I (Finally) Bought Into the Animal Crossing Hype

It’s been over five months since Nintendo released the latest installment in the Animal Crossing series: Animal Crossing: New Horizons. While I didn’t buy a Switch™ until last month, it’s hard to say I missed the Animal Crossing hype that began at the start of quarantine. Despite it being the end of summer and school starting up again, something in me was eager to experience the worldwide phenomena that I had missed out on— a sort of FOMO feeling that I couldn’t scrounge up the money in my wallet to pay for earlier. When I finally did manage to purchase a Switch, albeit $50 over retail price (thank you, laws of supply and demand) and two games, I was hesitant to spend the extra $50 for a game I may not play. Was it still worth the hype even after half a year?

The short answer: yes. 

Here’s the thing: growing up with an older brother, the video games I was surrounded by included Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and, my personal favorite, Super Smash Bros. Don’t get me wrong, these games are absolutely fun (I wouldn’t be able to count the dozens of hours I spent on Mario Kart). Yet I can’t help but feel that they lacked that sense of belonging, the opportunity to immerse myself in my own world. This is where Animal Crossing comes into play. 

While the entire series revolves around creating your own island and embarking on day-to-day activities (digging up fossils, chopping wood, etc.), the recent release allows players to forget about their deteriorating surroundings. Though it may not be the best idea to completely disregard the pandemic by playing a video game, Animal Crossing allows people to handle stay-at-home orders and social distancing rules with ease—because who wouldn’t want to build their own (Isabelle-rated!) five-star village and wake up everyday to new fruits, islanders, and, most importantly, money? You play at your own pace with no end goal or mission — just have fun! 

nintendo switch console with cat nearby Photo by Mister Mister from Pexels

I know I’ll still play Mario Kart and Smash to soothe my competitive persona (and the combined $100 I spent on the games). If I ever find myself wanting to delve into a different world, though, I know Animal Crossing can do just that. Sure, as the years go on and life (hopefully) goes back to normal, our usage of the game will ultimately decrease. For the time-being, why not take a risk and become the mayor of your very own town? If you’re hesitant about playing the game yourself, think of it as The Sims but a thousand times more adorable. 

P.S: For anyone who would like to visit my (currently barren) island, it’s called Styleville.