As the world has rapidly changed due to the COVID-19 crisis, human connection has become increasingly more difficult to come by, and when it does in small doses online, it can’t compare to the intimacy of real-life interactions and touch. However, with the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH), Nintendo is slowly but surely stitching parts of the world back together with therapeutic gameplay and the ability to visit friends in an adorable utopia.
In the world of ACNH, players are whisked off on a getaway vacation package and placed on a deserted island (with Tom Nook, a tanuki who manages the Residential Services, Timmy and Tommy Nook who are speculated to be Tom’s sons or nephews, and 2 randomly selected villagers) where they can customize it to their heart’s content.
With it’s charming character and world design, coupled with full customization, the game provides a much needed escape for players trapped at home. Life gets dull fast when you’re trapped between the same 4 walls of your real room, so ACNH lets you travel outside, and with very little effort, create a space that feels better catered to your desires.
In addition to working on your own island, ACNH allows players (with a Nintendo Switch Online membership) to visit their friends’ islands. In the past couple weeks, this has proven to be ACNH’s most well-loved feature. Thousands of heartwarming stories have flooded the internet about loved ones hosting gatherings and celebrations in ACNH that they can’t in real life. Take, for example, Twitter users @acnewsar and @momo_obrien, who went on dates with their boyfriends after being separated due to social distancing:
There are also people holding weddings in ACNH, such as this couple on Reddit whose friends held a surprise wedding for them on an island:
Birthdays have also been celebrated on ACNH as seen by Twitter user @OfficialLeels hosting a party for her boyfriend, and Twitter users @Skillton, @lillieUIVR, @rubyannem, and @RenderTramp hosting a birthday party for their friend’s (@Lex_mate) daughter, Sophia:
While much of the world seems to be in a dark place, gems such as ACNH have proven just how powerful digital connections can be. While everyone is itching to go hug their friends, family, and loved ones in real life, ACNH provides a bridge that can temporarily cross that gap until quarantine is over.