New Animal Crossing game entertains students during social distancing

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In the midst of this pandemic, many have found comfort in playing video games, including the newly released Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This long-awaited addition to Nintendo’s Animal Crossing series arrived as kids were stuck in their homes, unable to come to school due to social distancing measures implemented in New York in mid-March. Though the game is only available for those who own a Nintendo Switch console, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has brought much-needed relief from isolation.  

Animal Crossing: New Horizons brings players to a whole new world, as with the other games within the Animal Crossing series.  Players have the freedom to do whatever they choose on their island. Activities include building and decorating personalized dream houses, collecting over 100 fish and insects, becoming friends with the animals in your village, or even hosting a concert with an Animal Crossing favorite: K. K. Slider.  

Sophomore Cate Nguyen said that in the midst of this pandemic, Animal Crossing “allows me to pass time in a fun and creative way,” but the motivation came after realizing it was gaining popularity. “One of my close friends told me that the game was really fun, and her entire family was playing it,” she said. The addictive nature of the game has led senior Samantha Liu to be “motivated to wake up before 12, as there are certain things you can only do before 12.” On the upside, the social and creative aspect of the game in a time of isolation has led her to “spend 100 hours enhancing my creativity rather than just being on social media.” 

Although Animal Crossing: New Horizons was highly anticipated, the consequences of the pandemic limited Nintendo’s intended rollout.  Although the game is available digitally, many video game stores had to cancel many in-person promotional events to adhere to social distancing measures. Additionally, since the game is available only to players with a Nintendo Switch console, it may be difficult to enjoy for those that have not yet purchased one or are unable to do so. 

However, those that have experienced the newest release enjoy its ability to bring back a sense of normalcy.  Freshman Jeffery Jun said that Animal Crossing is “another way to connect [with] friends” without being able to see them in person. Michelle Ho added, “[Animal Crossing] distracts me from the world outside and I lose track of time whenever I play [while] relieving my stress.” 

Although our opportunities to interact socially are limited by the measures of social distancing, the opportunities to connect with others and find a new hobby are endless.  Whenever you’re feeling bored during this time, or feel overwhelmed by the endless news of the pandemic, Animal Crossing: New Horizons leads to a mind of a state of enjoyment and relief for many.