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Beginners Guide to Cozy Gaming

Beginners Guide to Cozy Gaming

Are you a fan of cozy gaming? Especially during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the gaming industry saw a huge influx in the number of people flocking towards these types of comforting games. What better to help us try and keep our sanity during the literal plague, amiright? 

As time progressed, more and more people started developing an appreciation for these cozy games. We’ve seen quite a few cozy games released in the past few years and I’m sure we will see more in the future. It’s a huge part of the industry now and more people are open about their enjoyment! So let’s talk about cozy gaming and how we can use it for our mental health!

image reading "beginners guide to cozy gaming" showing a woman playing with Nintendo Switch

What is Cozy Gaming?

To me, cozy gaming involves a game that doesn’t require extensive game knowledge or consistent or excessive playtime.  A cozy game is something you can put minutes or hours into at a time and still feel like you have accomplished something in the game. Typically, these are going to be games that make you feel relaxed and at ease while you are playing. 

The best cozy games are the ones we can practically play mindlessly and sort of just let ourselves be instead of having to maintain an intense level of attention. There is no need to hyperfocus on strategies or techniques. You truly just get to play the game: that’s what makes it so cozy! You can grab a fuzzy blanket, a hot cup of tea, and curl up in your favorite chair for a cozy night of gaming.

There are a lot of people out there who don’t consider cozy gaming a “real” form of gaming, but to them I say: fuck off. Any time you pick up any type of game, whether it’s Valorant, Overwatch, The Sims, or Animal Crossing, you are gaming. The act of playing the game makes you a gamer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with preferring a game that helps you feel calm and relaxed. 

Cozy Gaming and Mental Health

I am a huge fan of cozy gaming because of the potential benefits for mental health. Since most cozy games do not have a competitive or combative aspect, they are the perfect option for self care. When we can get lost in a game without heavy consequences, it’s easier to give our brain a break and temporarily escape

These games provide the perfect opportunity to log achievements in a (mostly) stress-free environment. This is great for managing symptoms of anxiety and depression! Cozy games make it easier to be mindful about our gaming and make space to take care of our mental health without really even having to try. Taking care of our mental health can be fun and cozy games are a great resource!

Cozy Game Recommendations

There are a ton of cozy games out there, but here are just a few I think can really be a part of anyone’s mental health care strategy. 

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is a pretty popular cozy game and if you haven’t played it by now, you should definitely give it a try! This game is a farming simulator that lets you live out your cozy farm vibe dreams in Pelican Town. You progress through the seasons and there are achievements based on certain milestones. Plus, you can romance many of the villagers and get super cute cut scenes! Game play time on this one will vary from person to person, as you can play as little or as much as you’d like. While there is an “end-game,” you can continue playing past that point essentially endlessly.

Abzu

Abzu is an underwater exploration game that lets you explore the depths of the ocean and see beautiful creatures and sights! The simple controls and beautiful graphics make this one a favorite cozy game for me. Not to mention the short playtime: you only need about 2 hours to play it all the way through. While it does have a finite ending, it is still fun to replay to catch sights or creatures that you may have missed before.

Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is exactly what a lot of people think of when cozy gaming comes to mind. This game progresses using real-world time, so you don’t have to dedicate a ton of time to it just to enjoy the game. Add in the adorable villagers, fun landscaping aspects, and cute decor, and you have what makes a top-notch cozy game. 

Cozy Gaming in a Nutshell

When it all comes down to it, cozy gaming simply involves letting yourself relax and enjoy a game for what it’s worth rather than focusing too heavily on status or ranks. There are a ton of incredible cozy games out there and more and more are being released as time goes on. The great thing about cozy games is that even if you put them down for a while, they will always be waiting for you when you’re ready to pick them back up!

I would absolutely love to hear about your favorite cozy games, so let me know in the comments or @ me on Twitter!

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