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Why You Should Be Playing “Animal Crossing” (Even If You’re Not a Gamer)

When I first heard the news that there would be a new Animal Crossing game releasing in March, I had to read the announcement twice and make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. As someone whose video gaming experience pretty much started and ended with Wii Sports, Animal Crossing was a name that had been pushed into the depths of my childhood memory, only to be resurfaced with the announcement for New Horizons

But as soon as I heard the news, memories of playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf on my Nintendo 3DS came flooding back. Picking cherries, building a tiny but well-furnished house, negotiating with a raccoon who has remarkable public speaking skills—it was all there.

AC house
Mia Jackson

At first, though, the idea of picking up where my 12-year-old self had left off wasn’t all that tempting. After all, I didn’t have the (expensive) Switch I would need to play, and I really hadn’t touched a video game since I’d given up trying to beat my high score in Just Dance IV

Then I started seeing the excitement build on Twitter for New Horizons, and I began talking to my friends who showed me the half-hour long trailer, which I watched with intense nostalgia. Yet the hefty price tag of nearly $300 for a Switch and the game itself still had me hesitating. 

Then, of course, we all ended up homebound for the foreseeable future with nothing to do but online assignments and the occasional Pinterest recipe, so I quickly found myself standing in a Target holding a recently purchased Nintendo Switch Lite, ready to relive my childhood. 

And let me just say, about a week into the game, that I have no regrets. Even if you’re someone who doesn’t own any of the popular consoles or never usually likes to play video games, Animal Crossing is a game that has something for everyone. It’s also especially suited for the stress- and boredom-filled situation many of us are currently in. So, here are some reasons you should consider jumping on the Animal Crossing: New Horizons bandwagon:

1. Need to escape your IRL house and surroundings for a bit?

On your Animal Crossing island, everything is to your making. You can custom design your character, clothes, home and even the geographical shape of your island. With updated graphics and adorable artwork, it’s really easy to turn on your Switch and feel transported to a different place entirely. 

AC waterfall
Mia Jackson

2. Did you miss out on your Spring Break vacation?

Good news! New Horizons is set in a beachy, deserted island that gives you all the good vibes of a tropical getaway. 

AC beach
Mia Jackson

3. Do you miss visiting your friends and hanging out at their houses?

Through the Dodo Airport (and a Nintendo Online Membership), you can chill on your friend’s island, and even snag some of their valuable fruit or other resources to build your own collections.

AC airport
Mia Jackson

4. Feeling the need to get a little closer with nature while you’re stuck inside?

All of the activities in Animal Crossing are things I would normally never be capable of—much less actually want to take part in—in real life, yet they’re addictively fun in digital format. My character has already earned thousands of “bells” for fishing, catching insects, digging up fossils, collecting seashells, chopping wood and picking fruit. Pretty much all the outdoor activity you could want without ever having to leave your bed. 

But more seriously, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a happy pastime that’s helped a lot of people—including myself—get through pretty tough global circumstances. Even if you don’t find your escape on a tropical island with an array of friendly animal neighbors, I do hope that you’ve found something to make each day at home a bit brighter. 

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Mia Jackson is a sophomore at Florida State double majoring in English (Editing, Writing, and Media) and Art History. She currently works as an editorial assistant, research assistant, and writing tutor. In her free time, she can be found watching Stranger Things, drinking an excess of chai lattes, and reading fantasy novels.
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