Every week the EFG staff will be defining a gaming term that is either confusing or ill-defined. Please leave a comment with any terms you find confusing and we will try to include them in future editions!

The gaming definition this week is a series of terms that is applicable to video games:

What are Cozy/Wholesome Games?

A wholesome game is a little difficult to pin down because there are so many different kinds of wholesome games. The one underpinning piece of what makes up a wholesome (or cozy) game is that it is non-violent. Some wholesome games are bright and vibrant. Others are a bit more muted. Some cozy games are social simulation games like Animal Crossing or Cozy Grove or chill, low-key match-three games like Spirit Swap or even spatial awareness games like Unpacking

A picture of a player standing in front of their house in Animal Crossing New Horizons.

Wholesome games are more about how they feel rather than what genre they are. If a game allows for a player to comfortably exist in that digital world without violence or high-stakes competition, it’s wholesome (in some way). The biggest strength of what defines wholesome/cozy games is in how subjective it is. Its breadth and depth allows for developers and players alike to define what wholesome means to them.

Cozy (wholesome) games are considered a trend, but an entire digital conference presentation has popped up around these games called Wholesome Games’ Wholesome Direct. The Wholesome Direct is a presentation that usually happens during June (around E3, whatever form that happens to be) and features a wide array of games that are considered “wholesome” in their “vibe”. The Wholesome Direct was also shrunk down to a “snack-sized” presentation in the lead-up to the Game Awards in 2022.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

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