Animal Crossing and coping

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The popularity of Animal Crossing has led to a shortage of Nintendo Switch games.

Alex Plaskon, News Editor

Times are tough right now. With most of the country on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people of all ages are looking for ways to get through it. On March 20th, shortly after the pandemic shut down many workplaces and most school systems, Nintendo released its highly anticipated, newest game: Animal Crossing: New Horizons, for the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite gaming systems. Although the Animal Crossing franchise has been around since 2001, releasing a new game every 3-5 years since, many people haven’t tried it until now. With nothing else to do, many are turning to this game as a way to escape during this tough time, including myself.

I played Animal Crossing: Wild World on my Nintendo DS back in 2006. Although I don’t remember most of it, playing this game gives me and many others a sense of comfort and nostalgia. The game is simple: create your own community and make friends with animal “villagers” who live with your character in the game. In New Horizons you choose to live on a beautiful deserted island, in which you complete tasks to build it into your perfect community. Players can travel to each other’s islands through online play. Hailey Brito, a junior at East Lake, says she plays it “because I can live in a perfect world without flaw vicariously through my character.” My island, Pear Island, was named after my native fruit. Although the game seems very simple in concept, it’s highly addictive and great for all ages. Anyone can relate to wanting to fish on a peaceful beach, meet and interact with cute animals, and craft items to make their island towns beautiful.

The release of this game, combined with the pandemic, has also created a Nintendo Switch shortage worldwide. Many people have even bought the system simply because they want to play the latest version of Animal Crossing. Overall, this game has helped me and many others cope with the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic. While our real world is dealing with the unimaginable, players are using this as a relaxing escape from the tough realities of everyday life.