What Animal Crossing can do during a Pandemic

I did not know what Animal Crossing was until a week before its new game release, New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch. I have heard of it and even played the racetrack in Mario Kart 8 with its new characters like Isabelle or the Villager. I’ve even seen the characters in Super Smash Bros Ultimate. That was the extent of my knowledge back then. It never occurred to me to even google it.

“He said: ‘it’s cute and non-violent'”

I remember staying in an Airbnb in Mystic, CT around the beginning of March 2020. My boyfriend said that I’d like Animal Crossing. I was like: “okay, why?”. He said: “It’s cute and non-violent”. It’s not that I dislike violent games, they’re just not my thing. Although, I could watch my boyfriend play all day long. He then proceeded to take out his phone and introduced me to Animal Crossing Pocket Camp. I was immediately hooked. For the remainder of the weekend getaway, I played non-stop and reached level 25 in no time. That Monday, the state of CT started enforcing wearing masks. We were in lockdown.

Days were passing by and my love for Pocket Camp grew more and more. Goldie was the first villager I interacted with. She quickly became my favorite. My thoughts were “If this is the mobile version, then the console game was going to be even better”. Animal Crossing New Horizons release day arrived and I, once again, was completely in love with the franchise and with this game. I was so enamored with the characters, the design, the colors, and, especially, with Timmy and Tommy. I remember choosing my island, my character, and the plane I took to get there! I never knew I would be so excited in my life to catch bugs, fish, and to pay a mortgage IN A VIDEO GAME. The music is so relaxing and outstanding. This game is so adorable. I enjoy digging fossils to complete my museum exhibit, fill my Critterpedia, talking to my villagers and go shopping at Able Sisters.

Playing this game during all those months in lockdown really helped maintain my sanity.

I had something to look forward to every day. It also allowed me to hang out with my friends through Animal Crossing New Horizons. I visited their islands and they visited mine. We even had online themed parties. During those online parties, we played Mario Kart 8 and even Among Us… Because of Animal Crossing. I got to celebrate my birthday on the island with some of my Villagers.

My boyfriend and I share the same Nintendo Switch. He gets really creative with terraforming, moving the villagers’ homes, the shops, and the museum. Me on the other hand, I look forward to just fish, dive, dig, shop, and talk to Villagers so I can collect their photos. I really need to work on my creativity so I can decorate the island too.

Animal Crossing NH - 5oleil and Mr Stidz

I’m thankful for Reddit and its Animal Crossing community. Thanks to them, I was able to find QR codes in r/ACQR to make my island spooktacular for Halloween. I found the coolest paths and stall patterns. I love seeing people post their island pictures in r/AnimalCrossing and find inspiration from it. Since I haven’t had much luck finding Celeste at night, I resorted to looking for great people in r/NoFeeAC that provided services such as crafting, cataloging, trading, and even giveaways… With no fees! I always give bells as a thank you though. I really appreciate people taking the time and helping others. One other subreddit I use as well is r/ACPocketCamp for Camp Site inspiration… Which I have to say, there are some amazing campsites.

“There is a strong sense of togetherness that I never thought I’d experience playing a game.”

I’m a little disappointed that I did not play New Leaf, Wild World, City Folk, or any other Animal Crossing game before New Horizons. To be honest, growing up, I only played Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64 consistently. We didn’t have much money to buy games or even game consoles. My N64 stayed with me until 2007… When it got lost in the middle of moving.

Animal Crossing not only helped me keep my sanity during 2020, but it also helped me connect with my friends when going out was not possible. I’ve met amazing people through this wonderful community. There is a strong sense of togetherness that I never thought I’d experience playing a game. Never been much of a gamer in the past. Now, I play almost every day and I’m as excited as I was on day one.  I am grateful this game exists, and I believe it was released at the time we needed it the most.