"Animal Crossing: New Horizons" screenshot of my character posing with animal villagers for a picture.

How “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is Stopping Cabin Fever

By Lauren Rabalais
Web Content Contributor

Nintendo’s newest Animal Crossing game couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. While the real world is standing still with people staring out their windows, “New Horizons” invites players to explore and design their own deserted island.

“New Horizons” is all about befriending different animal villagers, who are your neighbors on your private island. In the game, you fish, catch bugs, farm materials, design homes, build town amenities and run back and forth on the sand, desperately searching for those darned manilla clams.

“New Horizons” is undoubtedly peaceful, even when Tom Nook is breathing down your neck for you to pay your loans. And peace is exactly what we need right now.

"Animal Crossing: New Horizons" screenshot of my character posing in my in-game house.
Posing in my decorated house! Screenshot by Lauren Rabalais via “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.”

Animal Crossing is, and always has been, very uncomplicated in the best way. “New Horizons” rewards you for completing simple tasks with Nook Miles and Bells, which act as the games two forms of currency. The game also, as a real-time life simulator, encourages players to take the game slow, maybe to play an hour or so a day.

While it might be your first instinct— and it was definitely mine— to play the game as fast as you can, I grew to realize the beauty of saving a small set of tasks to do every day. In a time where nearly the entire country has no sense of normalcy and schedules are thrown by the wayside, “New Horizons” provides players with a daily routine. It was so much nicer than I thought it would be to come back to the game and have something in my life that is consistent.

Another reason why “New Horizons” is so great for self-isolation is the online play. In the game, you can open your borders to the public by sharing a one-time code with other players. You can invite your Nintendo friends, or you can open your island to the world online.

I opened my borders the other day, and I had a lovely time watching strangers steal all my fruit and write all over my message board. It was quite charming.

Of course, in this new era of gaming, online play is no new feat; hundreds of games currently host online play! I’d say, however, that there is a fundamental difference between playing Overwatch online versus playing “New Horizons” — in Animal Crossing, there are no stakes, and especially no murder weapons.

There was a moment online when everyone on my island sat around the campfire and played their instruments to the tune of “All Star” by Smash Mouth. Even though we could message each other, that funny, non-verbal communication was really special.

So, all in all, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” has been a fantastic installment in my social-free life. It gave me the ability to slow down and accomplish something every day while giving me the opportunity to interact with people. I can’t thank Animal Crossing enough for giving me something to hold onto in this trying time.

Featured image screenshotted by Lauren Rabalais via “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.”

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