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Gaming as Therapy and Animal Crossing: New Leaf

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Games can take us out of ourselves—entertain us, give us an escape. But in the end they’re just games, right? It’s not like you hear people talking constantly about the stress-relieving health properties of playing video games. Only maybe, for some games, they should. Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released one year ago this month for the Nintendo 2/3DS handheld and has been described by fans and reviewers alike as strangely therapeutic, with good reason. The gameplay is deceptively simple but does in fact contain several elements proven to reduce stress and improve mood. Here are a few!

Alana is a freelance writer, editor, and word nerd with a particular love for helping out beginner or small press writers and artists. You can learn more about her work at alanamancuso.com or by contacting her via Twitter @AlanaMancuso.

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