Considering the state of the world in 2020, it’s pretty easy to forget all the media we’ve seen this year. With the film industry slowing down and movie theaters closing, people’s focus turned more to digital and streaming. Quarantine season and lockdowns contributed to the rise of “Tiger King” on Netflix as more people started staying at home. The documentary-style series focuses on the lives of big cat owners across the country. Most of the appeal rested in the complete absurdity of the reality these people live in. However, the popularity of this breakout hit died down by May, based on Google Trends. Season four of “Rick and Morty” on Adult Swim didn’t blaze anywhere near as bright, but it helped carry us through the period between “Tiger King” and when video games came into the limelight. Honestly, if you don’t know what “Rick and Morty” is, it’s a trip approved for those 16 and up. It focuses on a family going through the regular life of science fiction interdimensional travel. That’s really the best explanation I can give because if you haven’t seen it, nothing else will make sense. Just as the “Rick and Morty” season ended, the video game “The Last of Us II” released. The first in this series was wildly successful as a story about a zombie virus. It brought us into a story about ethics and mortality focused around protecting the one person immune to the zombie virus. This one, yet again, didn’t last long as it was quickly replaced by the mammoth in the video game world, “Minecraft.” While this blocky world came into existence in 2009, it received the 16th major update at the end of June. The story of “Minecraft” is hard to explain because, by nature of this game-style, it doesn’t matter. One of the many reasons “Minecraft” is a mammoth in the video game world is that it’s a sandbox game. You get dropped into the world and can do in it what you want. You can go adventuring, fight monsters, travel to extra dimensions, fight a dragon and take flight. Or, you can build a city, trade with villagers and live a mostly peaceful farming life. As the hype of the new “Minecraft” update died down, another game surged in “Among Us.” I don’t really have an explanation for why this 2018 release took over at the end of September, but as we’re heading into the new year, it’s still going strong. “Among Us” is nowhere near where it was, but YouTubers still are cranking out videos of it, which just before Christmas became less popular than “Minecraft” again, and only slightly. It’s pinned as a logic and social deduction game where 10 players have a list of tasks to complete, except two are killers and the others are trying to figure out who it is to vote them out. Pretty basic and endlessly replayable. As we head into the end of the year, “Wonder Woman 1984” is leading Google searches behind “Minecraft,” but that’s already back to near its baseline of popularity. Now, in writing this, I focused on Google Trends data, and halfway through, I realized I forgot another big player in the entertainment world this year, the video game “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.” It really lines up with “Tiger King,” except it is far more popular. When “Tiger King” reached its peak between March 29 and April 4, it was at 60 on Google Trends, while “Animal Crossing” was at 89 and already trending slightly downward. The game basically puts you on an island to run around, upgrade buildings, fish, farm and make friends. When we all started staying inside more under stay-at-home orders and working from home, it filled the desire to go outside. Besides a recap of the year’s media highlights, what’s my point? Simple, it all relates to escapism. These pieces of media, along with an overall increase in streaming and gaming, provided us with a distraction from the harsh reality of 2020. That’s the point of these. Whether things are going well in the world or things are burning, we want to escape somewhere else. That’s why we read books or go to movies too. We get to disconnect for a while and mentally recover from reality. Michael Shine is a staff writer at the Daily American Republic. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.