More than one Animal Crossing Tienanmen Square memorial has been organized by Hong Kong-based players in-game after Hong Kong banned public gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Abacus News reports, players have created in-game photos to serve as a memorial to the Tiananmen Square protests. These involve players creating various Custom Designs to communicate their message along with appropriate clothing, placement of furniture, and island villagers.
The virtual vigils echo in-game protests that took place earlier this year; Hongkongers looking to express themselves while under a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic elected to use this Nintendo Switch games as an outlet to communicate their message. Now, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is being used as an outlet by people from Hong Kong once again.
Why is There An Animal Crossing Tiananmen Square Memorial?
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is generally a cute, family-friendly game — so why is it being used to memorialize a tragic part of Chinese history of all things?
The reason behind these virtual memorials largely comes down to a three-pronged problem. Firstly, Hongkongers have been protesting against what they say is increasing Chinese control over their island, a move that would be in violation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration which promises to preserve Hong Kong's autonomy and way of life until 2047.
Adding to the necessity is the Great Firewall of China: any mention of Tiananmen Square or related subjects is banned from being mentioned by the country's nationwide web filters. While more than a few people have figured out how to use VPNs and other methods to get around these filters, it's a constant struggle and not always reliable.
Lastly — and perhaps most critically — the coronavirus pandemic (which started in China, a country that is very near Hong Kong) has resulted in bans of large public gatherings around the world. Last year's Hong Kong vigil had more than 180,000 people attending and that's just not possible in the current climate, necessitating an Animal Crossing Tiananmen Square memorial.
Read more about how the COVID-19 novel coronavirus is affecting the gaming world at our Coronavirus Gaming Convention Cancellations and Game Delays Hub.
What do you think of Hongkongers using Animal Crossing: New Horizons for protests and memorials? Do you think in-game demonstrations like this can have an effect on the real world? Let us know in the comments below!