As a gaming enthusiast, I often turn to playing video games as both a hobby and a coping mechanism. Even during the pandemic shutdown, I kept playing and even found myself becoming fatigued of gaming. I use video games as a means of escape form a rough day or the stresses of  my job. I’m a band director at a wonderful rural school in Alabama and though this is essentially my dream job, it is not without it’s stressors. After a long day of rehearsals and teaching middle school and high school kids, I wind down with my wife to some Animal Crossing or Smash Bros or whatever game I’m reviewing for Miketendo64. Gaming is my escape and I know I am not the only one who believes so.

Growing up, my mother introduced me to The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros. As I got older and we got the next big game system, we all tried our hand at Goldeneye 007, of which my mother was Queen of the Mountain. I remember vividly my uncle, who was NOT a gamer, staying up late playing Goldeneye practicing so he could finally get my mother at least once, and then she would move on to win every match from there onward. I was a sore loser (I mean, I was 7 or 8 year old boy…what kid is not a sore loser?) and we moved on to single player adventures from there.

Fast forward to 2015. That same Uncle is struggling with heart failure and is on the verge. We are camped up at the hospital he was rushed to and practically lived there for a week. During that time, I was glued to my 3DS, playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf. It was my coping mechanism. It helped me keep my mind occupied while the harsh reality of losing someone very near and dear to me was surrounding me like a hurricane. Losing that Uncle was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through and Animal Crossing kept me somewhat distracted and sane during that incredibly hard week.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Fast forward to March 2020. The newest Animal Crossing is a global success, and I guarantee you I know why. People needed an escape from the quarantine. During the shutdown, we were not allowed to leave except for absolute essentials. Toilet paper was gone, shortages everywhere. But in Animal Crossing, you can shop til your heart’s content! The success of Animal Crossing, in my opinion, is directly proportional to the effects of the worldwide pandemic. This game is STILL breaking sales records even as we approach (hopefully….) the end of this pandemic. We have no idea what the world has in store for us but we know one thing: Tom Nook is always there and he needs us to pay our bills!

Thanks to Animal Crossing, my family has a great distractor. Another one of my Uncle’s recently very suddenly passed and his wife, my mother, my wife, my cousin, my aunt and uncle and cousins in Tennessee and even my Grandmother all have Animal Crossing. This game has been an absolute blessing in disguise and has helped my grandmother cope with many hardships and loss. I firmly believe, if it wasn’t for Animal Crossing, My family would be handling things much differently. We all need a distraction in our lives, especially when things get difficult, and luckily, even in the midst of a global pandemic, there is that option to escape to our own island paradise.

Thank you, Animal Crossing developers, you have helped my family, and I’m sure many more, in more ways than I hope you realize.

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