Friday, April 26, 2024
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Animal Crossing Fills the Social Gap

Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released around the same time we were told to shelter-in-place. The release brought on a rush for Nintendo Switch devices. At that time, I told myself that I would not get into the game…1 and 1/2 months later I find myself searching for anything that will help me pay off my debt to Tom Nook. For the record, Animal Crossing was gifted to me in a fair exchange for dinner. After a few hundred hours of game play, I believe I should not have taken the barter.

Animal Crossing is a social simulation video game series developed and published by Nintendo and created by Katsuya Eguchi and Hisashi Nogami. In Animal Crossing, the player character is a human who lives in a village inhabited by various anthropomorphic animals, carrying out various activities such as fishing, bug catching, and fossil hunting. The series is notable for its open-ended gameplay and extensive use of the video game console’s internal clock and calendar to simulate the real passage of time.

To sum it up, you think you’re going on a camping trip but then it turns out you just bought into some twilight-zone mystery-house timeshare island of Dr. Moreau where you have to pay off your debt by buying products low and selling high. You also have the opportunity to build creatures of comfort items like ovens, beds, fans, chairs, tables, and more. You will need to collect raw materials such as wood, stone, and iron to put these items together.

There seems to be a bright side to this game during the COVID pandemic. This game allows for some interaction with friends with the same game.

The game gives a feel of in-person interactions with your friends. And in a time of extreme uncertainty, it gives control freaks an outlet for their obsessive behavior. You can control almost all things about your environment. Which plants grow where, how developed your island gets, and even how many villagers are allowed to populate. I have seen some islands remain serene paradises and others transform into bustling cities. No activities in the game are mandatory, though interesting little side adventures abound.

Control freaks can feel empowered by ignoring them. Those seeking a daily sense of accomplishment can also delight in constant grinding — fishing, chopping wood, catching bugs — all relatively easy and handsomely rewarded. With the addition of swimming and diving in the July software update, you can now troll the seas around your island as well. And no one gets in your way. The villagers make no decisions which affect you — you can even give them clothes to change what they wear. Some are annoying eyesores, but you don’t get penalized for ignoring them.

Animal Crossing also offers an activity which has become rare in our times: going places. On your island, you can visit the general store, the tailors, neighbors’ houses (without masks–though they are available for purchase!), the beach, even other islands. Sitting still has never felt so mobile.

Going places provides an escape and today I experienced my first Animal Crossing wedding where two of my friends built a beautiful island escape with all the wedding amenities one can only dream of. This island had a welcome station, a separate area to drop off your gifts, and pick up party favors. The venue had a central location that lead to the bridal suite, restrooms, ceremony room, honeymoon suite, and reception area. In the reception area you can virtually serve the normal foods you would normally have at a wedding. Oh! Attire…if you wore it at a wedding, the game has it.

The only limit was the number of guests. The total number of people on the island is 8.

This has to be one of the best weddings I attended this year. I wonder what’s next for the world of Animal Crossing.

Edel Alon
Edel Alon
Edel-Ryan Alon is a starving musician, failed artist, connoisseur of fine foods, aspiring entrepreneur, husband, father of two, geek by day, cook by night, and an all around great guy.


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