Escape from fear into a cutesy island paradise in “Animal Crossing: New Horizons”

Being stuck indoors for long periods of time “sucks”–in the words of most high schoolers. With the uncertainty outside, it’s easy to let fear control your life.

There are ways to combat this though. One way is to play video games and one certain video game has taken the world by storm.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Animal Crossing poster that displays several characters in the game.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a life simulator where you get your very own island to build up and decorate how you like.

“Escape to a deserted island and create your own paradise as you explore, create, and customize in the Animal Crossing: New Horizons game. Your island getaway has a wealth of natural resources that can be used to craft everything from tools to creature comforts.”

The two main NPCs (Non-player characters) Isabelle (left) and Tom Nook (right).

The game came out on March 20th, 2020, only a week into digital learning for students at Cherokee and at the start of most people’s new quarantined life.

The game ended up selling 1.88 million copies during the first three days and thats only in Japan. These numbers don’t count worldwide sales or even digital sales.

New Horizons surpassed Pokémon Sword and Shield and even Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s three-day sale record.

A group of players chilling on an island.

That’s impressive seeing this is a game about cute anthropomorphic animals living on an island.

What makes New Horizons so appealing and why do so many flock to the game?

It’s really just a chores simulator with the bonus of paying off your debt to a raccoon (or a tanuki, if you want to go by the original Japanese version).

The rise of New Horizons will forever be linked to the Coronavirus. As people are recommended to stay home to protect themselves and others, New Horizons has offered a little ‘fake life’ in this time of crisis.

Two players getting ready to board a seaplane.

“There is no kidnapped princess or planet on the brink of war, but you get to go outside, which is even better.” Kyle Buchanan said.

The New York Times

Taking on these small and almost mindless tasks is relaxing when the news talks about cases and deaths. Even if it’s just for a little bit, you can escape into a reality where COVID-19 doesn’t even exist.

“Giving yourself time to engage in an activity you enjoy can be a helpful distraction in a world full of uncertainty, and finding those activities that are fun and meaningful for you is definitely helpful in this crisis.” Dr. Regine Galanti author of Anxiety Relief for Teens said.

A poster for Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Right now, more than ever, video games are so important to one’s mental health. So wether it’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons or Minecraft or even Doom: Eternal. Take some time in your day to day life to escape reality. It might make you feel a little less trapped.

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