A Love Letter to Animal Crossing

Will you be sending a Heart-Shaped Bouquet this Valentine’s Day?

Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released on 20 March 2020. At almost the same time, much of the world began experiencing periods of lockdown and self-isolation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Animal Crossing Diaries project, led by the National Videogame Museum aims to archive and understand how players create their own unique memories and meaningful experiences through Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Over Christmas we launched our Open Call (which is still open), inviting players to submit their stories and experiences of life in lockdown on their in-game island. We’re delighted to say that we’ve received nearly 150 submissions SO FAR! We’ve had photos and images, essays and articles, music, voice recordings, YouTube videos, and zip files with a mixture of all these things! As Valentine’s Day approaches we’d like to share with you some of the declarations of love we’ve received: for the game, for the characters, and for friends and family brought together in Animal Crossing despite self-isolating apart. 

My best friend had brought her Switch to school with her, and I instantly fell in love when she showed me her Animal Crossing island

Oliver Walters-Clift wrote us an essay showing us why they love Animal Crossing. “You can just log on and most of the time you’ll soon be happy, all the villagers are so nice to you and players can always count on a wonderful surprise in the morning”

Sepia photo of 2 Animal Crossing players having tea.
@mrs.valintine gave their best friend a switch just so they could play together ❤️

Ross Keniston told us about how Animal Crossing became a ‘cornerstone’ during isolation. “I love just following my friends around their island as they show off all of the cool areas they’ve spent hours of their time and thousands of Bells creating.”

Screenshot of player with 3 Animal Crossing Villagers getting married
The esteemed pilot Wilbur officiated this polyamourous wedding between Bianca, Mitzy, Raymond and @NoahQuinnsy!

…It puts a smile on my face every time I talk to them and they’re just so happy to see me. I really love all of my villagers

Maddog197x

It’s clear that love is in the air. Since its release last year Animal Crossing has helped many people navigate this ‘new normal’, and provided some consistency and routine in turbulent times. Animal Crossing has also helped people keep in touch, and replaced many in person social activities, from hanging out with friends and family, to dating, and (with the help of the wedding season update) even real life marriages!

Photo of 2 Animal Crossing players sitting at a candle lit table with shooting star overhead
Vincent and their girlfriend on a date

Animal Crossing let me have a date night with my girlfriend who I hadn’t gotten to see for a long time because of covid

Vincent

Now, we want to hear your stories of what it is like to play Animal Crossing during lockdown. Did it help you keep in touch with friends, find love, or provide some much needed social contact? Whatever your story may be, submit it in words, pictures, audio, video, or anything you like at animalcrossing.thenvm.org. The first round of submissions will close on 30th March 2021.