By ANABEL HOWERY
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a video game that any audience can enjoy, no matter their age or cultural background. Millions of players escape daily boredom by creating their own secluded worlds in this video game that is playable only on the Nintendo Switch. Created and manufactured by the Japanese game company Nintendo, New Horizons is extremely popular and widely known throughout the world. According to Nintendo’s financial results, it has sold over 22 million copies worldwide since its release on March 20, 2020. Coincidentally, the nation-wide lockdown in the U.S. for the COVID-19 pandemic began during the same month, most likely increasing the game’s sales. New Horizons is now the second best-selling game on the Nintendo Switch, standing closely behind Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. According to Forbes, “in just a few months, it’s beaten out The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey and Super Smash Bros. Deluxe”. The release of most of these games came a few years before New Horizons was released, showing that the game was an immediate hit the moment it was made available to players around the globe.
Although the lockdown was most likely a crucial factor to the game’s success, Animal Crossing: New Horizons was also a highly anticipated game that many fans were excited for before its release. New Horizons is not the first of its kind; it is one of the many games in the Animal Crossing franchise. More than half a decade ago, Nintendo introduced past Animal Crossing games, such as Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Animal Crossing: Wild World, that were popular games worldwide. The Animal Crossing franchise has sold a remarkable 50 million units in total.
In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, players are able to meet online no matter their location. This has helped many players socialize in the safety of their homes. “I was in a group chat for Animal Crossing with some of my friends and we organized a day to meet up and visit everyone’s islands. It was a fun experience and I was glad I could catch up with them,” sophomore Thomas Fukuda said.
Missing out on many special events has been tough for many people, so it’s not uncommon to see creatively planned gatherings in the game to compromise for the loss of such occasions. Numerous players have planned and created school graduations that simulate the ones that they were not able to attend in-person. New Horizons has enabled students to spend time with their friends and families while still feeling the same closure that they would have experienced had the pandemic not occurred.
“It gave me something to do while just sitting at home. I could have some sibling bonding time with my older sister who I played with,” Fukuda said.
Another creative idea that some players put together was a museum tour. Using the museum feature in the game, museum tour guides who are unable to go to work give virtual tours to people around the world on their screens. Using their mics, they speak as they explain the features of the ancient fossils during their tours. Clearly, education is still prominent even in video games. People have also hosted game shows, such as a replication of Howie Mandel’s Deal or No Deal. These are just a few examples of the various ideas that New Horizons players have thought of to make the most out of difficult times. Even if you don’t have this Animal Crossing game, you can still be creative and craft things you enjoy. Just remember to stay safe and be imaginative!