The Best Video Games of the Year (So Far)

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Photo-Illustration: Vulture, Square Enix Games, Media Molecule, Dotemu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games Cardboard Computer, Nintendo,

Unlike the movie or live performance or … nearly every other … business, the video game industry has made it through the first few months of 2020 with its output only mildly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. That’s partly due to coincidence — there’s a new generation of PlayStation and Xbox consoles scheduled to launch this holiday season, and that typically means a fallow first half of the year. But while it’s anyone’s guess what happens over the next few months, the last few have already brought plenty to enjoy. Here are some of the most interesting games to arrive in this highly unusual time. Hopefully they bring you some pleasure in a bad season.

The communal video game experience of the year, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was uniquely primed to be a hit. It had been seven years since the last game in the franchise — 2013’s New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS. It was the first entry on the wildly popular Nintendo Switch. And it arrived just before the nation entered lockdown in response to a viral pandemic. As a low-stakes game about building, and then living in, your own community of friendly anthropomorphic animals, the game was quickly positioned as a balm for trying times. But it was also the first Animal Crossing where sharing your experience via social media was possible, making it more than just a game, but another place where culture can happen on a large scale.

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