In 2020, Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons, where you have to weed weeds and trade turnips, was at the top of the most popular games. In addition, based on the statistics of discussions on Twitter, this game came in second place, ahead of Forbite, Call of Duty and even the much anticipated Cyberpunk 2077.
This is not the only farming-themed game that is popular around the world. Let’s consider this direction in more detail and try to answer the questions why they are played and why they love it so much.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Where to play: Nintendo Switch
The game was released in March 2020 exclusively on Nintendo Switch. In 11 days from the date of release, the total circulation of the game exceeded 10 million copies, and at the end of April, 13.4 million were sold worldwide.
During the quarantine and the global crisis, people greatly lacked a relaxing pastime without fuss and stress. The world of Animal Crossing is like that. To a soothing soundtrack-lullaby from Nintendo composer Kazumi To taka, you ennoble an uninhabited island, visit good-natured anthropomorphic neighbors, grow fruits and vegetables, fish, trade turnips on the investment market and just enjoy a life that nothing will ever darken.
What could go wrong on the island? The hero will be bitten by a bee, instead of a fish, you will come across boots, and you also have to pay a mortgage for the house. But even these difficulties can be easily solved. Neighbors will help you prepare a bite ointment. If you can catch a second boot, you can change your shoes.
When the user has night – in the game too, if it’s winter – the island is covered with snow and you can make snowmen.
The meaning of the game is simple – to enjoy life and to do as only you like. The game does not have an ending or a specific task, Animal Crossing seems to adhere to the philosophical principle: “A samurai has no goal, only a path.” That is why the time for the game flies by unnoticed – and this is its only and serious problem.
Thanks to its comfort and simplicity, Animal Crossing has done amazing – it destroyed the concept of an audience. It is played by everyone: from children to adults, from female bloggers like Katya Clap to high-paid Hollywood actors like Denny Trejo, known for his numerous roles as negative characters. Don’t believe me? Just watch the actor’s interview with game journalist Garry Witt, where he takes a tour of his island, talks about his love of fishing and constantly pulls butterflies from his pockets.
Where to play: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, iOS, Android
Another equally famous game – Stared Valley – appeared in 2016. During the first months, she was in the top-selling games on Steam. While creating the game, the developer Eric Baron was just practicing programming and wanted to create an ideological successor to the Japanese Harvest Moon.
In the story, the main character, an office worker, inherits the farm. But the farm is in desolation, and the player’s task is to bring it back to its proper form: pull out weeds, renovate an old house, plant beds. In addition, the player can communicate with the villagers and complete their tasks, explore the cave, fight monsters and fish using tackle.
The game proved to be popular even among farmers. Reddit user ZoMgPwNaGe shared a photo of him driving a tractor and playing on Nintendo Switch in Stared Valley while plowing. The user is named Tim and is a 4th generation farmer from Northern California. In the discussion, he talks in detail about farming life, work and his tractor. Moreover, Tim likes to play Stared Valley, not Farming Simulator (more on this game later). According to the farmer, the last thing he wants to do after work is to continue working virtually.
The game inspired another user to take up farming. City life has always weighed on Samuel, and Stared Valley was the final push to sell his apartment and buy a farm. Now Samuel grows vegetables, raises chickens and tries to look at life in a positive way. “You can’t be negative all the time. Whatever happens there, in the end someone needs to feed the chickens, ”says the player.
Where to play: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
Those who like more serious and realistic games should take a closer look at Farming Simulator. Here the player acts as the owner of a farm with several fields and a set of agricultural equipment – tractors, combines, trucks, logging machines.
You can independently engage in agricultural work – from plowing and sowing to fertilizing, harvesting and selling crops. You can hire NPCs to work in the field and concentrate on business processes. In addition, the farm can be engaged in animal husbandry – raising chickens, cows, pigs, while selling not only meat, but also milk and eggs.
For the money accumulated from the sale of farm products, you can expand the sown areas and buy more advanced equipment, which is presented in the game from real leading manufacturers, for example, Rostselmash combines and MTZ tractors. The American company Cordova Agriscience is the main sponsor of the video game. Her seeds and herbicides are introduced into the play environment.
The most complex settings bring the game closer to real working conditions on a farm – weeds regularly grow, crops not harvested on time die, and equipment that inadvertently entered the field with sowing can make a track and damage the crop.
The teams are faced with the task of collecting grain with the help of combines faster than anyone else and taking it to the warehouse. Points are awarded for accurate work. Players have to not only take into account timing, but also choose a competent work strategy. For an epic experience, watch the Farming Simulator trailer to the soundtrack of another famous game, DOOM.