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🐼 Doing Nothing but Playing Cozy Games
Edition 096 of Design Insight
Hi there 👋 I'm Michelle and this is Edition 096 of Design Insight. A weekly newsletter about creativity and design.
Let's get started.
Cozy games offer a retreat from the stresses of everyday life.
Cozy games = cozy vibes + self-care 🤗
I've hit another slump with my creative practice in the last few weeks. You may have seen, or should I say not seen, last week's newsletter as it was never written.
I could feel it coming on and I can feel that I'm under the weight of it right now. Which in itself is progress right? I am a least noticing it.
Anyway all this to say, I've been looking for things to get me out of my slump, keep my mood up, and keep me creatively fulfilled.
So I retreated to the world of video games like I typically do.
This time I discovered the world of cozy games. Something I want to dive into here in the hopes of offering you a new type of video game to start playing.
What are cozy games?
Cozy games are a genre of video games that offer low-stress and soothing gameplay. The name says it all: cozy games = cozy vibes!
The gameplay is repetitive but enjoyable and everything is low-stakes. You generally won't die and if you do there's little to no penalty for doing so.
The aesthetics of cozy games are also typically the same with soft colors and chill music.
Cozy games are on the opposite end of the scale when compared to high-octane games like Call of Duty or Dark Souls. In fact, the epitome of this contrast came during the Pandemic when Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal were released on the exact same date. It created a truly happy moment on the internet when people really needed it.
Common mechanics in cozy games
Most cozy games involve you doing repetitive but fun tasks like gardening, farming, decorating a house, crafting, or managing resources.
They tend to take inspiration from the various chores you do each day and turn them into in-game tasks you can make progress on whenever and however you like.
The idea here is for cozy games to provide you with a way to de-stress after a crap day at work. This has a lot to do with why cozy games became so popular to play during the pandemic. They offered people an escape from reality even if for a brief period of time.
The appeal of cozy games
Because of the nature of cozy games, low stakes, chill vibes, and easy-to-understand gameplay, I can see how cozy games would appeal to people looking to get into video games. Or even those who aren't hardcore gamers but buy one or two games a year. There's a reason why these types of games have become so popular in recent years.
More experienced gamers also enjoy cozy games because they can offer a break between "hardcore" games. Just like you might read more than 1 book at a time, playing more than 1 video game at a time can also prove to be a fun way to do things.
Getting into cozy games
As someone who had never consciously played a cozy game before, I sort of stumbled into the genre while looking for new games to get for my Nintendo Switch.
It turns out the Switch is a great resource for cozy games. The appeal for me, like many I'm sure, is the portable nature of the Switch. It allows me to play these games anywhere (I've listed a bunch of examples below of cozy games in my Switch backlog that I'm eager to play).
This is also a huge reason why the Steam Deck is looking so appealing to me though I haven't pulled the trigger on that purchase just yet :( . I'm seriously considering diving more into Steam. I have a Steam account but no games as I'm writing this but I can easily see the huge library of games this service has to offer and I'm really interested! Plus did I mention the Steam Deck?!
Please PlayStation, bring back a portable console I beg you 😭.
Cozy games on my Switch wish list:
Cozy games I've played:
Graveyard Keeper - I played/am playing this on my Switch and I highly recommend it. It's been my first conscious attempt at playing a cozy game and it's completely hooked me on the genre.
Donut County - I didn't realize this would be classed as a cozy game but I played it in 2021 and really enjoyed everything about it.
🔗 Curated Links
A collection of links I found interesting this week:
Harry Belafonte died earlier this week RIP. I'm reminded of the most iconic scene from the film Beetlejuice that you should definitely watch: Beetlejuice - Day-o (Banana Boat Song) - YouTube
A podcast I just started listening to (highly recommend for true crime fans): My Favorite Murder
More podcast recommendations: Get Inside the Creative Process With These 5 Podcasts | WIRED
An older SNL bit about the Papyrus font: Papyrus - SNL - YouTube
This week I fixed my homemade arcade cabinet and set up Retro Pie on my Pi to be able to play retro games. Here's the tutorial I used: You NEED to have a RetroPie! (Setup Guide) - YouTube
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Til next week 👋