GAME ON!


Because our interests in gardening are often shared with our love of technology, I thought I'd take some time and share a few recommendations with those whose green thumbs occasionally rest on the thumbsticks of a video game controller. Not only are these games immensely entertaining, their content represents a nice compromise between agriculture and popular culture.


Animal Crossing: New Horizons

If you're any kind of gamer, you likely know all about the Animal Crossing series of games, whose entertainment factors include forging relationships, gardening, and developing all aspects of your little world. In New Horizons, you are the newest resident on a mostly deserted island inhabited purely by animals who walk, talk, and become your neighbors. As you take on the task of beautifying the landscape, your efforts pay off in the form of bells, which serve as the game's currency. Over time, you'll invest in home upgrades, better gardening equipment, and new clothes that you can design yourself!

While the game appears to be geared toward younger players, people of all ages have enjoyed unleashing their creativity with Animal Crossing. At age 48, I have had an absolute blast over the hundreds of hours my daughter and I spent together with this game. With virtually endless possibilities, you can transform your indoor and outdoor spaces with a decorative flare that would make any hobbit jealous! Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available exclusively on Nintendo Switch.


Among Trees

Among Trees does away with the cutesy characters in favor of you as the adventurer. Played in the first-person perspective, your goal is to survive in the wilderness. Unlike many other survival games, there will be no aliens to deal with. Rather, it's just you pitted against the forces of nature. While the game offers a serene and relaxing experience for the most part, tension in the threat of hunger and the occasional bear will have you working to restore an old cabin that will become your shelter.

As you progress through the game, you'll be able to develop your home in the woods to include a greenhouse as well as your kitchen. In addition to growing your own fruits and vegetables, your cooking skills will be vital in determining your overall health. The healthier choices you make, the stronger you'll become—just like in the real world! Though not yet available on consoles or mobile platforms, those with a desktop computer or laptop equipped with moderate graphics capabilities can enjoy this unique adventure game.


Stardew Valley

Sick of working? Tired of the same ol' same ol' day-in and day-out? In Stardew Valley, the character you create catches a break when you learn about an inheritance left to you by your grandfather. In his will, you were named as the recipient of a cabin in the country which sits on a rather large piece of land. So, you quit your job and wave good-bye to city life in search of a new one, only to find that your new property is totally run down. This, of course, is not what you were hoping for. But there's plenty of potential to warrant the effort toward building your new life.

Despite the simplicity of its graphical art style, Stardew Valley appeal draws in older players who gravitate toward a more practical approach to property management and adult-oriented relationships with the townspeople. There's comedy and drama around every corner in this exciting farming simulator that you can enjoy on your phone, tablet, game console, or computer.


Farming Simulator

For those who prefer a more realistic gaming experience, the Farming Simulator series of games may be right up your alley. Featuring farms in real world locations within America and Europe, this game dives into the mechanics of land development, livestock purchasing, and asset management. Farming equipment also takes center stage as you work to maximize your profits amidst solving problems akin to those an actual farmer might face. If this seems like more work than relaxation, welcome to the life of a farmer!

Farming Simulator is a long running series that has evolved significantly over the years. While the latest version, Farming Simulator 22, will not be available until November of 2021, you can easily find one of its many iterations on any one of your preferred gaming platforms.


These are just a few of the growing number of video games whose themes feature gardening and agriculture. If you have a favorite game, whether it's gardening-related or not, let us know what it is in the comments. Thanks for dropping in our LEAF Blog! If you'd like to follow the posts from one or more of our LEAF members, simply click on the author's icon and choose "FOLLOW."


HAPPY GARDENING AND GAMING!

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