Ah, yes. The sun is shining, birds are singing, and allergies are running rampant. It's the usual "end of Spring Semester" final sprint, and sometimes, you're so stressed that you feel as if you're going to explode. What do you do?
Well, if you're me, it's do all that lingering homework, then play some video games. But Katie, you insist, Video games are stressful!
Dear reader, then you haven't been playing the right games! I'm not going to recommend horror or anything too intense; these games feel like a cup of tea for the soul. So, with that in mind, here are 3 games that will help you de-stress.
1. Harvest Moon / Story of Seasons
This game is a classic. Some of you more up-to-date gamers probably know this game as one of the inspirations for the smash-hit Stardew Valley. But, for me, the original franchise it was based on will always be king.
Recently, this franchise received a slight name change after a different company took over localization--still, for me, it will forever be Harvest Moon. In these games, you play a young person who takes control of a worn-down farm, and hard work and persistence will make you successful. Plant crops, raise livestock, and even woo the villagers so you can compete in contests, mine for minerals, and start a family of your own.
...Not gonna lie, now that I'm older, I realize that I was basically playing "countryside adulthood simulator with anime art". I definitely don't want to start a family of my own anytime soon--I'm just a college student!
But, even so, my small personal adulthood crisis aside, Harvest Moon games are still a ton of fun. This was one of my favorite franchises as a kid, and even now, I find it a great stress-reliever. My personal favorite game is Friends of Mineral Town (talk about a throwback!), and Sunshine Islands. I especially liked Sunshine Islands because it gave me the chance to play as a girl! It was a nice change, which I'd wanted for years.
Plus, there's a romance element in these games, which adds another fun layer of gameplay. Still, in short: Harvest Moon is an adorable, fun time. (Just make sure you water your plants and feed your livestock!)
2. Dance Dance Revolution
Exercise is a great. Video games are great. Why not combine the two? There's not much else new I can say about DDR, since I talked about it in length in an article about rhythm games already. But, dang, I've always found that a good round of DDR can really melt away some stress during finals season, or at a party, or just for fun.
Plus, I don't know about you, reader, but let's just say that this game is very nostalgic for me. It was a large part of my childhood, and definitely influenced my taste in video games ever since them. Also, I'm just a huge fan of rhythm games anyway, so that may be part of it as well.
So, if you can find a copy, dig it out of the pile of games you had in middle school, or go to your local arcade, definitely check out DDR and do a round. You'll feel way less stressed!
3. Animal Crossing
Ah, yes. I know that the more game-savvy readers out there have just breathed a sigh of relief. They were probably waiting with baited breath for the perennial classic, and I don't blame them. Animal Crossing is one of my favorite franchises of all time, and for good reason.
Animal Crossing features the player, a human in-game, moving into a town of animals (literal anthropomorphic animals). From there, you can customize your town to your liking, and in later games, even run it as mayor!
This game is unique because all you have to do is... well, play. It doesn't matter what you do. You can catch fish, bugs, plant flowers, talk to townsfolk, make your own clothes... the possibilities are endless! It's a game where the only big challenge is to try and pay off your mortgage. (Not even joking.) Oh, and to pick weeds. That too.
That aside, I loved this game because of its phenomenal localization job. Not only was it well-translated, it was also well-written. I got really attached to the villagers, and was heartbroken whenever someone would move. I also loved the mini-games, the exploration, and just whittling away my time--in real time--in my little town.
So, definitely pick up Animal Crossing. It's a great way to relax.
Got any games you use to bust stress? Feel free to chime in in the comments, or send me some recommendations! Either way, good luck with the upcoming summer, everyone!