KYOTO, Japan — Japanese gaming giant Nintendo announced that a forthcoming update for their hit title Animal Crossing: New Horizons would finally add seasonal affective disorder to the game.
“This series has always been built around the concept of time passing exactly as it does in our world,” said Aya Kyogoku, the game’s director. “The sun rises and sets, and certain activities are only available at specific times of the day. We’ve included seasonal activities and holidays throughout the year, as well. One hallmark of the change of seasons that we have long wanted to include is the desire that comes as the days get shorter to stay in bed all day, eating junk food and watching Netflix as you think about how much better and more successful your friends are than you. It’s the little touches like that which make our game so immersive.”
Kelly Branch, a longtime Animal Crossing fan, was distressed to learn of the upcoming changes.
“Animal Crossing was the only light in my life from November through February,” said Branch. “It was the one escape I had from my actual, real life depression. I’ve spent years building up a wardrobe full of cute winter outfits in the game, and now they’re saying I’ll only be able to wear the same pair of sweats for nearly half of the year. I guess I’m okay with the feature they added where you can pretend you’re not home when a villager comes over to visit, though.”
Dr. Sophia Contreras, an expert in seasonal affective disorder, had tips for melancholy gamers who wanted to continue playing Animal Crossing through the winter.
“While it may not provide the direct emotional release that it did previously, I still think the game is a valuable resource to those suffering from seasonal depression,” said Contreras. “Not only can it provide them with valuable structure and routine, but if they turn the brightness on their Switch way up, it basically becomes a light therapy box. Sure, it’s not real sunshine, but studies show it might possibly help a little bit maybe.”
At press time, users on the Animal Crossing subreddit were sharing which of the game’s harvestable fruits and vegetables were the best sources of Vitamin D.