Marie Rocker was catching butterflies, fishing, paying off her in-game loan and wondering what to do next in her virtual town. She may have socially distanced herself from her friends in real life, but that doesn’t mean she can’t still see them through a video game screen.
Thanks to the new video game, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” players all over the world are finding a way to hangout with their friends online.
“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is a game where players have a virtual island on which all of their neighbors are animals. Each player must work hard in order to build up their island by donating different bugs, fossils and fish to the museum, while also upgrading shops and paying off their house loans to a raccoon named Tom Nook.
In “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” a player can invite up to seven other people to come play with them in their town where they can explore, play minigames and unwind.
Rocker, a senior fashion studies major, has found the game ideal to play during the self-quarantine period. She is constantly doing things in the game that she is not able to do in real life due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“This game came out during the perfect time. I get to see my friends in the game and it makes up for not seeing them in person,” Rocker said. “We have visited each other’s town, played hide-and-seek, attended meteor shower events and have even sent each other gifts through the in-game mail.”
“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” has made the new coronavirus situation a bit better for those who have not had any type of social interaction.
Kayla Roseboro, a senior biology major, found there were others who shared the same interest in the game, connecting with them through game-play.
“I didn’t realize just how many of my friends played ‘Animal Crossing,'” Roseboro said. “Once the game was released, each time I logged onto Instagram I’d see someone’s new post about how excited they were to play it. My friends and I like to visit each other’s islands, trade native fruits and swap furniture items all while we FaceTime or Zoom video chat.”
Due to state officials asking everyone to stay home and only go out for essential business, social distancing has impacted people’s everyday lives and even their mental health. However, like reading a book or making art, people have found “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” to be therapeutic during these hard times.
Andrew D., a senior history major, loves the freedom the game allows its players and sees it as a way to keep distance during the state of the world around us.
“It’s interesting because ‘Animal Crossing’ came out right around the time that social distancing really ramped up,” he said. “It’s difficult to put into words, but the game itself is an amazing distraction from everything. It’s a great way to express yourself and lift your spirits during a time where everyone seems lost.”
As players from all over the world connect to their Nintendo Switch consoles and disconnect from real life, it is fortunate that this game came out in such an uncertain time.
Even though players can only see their in-game characters, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” has helped distract them from the news, given them a daily routine and has also helped them stay in touch with their friends during these uncertain times.