Animal Crossing: The Only Game Saving People During Quarantine

Animal Crossing: The Only Game Saving People During Quarantine

Devin Wilkes, Editorials editor

Imagine living on your own whimsical island paradise in which money falls out of trees and a talking raccoon is your landlord.

While we are living through one of the most chaotic times in modern history, that is precisely the kind of escape that has helped so many people cope. And not only in their fantasies, but in the realm of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. New Horizons is the latest edition in the Animal Crossing series, which has been around since 2001. Released just over a month ago on March 20th, the game could not have come at a more perfect time, making it a global phenomenon. 

Animal Crossing is not like most video games; there are no high scores, bloody scenes, or final bosses. Instead, players play the role of a human on an island populated by cute and pudgy anthropomorphic animals. The object of the game is to build a growing and prosperous society by placing shops, bridges, and other dwellings for its residents. The pace of this game is relaxed, as players can play as much or as little as they want on any given day. 

New Horizons has sold more than 5 million copies worldwide since it debuted, according to an analysis by Super Data. According to the Nielsen Report, the game has broken the digital game sales records previously held by Call of Duty: Black Ops III, and has matched the combined first month sales of Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Pokemon Sword and Shield. Despite the shutdown of many physical stores due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is still number one in digital sales.

Since its release, the game has also resulted in over 38 million tweets acknowledging its ability to provide a sense of both comfort and social connection during a time of solitude and struggle. One person tweeted, “I’m so happy I’m experiencing #ACNH as my 1st ever Animal Crossing game. It’s so cute and sweet and is genuinely comforting after being so stressed for so long.” 

“There’s no nastiness. There’s no violence that exists. They get absorbed into the day-to-day things without the real world”, says game design lecturer Romana Ramzan. “It’s like you’ve always wanted but can’t get.”

To play Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you would need a Nintendo Switch, an internet connection, and a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. You can either buy the game digitally in the Nintendo eShop for $59.99 or from retail stores like Gamestop, Amazon, or Best Buy for both the physical and digital versions.