Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The Coronavirus has taught us how to 'shelter in place' [SIP].  In its simplest form, it means to seek safety within the domicile one already occupies. During a pandemic with an infectious agent posing a significant risk of death or severe illness such as the Coronavirus, authorities have recommended "Sheltering in Place" for the general population, especially for segments of the population at high-risk.

Not an apple a day . . .

The critical issue with SIP is its 'forced isolation' requirement. While some may have family members to engage with to ease the pain, others may be totally alone.

Covid-19 seems to have happened overnight. This big blue marble we occupy with 330 million others became a very lonely place overnight. Even when we forage for the necessities of life, we're told to keep our distance [6 feet at minimum].

So what do we do?

There are games we can play to whittle away the hours, but most of the ones we own may be old hat, or too competitive to soothe our frayed nerves. So for those who've found the digital game Animal Crossing: New Horizons, this just might be what the doctor ordered.

Founder, Savior Katsuya Eguchi

Katsuya Eguchi (born May 15, 1965) is a Japanese game designer, producer, and deputy general manager at Nintendo Entertainment Planning & Development. He is known as the creator of the Animal Crossing series. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is just one of 8 in a series.

Mental Floss writes that "Animal Crossing was inspired by Eguchi’s experiences...when he was a 21-year-old graduate who’d taken the decisive step of moving from Chiba, where he’d grown up and studied, to Nintendo’s HQ in Kyoto."

Prescient in many ways to today's predicament, Eguchi wanted to recreate the feeling of being alone and how we would fend for ourselves while engaging with the various animals the game provides along our journey.

Differing from other digital games

Eguchi created a game that is both interactive and open-ended. In it the "player character" is a human who lives in a village inhabited by various anthropomorphic animals, carrying out various activities such as fishing, bug catching, and fossil hunting. The series is notable for its extensive use of the video game console's internal clock and calendar to simulate the real passage of time.

"Eguchi wanted to recreate the feeling of being alone in a new town, away from friends and family," noted Mental Floss. This mirrors the state of a lot of Americans at this crucial point in our history.

Medical Masks, Digital Accessory

The medical mask has become a worldwide symbol of the malicious COVID-19 disease and its subsequent pandemic. In the game, the player and his animals flock to an island where hard work is rewarded. Basically, it takes the place of our work and its rewards in the real world,

But despite New Horizons’ reputation as a reprieve from the pandemic, one of the most popular add-ons of this iteration is the wearing medical masks, a sad reminder of the borders that exist beyond the on/off button.

'Animal Crossing' For Those Sheltering In Place During COVID-19

Other Reminders

Face masks aren’t the only reminder as to how the year 2020 has infiltrated Nintendo’s staycation environment. Players also construct signs that remind villagers to wash their hands. They also can share media alerts as to how man can flatten the curve of the virus.

“That and social distancing seem to have been pretty successful in curbing the spread of [COVID-19], so I kind of wanted to encourage more people to think about mask[ing] up, if supply is available in their area,” notes one of the game's spokespersons.

PETA hopes the game encourages players to treat animals ethically. "By populating your island with animals such as sheep, deer, and rabbits who have strong personalities, Nintendo is reinforcing the important fact that animals are individuals," PETA writes.

So how many of you are going to download this game? Or, how many are already playing the game? Comment below your experiences -- would like to hear your feedback?


Primary Source: Animal Crossing: New Horizons