Right now, the world is doing its best to change and adapt very quickly. Many of us are working from home and self-isolating, and some, like France and Spain, are even under strict government-sanctioned quarantine. At the exact moment that all of this change hit its boiling point, a little game was released on the Nintendo Switch which has offered us all so much relief from our isolation, anxiety, and fear. It’s a game that provides routine, stability, and friendship. There may not be a better-timed release in video games history than this one. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the medicine you need if you’re self-isolating right now.
So, what does Animal Crossing: New Horizons offer those of us who are staying at home right now? Well, the Animal Crossing series already has a history of providing comfort and relieving mental health issues in its players. It’s a series about arriving in a warm and welcoming new place and building not only a home, but an entire community there. It’s a game about having a daily routine, about making friends with adorable and quirky animals, about building your home and having responsibilities that feel important but not burdening.
As we self-isolate and try our best to stay safe, we are sacrificing our social lives and personal connections. Fortunately, Animal Crossing: New Horizons provides us a delightful virtual community where we can build new friendships with wonderfully written characters. These friends and neighbors have their own issues, favors to ask of you, and goals in mind. They’re each individual and varied people who you look forward to checking in with each day and helping out with their plans and problems.
Many of us are also saying goodbye to the routines we have come to enjoy and find stability in—our routines of commuting to work, taking lunch breaks, shopping on weekends, hitting the bar with friends, and everything else that keeps us grounded and connected to the world. All of this is shifting and making us feel untethered or restless. What’s the solution? You guessed it: Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Your New Routine
This game is designed to be played daily for weeks, months, or even years. It’s a game with no endpoint, no stresses, just a routine that you can carve out for yourself and stick to each day. For those of us missing the predictability and stability of a daily routine, Animal Crossing: New Horizons offers an alternative that’s more fun than the one you’ve had to let go of. You’ll be helping washed-up sailors on the beach, building your home and filling it with knick knacks, catching wasps and chasing tarantulas, fishing in the river, opening a museum, and even terraforming the landscape itself. Welcome to your new routine.
As for longevity, estimates for how long international borders are up and quarantines are in effect have been predicted to last at least a month and possibly up to and even beyond a year. For some of us, that bleak reality means having less income and a lot less stability in our lives. If you’re looking to buy one single video game that can last a year and provide you a good reason to play each and every day, that game is Animal Crossing: New Horizons. For $60 you get an ever-growing island community of people to befriend and tasks to complete. This game offers several hours of play each day, and that daily loop can last beyond a year without becoming stale or predictable. It’s a charming and unique gameplay loop that never gets old.
There’s so much comfort and stability to be found in this game, and it isn’t just something that can “waste” your time. That’s never a nice way to look at the precious time we have on Earth, anyway. Instead, Animal Crossing: New Horizons feels like a valuable use of your time. It’s considerate, soothing, comforting, and good for your mental health.
If you’re worried about the in-game community of fictional characters failing to be enough of a substitute for real friends and real-world connections, fear not. Convince your friends around the world to pick this game up and build their own island community. Then, every single day, you can log in and fly your character over to their island or invite them over to see what your new home looks like. Everything you can do alone in the game can also be shared with others.
To make this even better, if you’re self-isolating with family, a spouse, or a roommate, you only need one Switch and one copy of the game. Simply set up a few profiles on your Switch, and each person in your home and create a character to share the same island. If it’s just two of you, share the Joy-Cons and have both of your characters share the same screen. You can play together, fish, dig, and catch bugs. If you’re both equally dedicated, the building of your homes, community, and even the land itself suddenly becomes a team effort. One of you plants flowers for the other to wake up to. It is adorable.
Aside from everything else, Animal Crossing: New Horizons offers a lovely place to live while you weather this storm of self-isolation. It’s a tropical island paradise where soft music plays and the weather changes with the seasons. Night follows day, and life on the island goes on. It grows and changes day after day, offering new surprises and new tasks to complete, as well as that same old reliable routine. Everything you need to survive these trying times (aside from food, money, and toilet paper) can be found in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.