How Animal Crossing Helped Me Through A Rough Patch in Life

Let’s go back in time to a period where I was mentally at my lowest.

A time where I was angry with everything and everyone in the world.

A time where I had zero motivation to do anything.

A time where I couldn’t stomach any form of art even if it came from a favorite artist *coughthelifeofpablocough*.

A time when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States.

Okay, you get the picture. We’re going back to 2016.

This was the year, I had recently moved to a new city with my family. I was 20 years old at the time and knew I would leave behind my friends and the connections I made out in that old city. It was one of my biggest regrets ever.

Adjusting to this newer and bigger city took a huge toll on me. Everything was loud, chaotic and bright. I couldn’t land a job if my life depended on it, my bank account was in the negatives and to top it all off, I felt so alone.

My friends seemed to have moved on from what I had seen on Facebook: Parties, movies, spring and summer break plans and basically an enjoyment of life. My loneliness soon became bitterness and resentment. When you’re all alone, all you have is your own thoughts. Those thoughts turned negative and consumed me, whispered into my ear just how worthless, ugly and pathetic I was… and I believed it.

I secluded myself in my room playing video games and I ran each game to from beginning to completion so I can quickly move on to the next. There was no enjoyment in anything I played.

I hated myself.

I wanted to die.

I didn’t know at the time, but this was my first ever battle with depression and it was winning.

Then came Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS. I had previously played this game twice back in 2014 and 2015, but I ended up dropping it both times because I did not get the appeal. I don’t know what possessed me to try it again in 2016, but I am sure glad I did.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a life simulation video game

I remember my first in-game day with me walking around the village to meet and greet various residents. I ended up playing from the afternoon to late in the night.

Animal Crossing is a game that encourages players to keep playing every day as there is always something new to discover. And that’s what I did. Every morning I would check on the residents, fulfill their requests and try my best to make them happy. Every night, I would go fishing, collect artifacts, smash rocks and gather items to sell for the next day.

Players assume the role of a human character in a world filled with anthropomorphic animals.

Suddenly, I was invested in the lives of villagers. I was happy watching every get along with one another and I felt sad when some of them wanted to leave my village to move on with their lives. I know it’s a game for children and it may be a cheesy thing to say, but I truly cared for the wellbeing of all my friends in this game. I ended up clocking in almost 200 hours into the game.

It felt as if I needed to move on with my life. I dropped my anger and hopelessness and decided I couldn’t waste my life wallowing in my pity. It wasn’t easy, but I told myself daily I needed to keep moving forward. I soon landed a job and slowly stopped playing Animal Crossing. Although I may be done now for the time being, I will never forget my time with the game and I am looking forward to starting over once the new title hits Switch this year.

Thank you for reading.

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6 thoughts on “How Animal Crossing Helped Me Through A Rough Patch in Life Leave a comment

  1. Wow, I understand how videogames can heal our mental states, forget all that negative stuff some people say about games, they are good for us, especially if we find the right one 😊😊. I never knew what Animal Crossing was about. It sounds like a lovely game and I might try it😁

  2. New leaf helped me through one of my worst bouts of depesssion too! Along with league of legends. Although LoL involved more stress. I was chasing a dopamine hit from winning and when I didn’t win I felt worse. Animal crossing was a lot more relaxing. I also played harvest moon during that time and that was a lifesaver too.

    1. I thank game developers for creating such games. Sometimes you just don’t feel like playing something with so much going on and you just wanna relax with some chill music in the background. Thank you for reading! 😄

  3. I’m sorry to hear what you went through but I’m glad Animal Crossing was there for you! It’s such a therapeutic game and easy to get lost in. I hate when people talk negatively of video games because they can be just as much of an escape as books or tv shows.

    1. I never listen to those types of people as I’ve been gaming for practically my whole life. Books and movies are great but I love the interactivity in video games. Thanks for reading! 😊

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