Animal Crossing craze takes off during pandemic

Animal Crossing craze takes off during pandemic

Ethan Baggett, Reporter

 It’s clear to see that 2020 has not been the greatest year for us so far. Since spring break last year we’ve been stuck in our homes left to our own devices on how to manage our time and wait out the pandemic. One of the popular trends that came out of  being stuck at home is the game Animal Crossing.

Animal Crossing is a series that started its debut back in 2002 on the GameCube and follows a simple concept of living in a village with a group of animal villagers and completing tasks to make money and spend it to help design your home, town, or smaller things like clothes.

“Animal Crossing is pretty much just a game about building bridges for animals to cross,” senior David Lee said. “It’s literally in the title.”

Animal Crossing gained most of its popularity from its release on the Wii, also known as Wild World, which sold 11.75 million copies and its 3DS release, also known as New Leaf, which sold 12.45 million copies.

“I’ve been into the series and playing the games since seventh grade whenever I got Animal Crossing: New Leaf as a gift,” senior Oliva Moreno said.

The series skyrocketed recently this year with its release of New Horizons, which was released on the Nintendo Switch, that sold a whopping 26.7 million units as of August 6, 2020 and had a record breaking first month when it released back in March, selling over 5 million copies. With these sales it is plain to see that Animal Crossing grew in popularity like crazy and this brings an interesting question. Did the pandemic help promote the game? 

I most likely would have still bought and played the game if the pandemic didn’t happen,” Lee said. “But I do think the pandemic is what led to my sister and brother buying the game, which was fun since we could bond over it.”

New Horizons has been a monumental success for the series sales wise, but is the game actually fun?

“I like the game a lot, though it does feel like there is a lot they could add, but I do think the game came out at the perfect time,” Lee said.  “While I haven’t checked on my island in a while, I know I could easily do so and it’s nice having that kind of accessibility.”

Animal Crossing has always been one of Nintendo’s weaker series compared to their other games such as Mario or Zelda. So it’s strange to see the game be enjoyed by people overall, but what about the perspective of another person?

“I’ve had a lot of fun playing it so far and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon,” senior Sam Maness said. “My favorite aspect is the copious amount of money you can make, but my least favorite is probably the ugly villagers.”

Animal Crossing games have always had a really similar format and they never really made big changes, aside from New Leaf that let you become mayor and design the town more. So how does New Horizons add to this format?

“The towns in New Horizons are way more customizable than the other games like New Leaf,” Maness said. “You are able to move houses, stores and even the ground and waters itself. You can also place furniture and other stuff outside as well.”

There has been an argument about which Animal Crossing game is the best. Many people sided with New Leaf before New Horizons came out because of how much it added to the series, but now that New Horizons is out it seems like it’s becoming one of the new favorites. However, there have been some negatives with the games in how it got rid of some things.

“There were special villager interactions they removed, such as the fortune cookies that you could buy and depending on what fortune you get, you could trade it for a prize,” Lee said. “There were also some special villagers that are gone, such as Katie and the special Amiibo villagers like Ganandorf from Zelda. Nintendo is slowly throwing in more and more stuff, so we could see a return of this stuff.”

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is still growing in popularity to this day and it doesn’t seem to be stopping either. Nintendo is constantly announcing new events that are going to come soon to the game and there is even a Christmas event coming up. It is a very likely chance that New Horizons will keep selling and maybe one day it will even reach the top of the best selling Nintendo Switch games.