The Ultimate Guide to Wholesome Gaming: NINTENDO Edition

Sometimes it can feel like the whole world is about moving at a hundred miles a minute, especially when the internet becomes involved. That’s why gaming, for some creators, is about finding a little moment of calm. That’s why cozy-gaming is a thing, a niche that has been growing at blistering speed, and that offers something to those people who are ready to explore within the games medium beautiful little spaces of comfort and calm. In this series of articles, we’re showcasing a whole suite of games from one of the companies leading this heartwarming revolution: Nintendo, who are especially dedicated to making games designed to be cosy, soothing experiences that you explore. The recent Wholesome Direct showcase included a quartet of games that just might be nice little tastes of that calm, and this is the first of several articles in which we’ll be exploring those games, and what they’re like, right now.

Nintendo: A Beacon of Coziness in Gaming

Game creators know that Nintendo is the place for warmth and comfort, and not just as a company. As a platform, Nintendo has become home to countless indie games expressing just that. It’s a subject the company recently celebrated with the popular Wholesome Direct 2024 showcasing an endless collection of indie gems for gentle gamers. Nintendo’s ability to gather a community around feel-good content is unparalleled. It’s a getaway to worlds populated by people who are as kind, relaxed and wholesome as you yourself desire to be.

Kamaeru: A Frog Refuge - A Hopping Into Comfort

You imagine that you’re in a colonial pond, living among wild frogs. Your task is to make this tiny paradise grow. Kamaeru: A Frog Refuge is that dream made real. The game – playable on Nintendo Switch, among other consoles – is a farming simulator with a philosophical bent. Players create ponds and wetlands, blend delicious jams and companion their amphibious friends as they grow and flourish in their restored habitat. Beyond its niche farming mechanics, what is special about the game is that it invites players into a virtuous cycle of care, growth and discovery. Part of Nintendo’s recent efforts to centre slow gaming experiences, it is an invitation to pause, take a breath and appreciate the beautiful depths of nature as more than just pixels.

POOOOL: A Dive Into Endless Serenity

POOOOL provides simplicity with no frills and infinite appeal. It’s a minimalist affair, a Nintendo-friendly, physics-based puzzle, in which colour-matching and trick-shot flings produce popping sounds and a zen gaming loop. This is the game everyone should make: a game for relaxation, Nintendo-style, a game that incorporates its countercultural method of pleasure – the temporal removal from the external work world, the attainment of a ‘compensatory’ inside world – as part of its composition. For 30 minutes, two hours, two weeks, POOOOL becomes your spa.

The Palace on the Hill: An Expedition Through Nostalgia

Players of this game – set in rural India in the 1990s – enter a series of evocative narrative windows into the protagonist’s life, aspirations and the world around him In other words: this is what remains when you take a big spoon and scoop out the ‘Calvinball’ factor out of a video game. It remains: Churning butter. Collecting milk. Horses in the stables. Pouring water. Feeding the cows. Making bread. Collecting eggs from eager hens. Peppermint. Haloumi. Animal husbandry. Neighbours. The joy of gardening. Chickens. Cute, fluffy ducks. Doors. Bombay mix. Adorable turban man. Old women. Animal furs. Kashmiri shawls. Sari fabrics. Handcrafted goods. Vegetables. Lamp-posts. A side-hustle as a tailor. A meticulously detailed, accurate side-hustle of tailoring. Wholesome culture, wholesome art, wholesome chores. A wholesome life game. It is not ‘Calv... (text truncated due to character limit).

Jun 09, 2024
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