Contrary to what many may believe, but Video Games can be involved in politics. Sometimes indirectly, such as themes or values being touted as the primary message to a games narrative or mechanics. Sometimes though, it is direct.
The latter is what is happening today, as Presidential nominee Joe Biden and his campaign have launched a small initiative to create campaign posters and slogans for use in the ever popular Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
According to The Verge, the Democratic ticket - consisting of former vice president Joe Biden and running mate, Senator Kamala Harris - has created four campaign sign designs for Animal Crossing: New Horizons that players would be free to download for their own islands.
“Animal Crossing is a dynamic, diverse, and powerful platform that brings communities together from across the world. It is an exciting new opportunity for our campaign to engage and connect Biden-Harris supporters as they build and decorate their islands,” Christian Tom, director of digital partnerships for the Biden campaign, said in a statement to The Verge.
The four designs available (with QR codes found in The Verge Article) include the Biden-Harris Logo, the Team Joe Logo, the Joe 'Pride' Logo, and the Aviator Sunglasses Design.
These signs are just the start of a longer-term initiative to use games like Animal Crossing as a platform to try and reach out to potential voters online. This has been a long-term strategy for the Biden campaign since April, around the height of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Now, these efforts are ramping up, according to Tom, with the campaign reaching out to gaming influencers playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons to stream and share the designs online.
“This is just the start of how we plan to engage players ahead of November as we’re already looking forward to rolling out more digital swag, voter education tools, and organizing efforts on Animal Crossing and other platforms,” Tom said.
The Biden-Harris ticket is challenging the current president of the United States, Donald Trump, for the presidency.
This is not the first time Animal Crossing has been tied to overtly political causes. Most famously, in-game Hong Kong protests took place in New Horizons as a criticism against the Chinese government. We also had virtual Black Lives Matter protests and fan-made Trump slogans and clothing. We have also seen prominent politicians, such as Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, play and join other streams on Animal Crossing.
The Biden posters are now officially available for others to download.