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Nintendo-style ‘Wholesome Direct’ promises a chill time

75 games will be highlighted

A character in Moonglow Bay reels in an orange fish. Image: Coatsink/Bunnyhug
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

More than 75 indie games will be highlighted during the Wholesome Direct, a Nintendo-style event in which new titles will be revealed and exclusive footage will be shown off. Several games will launch during the show, too, Wholesome Games — a collective of games enthusiasts that highlight the chill genre — said on Twitter.

The event has been organized, in part, with online games festival Guerilla Collective; the Wholesome Direct will be held as part of the second annual event. The Guerilla Collective 2021 will be held over two Saturdays in June, with the Wholesome Direct scheduled for Saturday, June 12.

Wholesome Direct will feature announcements from some of 2021’s most anticipated indie games and updates: Making-the-band-style interactive series We Are OFK, chill fishing simulator Moonglow Bay, and colorful farming game Ooblets. In Wednesday’s tweet, Wholesome Games said more information is coming about puzzle game Unpacking A Life, gecko game The Gecko Gods, and highly-anticipated life sim Paralives.

There are more “wholesome games” than ever; the genre has seen a boom, The Verge reported in March 2020. These games largely have “smaller, [more] compact stories,” The Verge said, lending themselves to more “introspective experiences” than some massive, AAA titles — though, of course, games that are hugely popular can be wholesome, too. (Animal Crossing: New Horizons, anyone?)

Matthew Taylor, a Wholesome Direct organizer and game developer, described wholesome games as “thoughtful, uplifting, and compassionate.” On the Wholesome Direct submissions form, the team elaborated more: “Low stakes, low stress, low violence, uplifting themes, [or] thoughtful representation of marginalized groups”

“Every game we curate fits at least a couple of those criteria,” Taylor told Polygon.

Wholesome Direct will be broadcast June 12 at 1 p.m. EDT on the Guerilla Collective Twitch channel.