December 2, 2021

Xbox One X

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Animal Crossing saw our gaming future back in 2001

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Mornings have taken a weird turn in the Eurogamer office. My bus drops me in half an hour early, which gives me time to have a few runs on the Fortnite challenges. Then Tom Phillips is generally next in, often a little bleary-eyed because he likes to play Fortnite long into the night. Chris Tapsell turns up, and he and Tom will talk about what they got up to in Pokémon Go the evening before, and by that time a few other people will be at their desks, maybe having a round of Hearthstone.

You can scramble the games a little. Maybe I’ll be playing Clash Royale and Tom and Wes will be talking about Destiny. Maybe Chris will be talking about a new starship he bought in No Man’s Sky. Tom still plays Assassin’s Creed Origins pretty regularly. I still have a go at the daily run in Spelunky every other week. The point, I think, is this: games have been steadily working towards this for a while, and then you blink and all of a sudden here we are, all of us with actual commitments. We are surrounded by games that don’t just want us to keep playing but actively seem to require regular upkeep.

I love it, I think. I love to return to Fortnite’s map again and again, recrossing my old paths and bumping up against memories of my old lives like a character in Cloud Atlas. I once loved watching my Hearthstone decks grow in richness and possibility, too, and I love hearing about the friends – real-world friends – Tom and Chris and Matt have made in Pokémon Go. There are moments – now is one, as I’m starting to tinker with Warframe – in which I wonder if I actually have room for another of these big, persistant games in my life, but these moments are few and far between. These games need your time, but they actually only need a little of it each day. The important thing is that you keep coming back.

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