I showed a real lack of willpower recently when I casually Googled and shortly after ordered an Xbox Series X despite having a Series S in my possession. I could give all manner of excuses for why I actually bought the dang thing, but the real answer is that I wanted one and it was available. With a massive new console in my possession I had to figure out what to do with the Series S that served as my primary console for the past two years, so I went ahead and plopped it in our living room, set up an account for my partner, installed some titles off of Game Pass I thought they’d enjoy and went on my merry way. Little did I know that I had just taken the first steps towards allowing a Disney-themed game monopolize all of their free time.
At first they just wanted to continue playing our cooperative game of the month, Battleblock Theater, but eventually curiosity got the better of them when I booted up Disney Dreamlight Valley, a game I promptly decided was not gonna be the next ‘big thing’ for me. But their affinity for Disney characters mixed with the slightly more mechanically rich Animal Crossing-esque gameplay loop must have resonated with them because all they wanna do now is hang out with Goofy, Elsa and a horrifying dead-eyed version of Mickey who never seems to close his mouth.
What first started as a vague curiosity has turned into something that resembles an addiction, but in a good way. When I first asked them about their feelings on the game I was met with a lot of, “it’s okay,” and “I just wanna see where it goes.” Recently however they’ve approached me with a gleeful sense of pride while asking, “do you wanna see what I’ve done with my town in that game?” I’ve even checked the Xbox app while I was on my lunchbreak and caught a certain someone tending to their village while ‘working’ from home.
I tease them about their newfound addiction but it genuinely makes me happy to see that they’re having fun with this console that I basically replaced with a bigger, stronger version. They’re a fairly casual gamer and to see them get hooked on a game the way I can sometimes get sucked into games makes me weirdly happy. I don’t know how to exactly explain it but it’s kind of vindicating in a weird way. It isn’t as if they judge me for spending time playing games or anything, if anything they’re incredibly supportive of my gaming hobby and the time and energy I spend on it.
Knowing how bored of the game I would get within a few hours, I’ve already prepped them for the burnout by just installing a bunch of other games I thought they might enjoy on the console, just hoping curiosity will take hold and lead them into something newer and more visually exciting to watch. As of writing this however, that has not been the case as we’re both ‘hotly anticipating’ the Toy Story update for the game, which I think we can all agree is really gonna shake things up.
How I feel about Disney Dreamlight Valley is irrelevant though, because all that matters is that they’re having a good time with it and getting that feeling of satisfaction that a good game can provide. While I wouldn’t mind seeing something different on our TV, or more specifically, hear something other than the same 3 bars of the Mickey Mouse Club theme song, I’m just happy that my partner is happy. What more can you really ask for?