I can’t pause and help her out and then go right back to.
Before we dated, she played the online game “World of Warcraft” for a while and had a Nintendo DS portable system that she played quite a bit. Other than playing some “Ring Fit Adventure” on the Switch and trying out some PSVR games, she really hasn’t gotten into gaming much at all since we had been together.
That has now changed.
Nintendo released “Animal Crossing: New Horizon” on March 20 of this year, seven days after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the perfect game released at the perfect time.
Animal Crossing isn’t as well known with non-gamers as Nintendo’s Mario and Zelda franchise, but the series that started on the GameCube is an adorable life simulation in which you explore your island, collect and craft items, do some farming, upgrade your home and island and raise as many bells (the game’s version of currency) as you can.
The new game has been a massive success for Nintendo - selling more than 26 million copies already - because it’s been a great way for people to connect with one another online in a cute and relaxing way.
My wife’s mother and her sister and niece and nephew have been playing the game for a while and had been trying to get her to play as well. She was instantly hooked on it, so much so that she didn’t want to risk me being on the Switch playing “Friday the 13th,” which I do a lot in her defense, so she even got her own Switch to play it on.
She’s been playing a little more than a week now and loves it, not just because the game is fun and engaging, but it’s something she can do with her family living about 1,000 miles away and feel close again.
With the ongoing global pandemic making visiting with our loved ones more challenging and possibly more dangerous than ever, “Animal Crossing: New Horizon” is a reminder that games can be a wonderful way to reconnect with family and friends.
Be safe this holiday and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with lots of video games.
Dusty Ricketts is the editor of The Destin Log and The Walton Sun newspapers and can be reached at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Taft Midway Driller: Play Life, Live Games column: Games aren’t all about shooting and stabbing