How Animal Crossings Bring People Together

Photo by Emma Gill

Just imagine: a life on a deserted island, building up a village from the ground up and turning it into your paradise. Sounds like something we all need right now, right? Just when the world needed it most, Nintendo’s Animal Crossing franchise released their new game Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch on March 20th. Over the last few weeks, this game has brought together people near and far in a vast world of social distancing.

Animal Crossing is a simulation game where you play as a character who runs a town, or in this case an island, for your animal villagers. In this game you build your own house, go fishing, collect bugs, dig up fossils to donate to the local museum, and interact with your island’s villagers to create your ideal world. Animal Crossing has been beloved among many Nintendo fans, and New Horizons has been extremely popular. In Japan, Nintendo sold 1.88 million copies of the game in its first weekend, and is expected to be around the same if not more for other countries. In short: everyone is loving Animal Crossing more than ever.

So, what makes the game so appealing? For some it is building your own town, or maybe the cute villagers you come in contact with, or how immersive the game is with the unique world you are put in. All of these elements come together to create a game that is enjoyable for all ages and people. A viral video that was released recently shows an 87-year-old woman named Audrey who spent over 3500 hours playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf, the preceding edition to this game franchise. So whether you are 7 or 87, you can have a blast playing this game.

Animal Crossing has also created a deeper connection for some users by giving them a sense of purpose. A YouTube user by the name Boldly Wired uploaded a video titled “Animal Crossing and Mental Health” in 2018. In this video, he describes his first time playing an Animal Crossing game and the immense benefits it had to his mental health, especially struggling with depression. As he discovered his motivation for completing the tasks in the game, he realized that he could be taking steps within his own life to achieve certain goals, which is exactly what he began doing. For Boldly Wired and many other people, Animal Crossing has been used to help cope with hardships, and even has the potential to help someone out of a rut.

Having such an immersive game has not only given people a sense of purpose, but is helping people socialize with each other. LHS senior Ella Marcotte is especially grateful for the game: “Every so often I’ll hop on a Discord server and play with my friends who share the same love for this wonderful game,” says Marcotte.“It provides a sense of normalcy during this time.”

People have been using social media as well as chatting platforms such as Discord to trade fruits and clothing, share the excitement of catching a rare fish, and visit each other's islands. If you are interested in Animal Crossing, your social media feeds are probably filled with tips from other users, different custom designs for clothes, and funny memes and references from the game. Not only is this bringing together friends, but bringing together a whole community of people to enjoy a wholesome, entertaining game.

If you are interested in downloading Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it is available on Nintendo Switch, and is highly recommended by anyone who plays it. Give it a try for yourself, and maybe you’ll fall in love with the game the way millions of others already have.