It’s been a pretty exhausting year. If you’re anything like us, the last few months have simultaneously felt like they’ve dragged on forever, yet also raced by without us achieving anything of note. However, among all the stresses of a pandemic and social distancing, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has offered a wholesome lifeline, keeping us afloat amid stormy seas through the cheer of its villagers, the joy of seasonal events, and a monthly influx of new fish and bugs to catch.
But it’s not just us dodging the storm on a sunny virtual shore. During a year in which both individuals and organizations are struggling to come to terms with the pandemic, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has served as substitute for social interaction, and a much needed breath of fresh air from the usual routine. From talk shows to educational museum tours, these are our favorite examples of Animal Crossing: New Horizons escapism from the last few months.
Hosting a birthday party
Having a birthday alone can really suck. Unfortunately, the last few months have meant most people haven’t really had much of a choice in the matter. While it’s no substitute for sharing the same room as your mates, Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ cheerful surprise parties have been gifting smiles to many, even those who aren’t fans of being the center of attention in real life. And when friends can fly over bearing gifts crafted in their own homes, it’s just about as close as you can get to hosting the real deal.
Dealing with anxiety
When it feels likethe world's going awry and we're isolated from our friends, it's only natural to feel the impact on our own mental health. As our favorite hobby, gaming can serve as a place of comfort to help us calm our busy minds. Back in May, AllGamers' own Morgan Shaver shared how the positivity and routine of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is helping to ease their anxiety on multiple fronts. You can read their article by clicking here.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium tours the museum
The seasonal fish of Animal Crossing: New Horizons have proven to be one of the main attractions to many players, and it’s all to an end of filling out Blathers’ glorious museum. In fact, our favorite night owl’s home for fish was so impressive that real aquariums began to take notice.
Closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Monterey Bay Aquarium took the chance to open the doors to a virtual one instead. Staff members organized several Twitch-streamed tours through the museum, even teaming up with the Field Museum to talk about fossils, fish and more.
The Museum of English Rural Life drops lessons and challenges
So, what do we want you to do?— The Museum of English Rural Life (@TheMERL) March 25, 2020
We'd like you, the player, to design your very own rural smock, and dazzle us it by sharing it to the hashtag #AnimerlCrossing.#AnimalCrossingDesign pic.twitter.com/eqhUAEwySj
It’s not just American institutions getting in on the Animal Crossing action either. The Museum of English Rural Life – perhaps best known online for a photo of an enormous sheep – laid down a challenge for all would-be designers.
Dropping some information on the use of rural smocks throughout history, the MERL challenged AC fans to design their own smocks using the in-game Long-sleeve dress model. Asking anyone who submits to share their inspirations and material choices, they even came up with the incredible #AnimerlCrossing by which to mark them. You can read up on the resulting submissions – which also include said giant sheep – by clicking here.
Museum dates and rates
Taking our love for museums in a more personal direction, our very own editor-in-chief Chris Higgins wrote about how Animal Crossing: New Horizons has allowed his wife and him to go on dates together during what’s been an unarguably tough period of separation. The separation of the Atlantic is nothing when you’ve got Dodo Airlines to zip you to your loved one to each other in an instant. Give it a read by clicking here.
Prefer a more professional approach? We also got a curator from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum to take a stroll through the game’s virtual education center and explain what makes it such a special place on our islands, and the ways it differs from a real museum. You can read the article by clicking here.
Graduation ceremonies with surprising speakers
It was an honor - my very first commencement address! Thank you for the invitation— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 9, 2020
Graduation is a big moment for any student, but recent months haven’t exactly made it easy for anyone to celebrate the end of their education. Thankfully, even if you can’t head to your school or meet up with friends in person, an Animal Crossing island can serve as a fitting substitute. Several student groups have mocked up ceremonies with their pals, but not many managed to get US politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to stop by for a word of support. Contrats, Kevin, but what we really want to know is what AOC’s in-game title is!
Animal Talking with Gary Whitta
Talk Shows have been a staple of US television for a long time now, but the coronavirus pandemic this year put a stop to safely inviting people to share a couch together and have a chat. Thankfully, where the big shows faltered, writer and host Gary Whitta stepped up to the plate to create Animal Talking, a talk show hosted entirely within New Horizons.
Holding several shows a week, Animal Talking has welcomed a frankly ridiculous number of guests, including Elijah Wood, Danny Trejo, Sting, Kevin Smith, T-Pain and many more. If you’d tried to explain this as a concept before 2020 happened, we can’t imagine anyone taking it seriously, yet here we are with a virtual studio proving to be one of the hottest venues in the business.
Reliving memories of better times abroad
Finally, we’re all dreaming of holidays right now, but the prospect of jumping on a plane during a pandemic is somehow struggling to appeal. So while we can’t get away to new sights, Animal Crossing has at least helped us rekindle fond memories of past travels. The recent International Museum Day event was far from the best activity to have reached our virtual shores, but it delivered a brilliant dose of nostalgia for stamp-related hijinks on the other side of the globe. You can read about how the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Stamp Rally brought back memories of Japan by clicking here.
Know of any other brilliant examples of Animal Crossing: New Horizons escapism? Share them with us in the comments below! For more features as well as news and guides, click here to head to the game hub.