Animal Crossing Creates Cathartic Challenge

The Nintendo video game “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” released on March 20, has become an escape for bored students stuck indoors.

“New Horizons” is the 5th installment of the Animal Crossing series and has surged in popularity on social media sites such as TikTok and Instagram since social-distancing restrictions began. Animal Crossing is a life-simulation game where players build and design their own paradise island while being surrounded by the game’s iconic anthropomorphic animal characters.

For many students who are feeling particularly restless as a result of quarantine, the game provides a sense of productivity. Players earn points by completing stress-free tasks.

“The game is designed to be time consuming, but never in a way that’s irritating, keeping people engaged for long periods of time where they might not have something else to do,” said junior Merrit Lum. “The game is enjoyable to me because it’s built around catharsis and you always have something to do, like redecorating your house, doing daily chores, or just talking to your neighbors.”

It’s notable that Animal Crossing is not restricted to the Gen Z audience, since it’s enjoyed by a large number of adults and parents too. Attendance Technician Stephanie Sliwinski has been a fan of the game since it’s debut. “I’ve played all the Animal Crossing titles. It’s fun to play during quarantine because you make daily progress on your island and you feel productive,” said Sliwinski.

1 important feature of the game is that it allows people to visit each other on their islands. “I really miss my friends and social interaction in general, so I appreciate the alternative of how the game lets you visit other people and do tasks together,” said junior Jocelyn Poon.

“People have done everything from hosting birthday parties to going on dates in their virtual towns. The game’s current status on the internet is probably a result of a lot of little quirks about the game that are fun to share around, like weird things you make in the game or posting about your irrational love or hatred for one of your virtual animal neighbors,” said Lum.