When the epidemic struck, we all said goodbye to visiting friends, going to concerts, visiting museums, dining out, seeing movies, and doing anything else beyond the confines of our houses and apartments that don’t comply with CDC requirements. We all searched for a world inside as we lost the outside world. And there, as if designed specifically as a response to the query we were asking, was Animal Crossing.
Millions of individuals who had played games on their phones briefly recalled what it was like to relax on a couch and watch television while playing games. They placed a Nintendo Switch order because they had limitless leisure and few interruptions. They started playing games once more, this time as an after-work pleasure rather than a diversion during the workweek.
Games were becoming more common before 2020; this process has been going on for years. Call of Duty advertising aired throughout the NBA Finals, and CBS sitcoms made references to World of Warcraft. Games dominated primetime television. Millions of individuals started playing idle games for hours each day, even though they would never consider themselves “gamers.”
Then Fortnite appeared, uniting mobile free-to-play games with blockbuster caliber, and the situation was decided. This year merely solidified the current quo of normalcy. It’s like when prestige TV took over cable channels and declaring “I don’t even watch TV” became embarrassing. Now, everyone must be interested in video games to avoid being viewed as a troglodyte of pop culture.
It was clear that Animal Crossing had evolved into a gateway by this summer. According to anecdotal evidence, this year at Polygon we observed our non-gaming pals dispersed over the medium. On Kentucky Route Zero, a group of writers traveled.
Friends from the Pacman 30th anniversary theatre tried virtual reality through The Under Presents. People were reminded of why they once loved the medium by Mario Kart, Mario Odyssey, and Mario Party, and others were left wondering why they had even abandoned it by Hades. Then, with the help of their marketing strike squads, the new consoles swept all these fresh potential gamers into the hype cycle. It felt good to have something to look forward to after a year of bad news, even if it was just a slightly improved box to place under our TVs. Some newcomers will pick up old pastimes again, but I think the majority of people will continue to play games. The gaming community must also develop if it is to make newcomers want to stick around. to make them feel at home.
Some gamers continue to be defensive about the medium, claiming that games aren’t taken seriously, that they aren’t viewed as great art, and that they aren’t given the same respect as novels, music, or movies. They believe that “serious” video games like Cyberpunk 2077 and The Last of Us Part 2 will advance the genre toward legitimacy while mobile and free-to-play games, which are filled with color and fun, will push it farther into a subculture. Of course, they are mistaken. Too many different elements make up video games to be limited by the idea of their universal applicability. Adventure and puzzle games can serve as stress relievers and emotional release mechanisms.
They can serve as both experimental areas for self-discovery and communication tools. Sports are one option. They can be harmful, tempting you to lose your money and spend all of your free time gambling. Or, you know, just give the night shift workers a five-minute break. They can be farts or works of art.
Videos Games and Other Media
Video games are the medium that incorporates all other media, fusing music, art, film, and everything else into a complex, difficult-to-define amalgam. A creative unifier as well as a creative medium. In order for the video game industry to continue expanding, it is important for both players and producers to be inclusive of everyone, regardless of whether they prefer playing FarmVille or Dwarf Fortress as their preferred animal-raising simulator.
The Polygon staff has been voting, debating, and accepting the compromises that make up our top 50 games of 2020 for the past month. This list is only open to video games that were launched in 2020, updated in 2020, or gained new cultural value in 2020. We did not have enough time with Cyberpunk 2077 before compiling this list, as you may have noticed. It’ll be eligible for our top 50 in 2021.This content is brought to you by stewcam.