Cozy Games have been around for a long time.
Harvest Moon was first released in 1996 on SNES and Animal Crossing was released for Gamecube in 2001. A couple of games that focused heavily on relationship building, farming and decorating.
Personally, I’ve always leaned into games that are heavy on customization. I find this element of gaming stress-free and pure fun.
As a millennial who’s yet to own her own home, being able to decorate a virtual one fulfills a need. I’m sure you’ll agree.
So I’ve actually been playing cozy games or rather simply – playing games in a cozy way for a couple of decades now.
But why now? And why are mostly women purchasing them?
What Makes A Game Cozy?
To me, cozy gaming is a term that is used to describe a feeling of comfort and care.
In 2017, Project Horseshoe (an annual game designer think tank) discussed ‘Coziness in Games: An Exploration of Safety, Softness, and Satisfied Needs‘. They explored how cozy gaming can reach a wider audience and ultimately how ‘coziness can be treated as a positive philosophy for driving meaningful change in the world.’
In their definition, coziness is about Safety, Abundance, and Softness.
Cozy gaming looks to satisfy higher, emotional needs that go beyond your typical base needs like food, water, and shelter.
That’s why I quit The Sims. The characters’ repetitive desires felt like taking care of a baby or a pet. It got tiring and just not fun anymore.
Cozy games for Nintendo Switch
We can’t discuss cozy games without also taking a look at Portable gaming.
Any game can feel cozy when you can play it in your favorite place – be it swaddled up in your bed, at your desk, or even while sunbathing on the beach during your vacation.
Big, bulky and expensive consoles that tie you to the living room surrounded by your family aren’t always the most relaxing environment.
In the US, from early 2020 to late 2020, the percentage of women playing on either Switch or Switch Lite jumped from 6.5% to 13.2% (Source: Interpret) whereas, among men, the increase was slight from 14.6% to 15.9%.
I mean, if you could play a game anywhere where would you choose?
Personally, I do like to play Cozy Grove in a bubble bath before bed. It was for this reason that I bought a Switch Lite. I already owned a Switch but it was still a pain on my wrists to hold handheld.
The Switch was confirmed as Nintendo’s best-selling home console of all time earlier this year.
After the release of the Switch Lite in late 2019 followed by the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons in March 2020 console sales boomed.
The forthcoming release of ACNH was the main reason my fiance bought me my console for Christmas in 2019.
Reconnecting With Your Inner Child
On those challenging days, it’s essential to pause, find solace, and reconnect with your true self.
Cozy games are like a best friend. Some days, all you need is to feel understood.
On other days you need a creative outlet. Games like the new Disney Dreamlight Valley, Animal Crossing, and Cozy Grove give you the freedom to craft your own aesthetic.
A New Era For Gaming?
The gaming industry became heavily divided by gender, driven by marketing and, as you might have guessed, financial incentives.
I could write a whole post on how games used to be unisex and how profits changed who plays them, but I feel we’re on the cusp of a new era in gaming.
There is a cozy game for everyone, no matter how you identify and they are helping us to be more empathetic and kind.
I’m 38 years old, a mature woman who simply craves some gaming time in the cozy confines of home after a long day’s work.
There’s nothing more relaxing than playing games in handheld, in my opinion.
Cozy games offer a delightful escape from the daily grind.
Whether you’re relaxing with your Nintendo Switch, lucky enough to own a Steam Deck, or simply playing on your phone – these accessible gaming experiences can be cherished by nearly everyone, no matter your age.
In a world filled with hustle and bustle, they provide a tranquil haven where anyone, regardless of skill level, can find solace and enjoyment.
Cozy games are on the rise and changing the gaming industry for the better.
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