A nintendo switch piece with blue and red sides sits on a dark marble countertop with a video game screen in the background
Animal Crossing New Horizon is played on a Nintendo Switch. Photo illustration courtesy of Joatseu, pixabay.com

The best distraction

Being locked up at home with no certainty of returning to a regular routine has made most Americans antsy. During this strange time in the country, many people are practicing social distancing, which means deciding which interactions are essential.  

Unfortunately, meeting up with friends isn’t considered essential. The majority of students at Arizona Western College are either teenagers or young adults, so they enjoy integrating social time into their schedules. This aspect of their routine is now greatly reduced for the time being.

Due to the steady growth of technology, many apps and technology-based activities help with the practice of social distancing. For example, Nintendo’s latest release of their game Animal Crossing New Horizons for the Switch console is the closest thing to socializing with friends. 

New Horizons – released March 20, just in time for the U.S. shutdown of institutions and businesses – could be described as a life-simulation videogame with light-hearted visuals. As this is its fifth main series title of the Animal Crossing universe, many loyal fans were excited to get their hands on a copy.

By way of visualizing the game, at the beginning, your avatar arrives on an island. You’re then greeted by a character named Tom Nook, who guides you along a journey to establishing a well-populated vacation island. You’re invited to take creative liberty in designing the island to your liking while collecting fish, fossils and bugs to donate to the island’s museum. It’s up to your imagination and dedication to construct your stylish, unique island.

An interesting aspect of the latest Nintendo Switch game is its continuous gameplay updates. When connected to the Internet, the game follows the current calendar system, so it will participate in holidays such as Easter, Earth Day, Halloween, Christmas and New Year’s. Due to the continuous updates, players will never find themselves losing interest, as they did with the previous games in the series.

One of the many positive attributes of this videogame is its ability to connect with friends whose avatars can invite friends from other islands, up to a limit of eight. This allows friends to interact with one another without breaking the practice of social distancing. 

Throughout the major social media platforms, a community of New Horizons players has graciously shared their experiences of their time on their islands. Many players are now throwing birthday parties hosted on a friend’s island and even simulated graduation ceremonies to follow social distancing practices.

Nintendo’s release, appropriately entitled New Horizons, has been a pleasant distraction and relief for many during the harsh times we’ve been experiencing, not only as a community but on a global scale. Exploring a new island within the Animal Crossing universe may be the next best thing to traveling during quarantine.

Share this article