It seems like much of my recreational and creative time can be summed up with one simple adjective: cozy. It’s hard to recall whether or not this was a particular focus of mine during peace time; the pandino has gone on for so long and so enrapt my mind that life before is a bit hazy, especially during anxiety fits. However, my gut tells me that this was the trajectory. In some ways I regret that HOMES is so violent. The germ for my current cozy obsession is there: dwarves that are essentially Hobbits; a focus on food and drink; petty squabbles and low stakes. I just took all that and stuck it in the blast furnace, morphing it into a bog standard fantasy novel, complete with epic battle.
Oh well. It’s what it is. The next novel set in that world will be wholly pastoral and domestic.
So it’s cozy comfort that I crave these days and especially with the holiday season so close in the rearview and honest winter weather setting in. Being what it is, I’m a lucky man to live in the age of seasonal vidya game events. These things are a marvel to me.
They are completely expected at this point in gaming history. Even games that aren’t ongoing and online, aren’t dynamic, are still expected to have seasonal events. I did not expect it to start snowing in Double Dragon when December hit, as I come from the age of early consoles and arcade action. Now it’s nearly unthinkable for any game that aims to be profitable to avoid holidays.
Even Warzone will let you wear a Santa hat.
It’s just marketing at this point, thanks by and large to current monetization models and microtransactions; another way to nickel and dime the gaming public. Even when it’s not, it is.
A game like Animal Crossing or even my beloved Traveller’s Rest, games that are bought and paid, games without battle passes and cash shops, still use them as a marketing tool. Who among us did not grit their teeth and face the doom of a neglected island just to participate in Toy Day and see how many holiday goodies they could get out of Animal Crossing? Who did not pop on to their favorite MMO just to get the “candy striped dragon statue of consumption”? I had not touched Traveller’s Rest in months but logged on to see how my inn looked among snowdrifts and yule trees.
And I totally love it.
Because what could possibly be more enjoyable and cozy? What else might serve as the Christmas cherry on top of typical holiday festivities? Enveloping my gaming time with wintry cheer is extremely gratifying and calming, an oasis of snow and nog in the existential mind storm that is a 70° Advent.
So here on the 12th Day of Christmas I say, let it snow. If I didn’t believe it would spoil the effect I’d say keep all games holiday-themed all year long. Let’s drag this thing out a few more days, keep the lights, let the tree live, and pray for a blizzard each morning.