July 25, 2021

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2020’s best games gave me the normal I craved

Editor’s note: Take a breath. We’re almost there. 2020’s been quite the year, and it’s very nearly over. Across the festive break, members of the Eurogamer team and our contributors will be running down their personal top five games of 2020, before we announce our game of the year – and before, of course, we hand over to you for the annual Reader’s Top 50. Thanks for being with us this year, and see you on the other side.

I’ve been trying so hard all year not to do it. Trying not to mention all the other stuff that 2020 has wrought, and trying to maintain games as a haven away from everything else. Looking back at the five games that defined my year, I’ve only just realised it’s now impossible not to, so please accept my apologies, and I promise I’ll keep it brief. It turns out the games I’ve spent the most meaningful time with in 2020 were all about giving me back some small semblance of normality.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons offered the most obvious substitute for what once was, and consumed the most hours. Coming just as the world turned, it was a warm and welcome retreat, a cushion-soft world for us all to flop into and an absolute hug of a thing. What a time for Nintendo’s biggest-hearted series to deliver its most feature-rich, open-armed entry, and what a gift to be able to hold on to the simple pleasure of popping around a friend’s house for a cup of tea and to admire their furnishings.

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