Escaping to New Horizons during the pandemic


Illustration by Alex Hanks

Ana Cecilia Martinez, Copyediting Coordinator

While the world has been in quarantine, most individuals have, hopefully, been stuck at home, wondering what to do with the excessive amount of time they now have. That is, those who do not own Animal Crossing: New Horizons are the ones plagued with too much time on their hands.

Released at the beginning of quarantine on March 20, New Horizons is the eighth installment in the Animal Crossing franchise and has received positive reviews because of the wholesome and entertaining playtime the game has to offer. The combination of quarantine and the massive success of the game has led to the Nintendo Switch being sold out in most parts of the country. Despite its hefty $60 price tag, New Horizons has also been sold out throughout the nation, with online orders estimated to ship over two weeks after being placed.

Those lucky enough to own both the game and the console have been trying to stretch their days to fit in playing time. If you have a paid subscription to a Nintendo Network account, you can visit friends’ islands via internet access, something most lonely players find comforting in isolating times. Even without the subscription, gamers are able to visit other islands using Nook Miles to purchase flight tickets, make virtual friends in-game and travel to friends’ islands if you are both on the same internet access so you get a change of scenery from your island without having to pay.

Throughout the pandemic, New Horizons has successfully kept its players, including me, at home. I have played less than a handful of games in the past but have recently found myself reaching for the Nintendo Switch I borrowed from my brother to do my daily rounds. Among the many, many daily tasks in the game are gathering supplies, traveling, donating creatures and fossils, selling seashells, talking with neighbors and doing any quests that may be assigned by Tom Nook, the fan-hated raccoon who runs the island you live on.

With all the tasks players are faced with, it’s easy to see why so many people have scoured the internet to find a copy of the game and a Switch. With news and social media constantly reporting on the grim news surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, New Horizons offers players a positive distraction from the tragic circumstances they are faced with and gives them hope to someday, hopefully soon, show off their islands to their close friends in person.