As I toddled around in the snow as its adorable monster, I couldn’t help but draw parallels between A Good Snowman Is Hard To Build’s focus on companionship, and my consistent inability to find it in my own life.
I’ve always been introverted and awkward around people, content to spend my time alone with the easily understood companionship of a book or computer. But even as I told myself I was fine being alone, there are times when loneliness becomes overpowering; when I needed someone to talk to, someone to just be there to shake my from the confines of my subconscious and remind me life isn’t something you’re meant to go through alone.
The point of this is not to attempt to garner your sympathy, as I’ve no one to blame but myself for the solitude I’ve spent so much of my life in, but because it’s under these circumstances that I found myself connecting to A Good Snowman and it’s little monster. Trapped alone inside a walled garden, they’re desperately looking for someone to hold no matter how odd it might outwardly seem, a struggle I’m all too familiar with.
But A Good Snowman isn’t a game designed to empathize with those who feel isolated from society, but to show them that maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. It acknowledges both of the necessity of friendship, and that it’s something you have to work for and are going to make mistakes trying to find, but are never going to get there if you sit waiting for it to come find you. Figuring out how to build a snowman was important to me, not solely because of the satisfaction of solving a puzzle, but because it meant my monster didn’t have to be alone anymore.
It’s hard to properly put into words exactly why I felt so strongly about it, but standing wrapped in a hug with my new icy friend, I found it hard to let go. It’s a useless mechanic, but its inclusion was what changed A Good Snowman from a cute puzzle game, into something that felt personal and meaningful to me. I wasn’t building stacks of snow anymore; I was bringing people together, all with their own names and faces, and in some small way finding comfort in the fact that my monster’s garden was no longer empty.
Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, projecting myself on to a game in a way that was never intended, but I don’t know if it really matters to me in the end. Whatever it was originally proposed to be, to me A Good Snowman was the video game equivalent of a warm hug from someone as longing for a friend as I was. Digital or not, I didn’t realize how badly I needed one.