‘Animal Crossing New Horizons’; a stay at home vacation


Fair use image by Nintendo Co. Ltd.

Animal Crossing New Horizons has given players all over the world the opportunity to bond and create a new virtual life for themselves amidst a time of social distancing. Junior Emma Wagner and I enjoyed a sweet sunny day at the beach during gameplay.

Olivia Bystrom, Field Reporter

Social distancing has proven to be a tough challenge for people all over the world. Between working from home, distance learning and other changes people have had to make in the last month, the excess free time has left many restless. So, what exactly is there to do when stuck at home? Read a book, do some spring cleaning, or call up a friend. All of these are great ways to keep occupied. When all else fails, though, escaping into a virtual world can be a lovely way to avoid the chaos of the current reality. After a year of delay, Nintendo released Animal Crossing New Horizons on March 20. Unbeknownst to them, they released their game at the perfect time. Sienna Ecker recently started playing New Horizons as her first venture into the Animal Crossing series, and although her older sister played New Leaf, she never bothered with the series until now. With the game gaining a massive fanbase of seasoned and new players upon its release, Sienna said she jumped on the bandwagon after seeing the hype on Twitter and TikTok.

Not only that, a handful of Sienna’s friends did too, and “everyone is pretty much addicted to it,” So I think it’s safe to say the game has become quite the hit. 

Animal Crossing is a cutesy rendition of a life simulator. The plot is simple. The player starts out their journey through the game as a human traveler who has just moved into a town full of animals. As the game progresses, it is the player that gets to shape the world around them through simple everyday tasks like helping their neighbors, shopping, catching and selling bugs and fish to pay for improvements to their town and home. The storyline and soundtrack are full of charm. Freshman Kane Sawyer has logged over 100 hours in the game so far and has put a lot of work into their town’s development, including the museum.

“I would have to say [my favorite part of the game is], the museum. In other games, I always try to find all the collectibles and be somewhat of a completionist or a perfectionist, but I rarely actually succeed with that. But so far in Animal Crossing, I’ve captured every fish and bug you can at this time of the year, and I hope to continue to do that, one day completing my museum,” Sawyer said.

Admittedly, Animal Crossing has been a long time favorite of mine. Ever since I got my first copy of the game, Animal Crossing New Leaf in 2013, I have made it my mission to play every edition of the game to have come out since their initial project for the Gamecube in 2003. Booting up my old system and playing the very first release again has made me realize how far this game has come in 17 years. The graphics are stunningly sharp, and the ability to play either handheld or on a TV is a spectacular option to have. This game can be taken anywhere, or nowhere at all. The game itself is full of endless possibilities, as sophomore Garrett Berkowitz has come to find out. 

“I have to say I was blown away by how open the game was. You can make a lot of choices and really build your own world within the game,” Berkowitz explained.

One thing that saddens me about the game is the loss of many beloved characters that were prominent in the last few versions of the game. The game is designed to have the player feel connected and develop bonds with the characters in it, and saying goodbye to many of the characters from previous games is actually quite disheartening. On top of that, another con is the travel feature. Unlike any previous games in the series, this one requires you to pay for a monthly or yearly Nintendo Online subscription to access online features like visiting your friends’ islands. 

I wish there was a way for people to visit other people’s islands without paying for it. My family now has Nintendo Online, but prior it kind of sucked without it,” Ecker said.

Every game has its flaws, and I personally do not blame Animal Crossing for its paid network features. Requiring a subscription has become pretty standard across all games developed for the Switch. Despite this, though, Animal Crossing truly offers a world of adventure for anyone to enjoy. In New Horizons, there are no rules, no end game, no strategy. That’s why I would recommend it to anyone. Whether someone is a hardcore gamer or a casual player, there is something that everyone is  bound to love about Animal Crossing New Horizons.

I would recommend this game to anyone who is struggling to find something to do during this quarantine. No matter your age, no matter your gender, no matter anything, this game really is for everyone,” Sawyer said.