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What is Cozy Gaming?

So what is cozy gaming? And what makes a game ‘cozy’? In this post, I will explain to you what a cozy game is and give you my personal opinion on cozy gaming as a trend.

what is cozy gaming?

What is Cozy Gaming?

Also known as ‘comfort gaming, cozy gaming a type of gameplay that emphasises relaxation, comfort and self-care. So technically speaking, that could be anything. I know that there is a lot of debate in the cozy gaming community as to what types of games fall into this category, however I personally think that there isn’t a specified standard that a game needs to abide by to be considered cozy.

By definition, if the game invokes a level of self-care, relaxation and comfort, then technically, any game could be considered cozy for you. I know that I am going to get a lot of hate for saying this, but just think about it and I’ll use my partner as an example. He is an avid gamer who enjoys all different genres of video games, even Stardew Valley, however after a long, stressful day at work, he likes to come home and put hours into World of Warcraft as he finds that relaxing.

best cozy games recommendations
Game: Unpacking

Me, on the other hand, I also like to play a variety of genres, however I find relaxation in comfort in older retro games or even unique puzzle games. However, this usually varies depending on my day, and mood of course.

With all that being said, cozy games are usually stylised with wholesome stories, with little to no aggressive, violent conflict, bundled with adorable graphics and relaxing gameplay. The gameplay itself can be varied too, either being a farming simulator, visual novel, platformer or even puzzle game. However, the emphasis of the gameplay needs to be relaxing and has to create a safe place for the gamer to explore their surroundings and doesn’t put too much pressure on hitting deadlines or being too combative.

best animal crossing games Nintendo Switch
Game: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

When Did Cozy Gaming Become Popular?

Although I would say that cozy gaming isn’t exactly a new concept, (more on that later), it’s a gaming trend that slowly started to rise to prominence over the past couple of years, seemingly starting during lockdown and progressing into what it is today.

Nowadays, the presence of the cozy gaming community is felt everywhere, with many people taking to social media to showcase their enviable cozy gaming setups and showcase their cozy gaming recommendations.

Despite cozy gaming becoming a very popular trend in the gaming community right now, the overall concept isn’t exactly new, with many styles of games we would usually associate with the trend coming out in the early 90’s. For example, we put Stardew Valley on the list of cozy gaming recommendations, however this game was heavily inspired by Harvest Moon which originally came out on the SNES in the early 90’s. So yes, even retro games can be considered cozy too!

what are cozy games?
Game: Stray

Why Did Cozy Gaming Become Popular?

I think it had something to do with Covid and Animal Crossing, in my personal opinion. It was around this time when people were cooped up inside and our attitudes towards gaming and what they mean to us started to change.

As someone who has been in the gaming community for roughly ten years now, I can attest to how toxic some areas can be as a woman. Although I’ve only ever had a couple of mild, unpleasant interactions online, there are many women in the gaming community who experience so much harassment from men and get told that ‘they’re not real gamers’.

Well no more. Although the cozy gaming community is meant for everyone, it provides a safe and vibrant safe space for many female gamers who just want to showcase their pink gaming accessories or play Animal Crossing in peace without being told that they’re a ‘fAkE gaMEr’, by a cowardly keyboard warrior.

what is cozy gaming?
Game: Coffee Talk

What Are The Best Cozy Games?

Cozy gaming is becoming more popular by the day, with many developers, big and small, popping up and releasing some awesome cozy games! Sometimes, it's so hard to even keep up with them all.

However, if you're new to cozy gaming and don't know where to start, here are a few games that I recommend; Animal Crossing: New Horizons (of course!), Stardew Valley, Coffee Talk, Gris, Disney Dreamlight Valley, New Pokemon Snap, Mineko's Night Market and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.


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