How Animal Crossing Cured the Quarantine Blues

Imagine building your own village on a deserted island and only worrying about completing menial tasks, like picking fruit and fishing in exchange for rewards. Sounds like a simple way to live, right?

While the world was shut down due to the pandemic, Nintendo Switch users got to create their own world online through Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is part of the Animal Crossing game series that has been around since its first release in Japan on April 14, 2001. The New Horizons series is exclusively for the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite systems.

Since the Animal Crossing: New Horizons release on March 20, 2020, more than 31 million copies of Animal Crossing were sold by the end of 2020. The sustained increase in popularity is no surprise as this was the biggest launch of any Nintendo Switch game, with 11 million copies of the game sold within the first few days of its release.

In terms of mental health, Animal Crossing has been quite effective for those who suffer fromstress, anxiety, and ADHD. One player contributed a post on Reddit in the r/NintendoSwitch community, noting how playing Animal Crossing has helped to reduce their anxiety and manage their ADHD by having something to distract their hands and mind.

According to a study done by Penn State on Animal Crossing usage during the covid-19 pandemic, “an individual’s social interactions and level of playing Animal Crossing prior to the COVID-19 quarantine period led to a higher level of socialization and escapism gratifications playing the game during the first three months of the COVID-19 quarantine period.”

Participating in lighthearted and upbeat in-game activities can help one recover from stress, stabilize mood, and develop a sense of mindfulness. With soothing background music and the dreamy overall look of the game, you can’t help but feel relaxed.

The characters and overall game goals are simply wholesome. There’s no violence, no mission to save anything or anyone, and there’s not much conflict ever. The purpose of the game is just to create an ideal living space for you and your villagers which is why it is the perfect escape for anyone.

A player can customize aspects of the village from where roses grow to where you want to build your home. This is where the game shines, since players have control over every little detail of their island to make it comforting for themselves and their villagers.

In the game, the villagers living on the island who interact with you are all adorable animals.
Each villager has their own catch phrase and tends to have a distinct personality. One popular villager is Apollo the hawk, whose catchphrase is “paw” and has a rather cranky personality.

Unfortunately for long-time Animal Crossing: New Horizons players, Nintendo developers have not mentioned much about a new update, which annoyed several players who vocalized their thoughts on Twitter.

So, players have started creating their own mods term, meaning modifications to keep the game interesting for one another and relevant two years after its release. Mods is the original game file introduced by fans or third parties. One popular mod is the ability to walk on water in the game.