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Animal Crossing: New Horizons Is the Game I Didn't Know I Needed This Year

If you're shopping for a wholesome game this Cyber Monday, Animal Crossing could be just the thing for you.

Mary-Elisabeth Combs Associate Writer
Mary-Elisabeth is an associate writer on CNET's How-To team. She's a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill's English Department, and resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. On the How-To team, she covers a little bit of everything. When she's not writing, she's catching up on Formula 1 or reading.
Mary-Elisabeth Combs
2 min read
Animal Crossing: New Horizons video game

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a great cozy game to add to the rotation. 


I graduated from college and started my first real adult job this year, and it would be a total lie to say the transition was anything less than disorienting for me. I was not only leaving the familiarity of the academic environment I'd been in for 18 years, but I was also reaching the ever-elusive adult freedom that I had been working toward my whole life. 

That newfound freedom wasn't all I'd imagined it was. I went from busy evenings filled with studying and nights out with my friends to... boredom. Once I got home from work, I had nothing to do; I wasn't used to having this much time for myself. No homework to be done, no exams to cram for; just free time. Since I was making enough money to finance what (for me) was a large purchase, and I had way too much free time to enjoy, I splurged on a treat I'd wanted for months: the Nintendo Switch OLED and the latest installment of the Animal Crossing franchise, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Although my Switch is great (I bought this one), what I really fell in love with was the game Animal Crossing. The game had already proved itself to be a balm to the soul for other folks during the pandemic, but I didn't realize just how fantastic it was until I played for myself. It's on sale at Amazon for $55 during Cyber Monday right now -- not a super steep discount from its usual price, but that's $5 less than buying it at the Nintendo Store.

From soothing instrumentals and friendly Islanders to the incomparable joy that comes from catching a rare bug or fish, Animal Crossing and its wholesome vibes have won me over.

The first night I had the game, I played for about four hours. If you're a regular gamer, that might not seem too intense, but I don't usually play video games in my free time. Getting me to sit down and engage with a game for that long was an absolute feat and a testament to the power of Animal Crossing. 

It's now a part of my nighttime routine to play Animal Crossing for about an hour before I go to sleep. If you're like me, and you're looking for a fun treat to give yourself to kick boredom, or if you're just looking for a wholesome game to add to your rotation, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has my vote.

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