Quarantined gamers find relaxing paradise in Animal Crossing: New Horizons


Abby Jay

Animal Crossing New Horizons has sold over 22 million copies making it the second most popular Nintendo Switch game.

During COVID-19, video gaming has been used by many to get away from their daily problems and escape to a different world. One game that has done particularly well is Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo switch.

New Horizons comes from the Nintendo franchise Animal Crossing, which originated 19 years ago in Japan. Animal Crossing has always enjoyed some popularity, but it has never become as popular and mainstream as some of Nintendo’s more famous franchises until New Horizons was released. 

New Horizons is a simulation game where the player lives in a small city that they can decorate and make their own. Unlike other simulation games, it is a much simpler game to understand. There aren’t tasks required to play the game, making it a game that can be played by people inexperienced with video games. In addition, the game plays in real time, which gives a sense of living in a normal world without the coronavirus.

According to Nintendo, New Horizons is the second highest selling Nintendo Switch game selling over 22 million copies within only six months of release, greatly exceeding Nintendo’s sales expectations. It also appeals to many people that normally are not part of the video game players demographic. Over 40 percent of players are female, and a large portion of players are over 20 years old.

New Horizons has also attracted many celebrities. Alexandria Oscasio-Cortez, a Congresswomen from the New York 14th District, asked fans on Twitter to send her the codes to their islands so that she could visit them in the game. “It was so sweet. Island belonged to a family of three. We exchanged fruit, took pictures, and I signed a bulletin note using my touch screen.” she said on Twitter.

An article by Science Focus also points out that New Horizons appeals to the three desires of people, those being a sense of accomplishment, camaraderie, and freedom. Historically, video games that fulfill all three desires are more successful. 

For its players, New Horizons is a game that came out at the right time. People want to have an experience of community and freedom during their time of being locked up due to COVID-19. For many, New Horizons successfully does just that.