Quarantined with Animal Crossing

The weeks immediately following the Illinois stay-at-home order were, admittedly, some of the hardest. Some of us spent much of the time working on our own personal projects such as cleaning, picking up a new hobby or even getting through our backlog of books. Still, there was that empty hole residing in some of us with the sudden lack of friends. It was by a stroke of luck, or even planning, that Nintendo released one of its biggest games of the year: Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

            The premise of the game is that you are a newcomer who has decided to travel to a deserted island in order to fix it up and bring other animal villagers there, making it into a thriving community. You can change the island however you want, decorate your house, dig for fossils, visit other deserted islands and pay off your very own loan – how realistic! In addition to inviting your friends and family over, you can catch bugs and fish, dive for sea creatures and host whatever events you desire.

            Arguably, it is one of the most perfect games to play together during these unpredictable times, because we are able to imagine ourselves at the beach with our friends. Some people have even taken it a step further and created fake graduation ceremonies, because many of us were not able to experience that due to cancellations – much to the dismay (or joy) of many people. There had even been tales of having Animal Crossing work meetings. However, the validity of those claims has yet to be confirmed. Either way, there is no doubt that many people have hosted birthday parties and even actual dates – I know I have!

            Although Animal Crossing might have been the most publicized game to show friends enjoying one another’s company remotely, it was not the only game for friends to help each other get through the COVID-19 situation. Frankly, I would argue that it was one of the games best showing how determined we are to both respect quarantine and find a way to celebrate the moments lost to the pandemic. During the entire quarantine, the Nintendo Switch had been bought out and resold for a whopping $500 or more, as opposed to its normal $300 – and good luck getting your hands on any “in stock” items once they restock.

            Even though this was not the ideal way to celebrate such moments, it was still one of the safest ways in which friends were able to get together without the risk of spreading COVID-19. Hopefully in the future, when the pandemic has passed, we are able to recreate the moments we have lost and actually celebrate some of our greatest achievements without being behind a screen.