Hello all my buddies, this is Carmen, and welcome to another Chatty Crochet With Me!
In this video series, I will be crocheting something while talking about a random topic, like we’re just hanging out, and maybe you’re crocheting too! This is definitely not a tutorial video.
As you can already tell, this video will only be in top-down mode; I’m trying this out to see how I like it! Let me know your thoughts too!
First, let’s talk about my blanket progress! So for July’s blanket, I was crocheting this simple Lap Blanket. I really liked doing the squares, and it was nice to just to have the muscle memory do it’s thing so I could listen to my podcasts or watch my shows. So far, the video has been of me finishing up those squares with a large needle; I don’t know if this is specifically a darning needle, but it is not sharp and I use it to weave in my ends. I managed to finish all the squares, 100 total, so all I have to do, after sewing in the ends, is put the rows together and do a border!
Also, I wanted to share progress on my past blankets, the Gingham Plaid Afghan and the Baby Blocks Blanket! Both of these are done now, so I’ll show them off! Aren’t they both pretty? I learned a lot about crocheting from these patterns, and both have their positives and negatives, but I’m just so glad they’re both done! Those were my May and June blankets.
Finally, I’m going to move onto my August blanket! (yes, I’m a couple months behind ;__;) This one is more granny squares! This blanket is the Cluster Burst Granny Squares blanket, and it’s another stash buster! I thought this was a nice one because I can get rid of the little yarn threads I have, and I always have white yarn. The pattern is pretty similar to the previous granny square blanket, which was all double-crochets and chain stitches. This one is the same, with different intervals. Again, if I know the yarn, I’ll put it up on the screen, if I don’t, then I won’t! I’ve finished all the little circles, so now I’ll be moving onto the outer square for the remainder of this video.
Now, I’ll start talking about my topic this month, which is cozy video games!
Cozy games can be described as the feeling you get from the game: like you’re playing all bundled up in blankets and you’re just so warm and wholesome, they are definitely non-violent, you get a sense of safety and friendliness from the game, and the game is extremely low risk.
So, of course I started on this topic because I was going through all the things I did last year: TV, movies, and podcasts. And, I also played video games. I played some otome games, which are visual novels that are geared towards women, point and click games, and also some co-op video games with Taylor. Some of those were Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku, Thimbleweed Park, and Cat Quest II. I also played the remake of Final Fantasy VIII, which was my favorite Final Fantasy game growing up! However, my favorite game of 2020 and the most played, was Animal Crossing New Horizons. I had played Animal Crossing New Leaf for the 3DS as well, and I sinked into that one pretty deep, a couple years ago. Those are both such fun, easy going games.
But first, let’s rewind back to middle school when I started playing Harvest Moon: Back To Nature. This was my first cozy game, and I loved this game, ya’ll. The story is like most other Harvest Moon games: your grandpa passes away and gives you his farm in his will. Once you arrive, the game’s goals are 1) for you to get the farm back to working order, and 2) to be friendly to your neighbors. You are given three years to make it presentable. However, like most of the other games I’ll be talking about, do not have a finish, you kind of just keep playing until you stop.
You arrive at the farm on the first day of the year, which starts in spring. You choose your name, your birthday, your dog’s name, and your farm’s name. Since college, I always name my male main characters Rodney, my dogs are all Ronon, and my farm is always Atlantis.
For you to get your farm back in order, you’ll need to fix up the farm and that requires money! To get money, there are things you can harvest around the area: it’s mostly different colors of grass, with bamboo shoots and mushrooms growing in the area too.
You are given basic tools when you start your farm, and you can eventually upgrade them with ore found in the cave during winter. After upgrading your tools, you can chop those stumps and large rocks for more building supplies, upgrading your house and finally clearing up the rest of your farm.
There are also a ton of everyday activities you need to do! Farm upkeep is the big one which starts with weeding and getting rid of debris on your farm, and eventually includes planting, watering, and harvesting your crops, as well as caring your your animals. In this game, you can have chickens, sheep, and cows, all of which you have to pet, and feed. You also have to harvest from them, eggs, wool, and milk, respectively. You also get a dog and a horse, which you don’t have to feed, but you still have to pet and be friendly towards.
You can also go fishing, attend town festivals, and participate in competitions.
For the goal of being friendly to your neighbors, you can simply talk to them, but the fun part was giving them presents, and bonus points was giving them presents on their birthday. There aren’t that many villagers, thankfully, so it’s pretty easy to talk to all of them in a day. And, you can actually marry one of the bachelorettes in the village! My favorite was Elli. She was the Doctor’s Assistant, not sure if she was a RN, but she was at least the receptionist. She had a little brother and grandma as well, and she was the sweetest! My second favorite was Mary, she was the town librarian. I used to love reading when I was little, so it would be natural that I liked her so much! The other bachelorettes were Popuri, the daughter of the chicken ranch owner, Ann, the daughter of the innkeeper, and Karen, the daughter of the supermarket owner.
There were also rivals! For Elli, your rival was the Doctor. The other reason I liked Elli so much was because I didn’t like the doctor! I definitely needed to save her from him, all the other girls seemed to have better suitors. For Mary, your rival was Gray, the grandson and apprentice of the blacksmith. He was pretty grumpy at first but warmed up after a while. Kai was your rival for Popuri, he only came during the summer, but their history went back years. Cliff was your rival for Ann, and would actually leave town if you didn’t manage to help him find a job by the end of the first year. Finally, Rick, Popuri’s brother, was your rival for Karen.
There was a version released for the Game Boy Advance as well as the PSP where you could choose to be a girl or a boy. If you chose to be a girl, all the available men now became yours to woo; my favorite was Cliff! He was the easiest for me to romance. I actually never romanced anyone else and now I kinda want to go back and try romancing Gray!
I played a lot of Harvest Moon games in my time, I have some for the 3DS and played some of the other ones as well, but none grabbed me as much as Back To Nature, or the Game Boy Advanced remake. The new games are now called Story of Seasons, and one of those was just released, so maybe I’ll give it a try.
Next is a game called Stardew Valley. Developed out of pure love of the Harvest Moon games, Stardew Valley was made mostly by one man, who did everything, from the music, to the sprites, to the coding. I believe he recently hired people on, and the team continue to work on the game and speaking as a fan, I very much appreciate it.
In Stardew Valley, the premise is similar: your grandpa dies and gives you the deed to his farm. Your task is to fix it back up and befriend your neighbors. Unlike Harvest Moon, there’s a lot more to explore! There are monsters in the cave, if you decide to visit it, and you can buy and upgrade weapons.
And again, you have villagers to be friend, tools to upgrade, and ladies or gentleman to woo. In this, unlike Harvest Moon, your character can be gay and bi, so you can date both men and women in this at the same time. It makes playthrough much easier if you’re like me and just want to see everyone’s cutscenes without giving up your whole game. The date-able villagers also have different personalities! For those who like men, you have three young adults: Alex, who is a football player and lives with his grandparents; Sam is the thoughtful older brother type, whose father returns home from serving in the army; and Sebastian is the rebellious, emo loner who deals with family issues stemming from half-sister and step-father. Then, there’s Harvey, who is the town doctor and a bit older; he likes coffee, and he’ll take care of you. There’s another older bachelor named Elliott, he’s the writer with beautiful, long hair, who lives on the beach. Then, finally, you have Shane. He is rude, an alcoholic, and very bitter towards life. However, he has the most growth once you befriend him, and his story is very rewarding, even though he’s not my preferred bachelor. My favorite is definitely a tie between Harvey and Elliott.
However, for me, the ladies are the more interesting villagers to date. You have Abigail, who does different things, like hanging out in the graveyard and fighting monsters in the mine, and Haley, who starts off sheltered and self-centered, but definitely grows into a more well-rounded person. Then, there’s Maru, who is Sebastian’s half-sister, and a scientist-slash-inventor. There’s also Leah, who is the sculptor-slash-artist, she lives in the woods and I classified her as the naturalist of the town; she likes to forage and make her own salads. And, there’s Penny, who is a cute, friendly redhead with a sad backstory. I just want to wrap her up and take her with me! Finally, my favorite, Emily, who’s the bartender or waitress at the saloon, but dreams of making her own fabric and clothes. I see a little of myself in Emily: she believes there’s a little magic in the world, she’s just working her job but her real passion is in something creative, she hopes you’re being sustainable and cruelty free in your farming, and she likes jewel tones!
Other things in Stardew Valley that are different than Harvest Moon: You can explore a hidden forest. You can fight and even keep slimes on your farm. You can buy pigs who will find truffles for you. You can choose to give into your town’s version of corporate greed, or you can choose to buy from your local general store. There’s a community center that needs rebuilding. You can choose between different types of farms, including a fish farm, a foraging farm, and a new beach farm. And so much more.
When Taylor got me a Nintendo Switch, the only game was Stardew Valley, and it still remains my second most played game on that platform, after Animal Crossing of course. I’ve also been tempted to get it on the computer as well as Android, but I know if I do, I won’t want to play anything else!
Finally, there’s Animal Crossing. My first dive into Animal Crossing was New Leaf, which was for the 3DS. In Animal Crossing, you are now the mayor of a new town (or island, for New Horizons), and instead of fixed residents, like Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley, your residents come and go and can be any one of over 300 characters. There are weird characters, like Pietro, who is a clown sheep, there are divisive characters, like Rodney, a smug hamster, and there are highly sought-after characters, like Raymond, a be-speckled cat.
Each of the characters as a personality trait, so there may be ones who you get along with more, and there may be ones that certain personality traits like more than others. In New Horizons, some character traits may affect other parts of the game, for instance if you have Smug or Snooty characters on your island, they will only send fake art in the mail, whereas some other personality traits may send real art.
My favorite personality traits are Sisterly (also called Big Sister), Lazy and Cranky, maybe because those are some of my personality traits! My favorite Sisterly character is Frita, who is a hot dog wearing sheep. She’s one of my favorite characters over all, she’s just so darn adorable! I have a lot of favorite lazy characters, but the one I’ve had longest on my island on New Horizons is Moe, and I don’t want to get rid of him! He’s just a hoodie wearing, no-nonsense little kitty, and sometimes he’s just the sweetest. And lastly Cranky is a personality type that I like to categorize as tsundere, which is basically mean and spiky on the outside and sweet and soft on the inside. A lot of my favorite characters in general are this type (for those who are also obsessed with Ted Lasso, this is Roy in a nutshell). Again, I have a lot of favorites, but the two that have a soft spot in my heart are Harry, who is a hot tub loving hippo, and just happens to share a name with my late brother, and Gaston, who is an adorable French rabbit with a giant mustache.
Other differences include the passage of time, as Animal Crossing is in real time. For example, if you set your 3DS or Switch to 10am local time, it is also 10am in the game, and one minute in the game is also one minute in real life. So actually, if you don’t change your time on your gaming device, it may be easier to play for a little bit at a time. For a while, I was just playing for an hour a day, since I did everything I needed to do that day, where as time passes much more quickly in Stardew Valley and Harvest Moon so it was much easier to binge. Of course, if you do decide to change your time on your device, it may be easier to binge Animal Crossing, but it all depends on how you play.
I’m a collector at heart, so my main objective, after restoring the town, is obviously finishing the world encyclopedia and museum, which means fishing and catching bugs. I was also trying to get all the flower variations, which is much harder than it sounds. My secondary objective is to get Carmen on is the island, since we share the same name, and since she is a cute little rabbit! I have not been able to do either of these despite using numerous attempts to look for her. I stopped playing this during the late spring or early summer. I definitely gave a good year and at least two or three months. I know they just released a new update and I’m so tempted to get the new paid DLC! Maybe next year …
Another cozy game I’ve tried is A Short Hike, which is available on several systems, including Nintendo Switch and Steam, I personally played it through Itch.io. It’s such a cute, slow adventure game, and you can take it as fast or as slow as you want. In A Short Hike, you are a teenage or young adult and you are visiting your aunt on this island. You want to see if your mom has called you, and the best reception on the island is at the top of the mountain, so you take a short hike. There is a lot to do on the way, as it is actually not a short hike at all! There are tools to find and magic feathers to gather so that you can finish your hike. There are also other smaller side quests, like doing parkour runs, and finding objects for other people on the island. You can also go fishing and collect the fish, and mostly just explore this cute little island.
I played this for a couple hours for several days and finished the main objective, but I didn’t feel the need to complete all the achievements. The art itself feels both drawn and pixelated, and the character design is just too cute. And I definitely teared up once the main objective was finished.
It was nice to finish a game, as a lot of these other games have main objectives, but you don’t really feel like you’ve finished the game after those are done, whereas with this one, once I finished the main objective, though I still had some things I hadn’t found yet (some secret entrances, and a lot of the fish), I definitely felt like the game was done.
I really love cozy games. In my head, I categorize them as extremely low stakes role playing games, where the role you take is simply a farmer for Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley, an island caretaker for Animal Crossing, or a young hiker in A Short Hike. Other types of games like skill-based games, or strategy RPGs are great too but when I lose, it’s frustrating. With cozy games, the only frustration is where your shovel might accidentally go, or you might lose the fish on the end of your hook. They are such a nice escape from reality, especially our reality right now. Let me know if you have any cozy video games you played that weren’t on my list!
I have some more cozy games on my wishlist! Coffee Talk is one, it is kind of like a visual novel where you are a barista at a fantasy-slash-sci-fi cafe, and you listen to your customers problems and serve them coffee. I’ve played the free demo, and it seems pretty interesting! My Time at Portia also seems like a Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley type, except that the description says this is in a post-apocalyptic time, and it looks kind of steampunk-ish! I’m always down for more Harvest Moon-type farming games, and I love the steampunk aesthetic! Cozy Grove is another game on my wishlist that has a cozy feel, I mean, it’s got it right in its name! You are a Spirit Guide on an island; right now, it’s haunted and you’re trying to soothe the ghosts on the island so that color will come back to it. It looks like the ghosts are these cute bears that you’re trying to appease and the game just looks so sweet. Like many people, I have a lot of games in my library now, but once I make it through those, I hope to get more cozy games to chill out to!
Now, let’s take a look at the progress on these squares! I tried a join-as-you-go technique for them, so hopefully that works out well. I’ve done 4 of these on camera, and that’s almost half of one row, so I just have to do the rest of the blanket and I’ll be done! Please let me know how you liked this only top down video, and let me know what you’re working on! Thanks for watching everyone!