Gentle games are helping to cope with COVID-stress

A guide to your first hour in 'Animal Crossing: New Horizons ...
People who had never played games before the current crisis could now suddenly see how games could help them connect. Gentle, nonviolent games have—become one of our coronavirus isolation coping mechanisms. These games are more than escapist entertainment, though; they’re helping to reshape how we connect in a future where social distancing might become the norm. They are also easy to play, lowering the bar to entry. In Animal Crossing, it’s going to another island and playing with your friends, whereas “In Stardew Valley, it’s getting to know the villagers around you. These are parasocial relationships.” Kind Words is another game that helps players in lockdown communicate with strangers. In it, an avatar sits at a desk in a digital bedroom and types out questions about real-world personal problems. In return, other players respond with encouraging notes. The game takes place entirely within the space of a room, with players receiving and sending notes via digital envelope.