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. It’s probably why I quit playing The Sims. The mandatory wants of the characters were like looking after a newborn or a dog. I found it tiresome and ultimately boring.
Cozy games for nintendo switchWe 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 which tie you to the living room surrounded by your family isn’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% whereas, among men, the increase was slight (14.6% to 15.9%)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.
DESIGN YOUR OWN WORLDWhen you’re having one of those days you need to take a moment to recoup, be comforted and feel more yourself. Cozy games are like the best friend you didn’t realize you needed. Some days you just want to feel understood. Games like GRIS, Spiritfarer, and Unpacking touch on emotional storylines that are rarely heard of in AAA titles. 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.
The gaming industry has been dominated by intense AAA titles aimed at male players since the late 80s and the release of the popular Game Boy – that I never got to play because it was for boys…right? Gaming became very us vs them due to its marketing and, you guessed it, money. 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, a grown woman who just wants to play games in the comfort of her own home after work. And after a long day, my body aching from head to toe, the last place I want to sit is at a desk. There’s nothing cozier than playing games handheld. Cozy Games don’t require a certain skill set, are non-threatening, and can be enjoyed anywhere if you own a Nintendo Switch, a Steam Deck (if you’re lucky enough to own one!), or even your phone. And everyone owns one of them! Cozy games are on the rise and changing the gaming industry for the better.