How Animal Crossing saved Lockdown.

The arrival of “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” changed what could have been a very boring quarantine into something else entirely.

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If you follow me on social media then it’s no secret that I’ve been obsessed with Animal Crossing lately. I was eagerly awaiting its arrival for months and it just so happened that it came along at a very, very appropriate time. Thousands of people all over the world have been on lockdown to help prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19.

For those who aren’t well-versed introverts, the lockdown has the potential to cause ‘Cabin fever.’ Extroverts might not be prepared for the sheer amount of effort it takes to be isolated. Honestly, it’s exhausting to be alone and bored all the time. Eventually, you lose interest and motivation to do the things you love. Even if there are books, movies, and video games, everything can start to lose its appeal after a few days on the couch.

The arrival of “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” changed what could have been a very boring quarantine into something else entirely.

There’s no doubt that Animal Crossing has been a diamond among possibly one of the roughest periods of our young lives. It arrived on our Switch screens and in our post boxes at just the right time.

But lets back up a bit.

Just what is Animal Crossing?

Animal Crossing is a social simulation video game published by Nintendo. It first graced our screens in 2001 on the Nintendo 64 and later reissued for the Nintendo Gamecube. It’s since had four other games released for each of the major Nintendo consoles (Nintendo DS, Wii, 3DS, and the switch).

In Animal Crossing you arrive in a foreign land filled with whimsically animal characters to befriend and, sometimes, neglect. You acquire a home from the notorious raccoon, Tom Nook, and work to pay off the loan by selling fruit, items, and more.

Animal crossing may sound like nothing more than capitalism disguised in a cute ‘furry‘ package, and it is to an extent. But it’s also a great way to escape the monotony of everyday life. You can work to fill your home with various items, go shopping with Bells, visit friends, and you may actually pay off your mortgage.

How has it helped my mental health?

Games such as Animal Crossing have always helped me to escape. I find myself losing hours fishing, collecting, talking to villagers and visiting islands. It’s a fun way to pass the time and serves as a welcome distraction when things get rough.

Animal Crossing has also proved an excellent way to keep in touch. I’m not able to see my best friend at the moment for obvious reasons, but we’re able to spend time together in-game! Although there isn’t much to do at the moment aside from visit and shop, we can still go about our daily tasks while we chat over Wattsapp.

Finally, it provides an outlet for creativity. You can change up your hairstyle in an instant, try out some questionable fashion choices and even design your home. New Horizons goes one step further and allows you to customize your island using the brand new build tools! How cool is that?!

Interested in more Nintendo Switch games suitable for young audiences? Check out this post.


How has Animal Crossing: New Horizons helped your mental health?

I spoke to a number of people across varying platforms to get their experience of Animal Crossing. There was an overwhelmingly possible response and I’m unable to display all responses here. However, everyone was in agreement that Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and previous installments of the game, have had a positive impact on their mental health.

Pixie.

“Animal Crossing New Horizons gives me something to look forward to every day. The game is cheerful in nature and can be played with friends whilst you can’t see them in person! Even if you don’t have Nintendo online you have cute islanders to befriend!”

Laura.

“I’ve been glued to it nonstop. It’s really helping my mental health, offers me an escape and I can play online with my family who I’ve not seen in ages.”

Anna Reel (The Reel Anna).

“When my husband bought Animal Crossing, I really didn’t think it would be the kind of game I’d enjoy. But I tried it out with him and I was hooked! It’s such a lovely escape. So cute and wholesome—just what we all could use right now. If you’ve had a rough day and feel unproductive, you can turn on your Switch and get that happy boost to your brain that you need to feel accomplished as you complete simple tasks in the game.

“It’s also a great way to stay connected with people while social distancing. We had started a weekly game night with friends right before all this happened, and I was bummed we couldn’t continue it. But now with this game we’ll be able to all hang out together on our virtual island.”

Hannah (People, places & plates).

“Animal Crossing has been such a positive and welcome experience for me during lockdown. It’s been such a good source of escapism, giving me my own little island that I’ve designed myself to spend time in. I can tune out of the negativity and go there after work which has really helped to relax me. I’ve also found it brilliant for socialising – although I’m not exactly a socialite, I have missed being around people and Animal Crossing has enabled me to keep in touch and socialise with others through island visits and content sharing. I’ve even made new friends through it!”

Nate.

“Animal Crossing has brought Naomi and I closer together. It’s a game we can both take a shared interest in and play together. It feels like a little bit of normality in these times.”

D Trips.

“I have played AC on multiple platforms and luckily got the switch just in time for its release and this pandemic. It is one of my only mental escapes at the moment. Very thankful to have an adorable place to feel productive and explore.”


What about you?

Have you been enjoying Animal Crossing lately? I’d love to hear more about your experience in the comments.

**If you’d like to hang out on AC: NH, feel free to get in touch! I’m always up for visitors.

96 comments

  1. I love it too! I’ve also been playing since wild world and honestly, I’m in love with this game! I get so excited to talk to my villagers and design my town. It’s been a GODSEND during lockdown for me.

  2. I am absolutely obsessed with ACNH! I’ve been playing since Wild World on the DS but this has really been next-level, I love the attention to detail and how cute all the new villagers are! Honestly could go on and on about how Animal Crossing has helped my mental health haha πŸ™‚

  3. I love Rune Factory! The games are amazing. I hope they bring a new one out for the Nintendo Switch! Games like that offer escapism which is much needed at a time like this.

  4. I have not played the game but I did play a similar one. This game sure looks interesting. I will have to check it out.

  5. I feel like I am the only person who hasn’t played Animal Crossing. That being said, I completely understand how playing a video game can help with mental health as it’s an escape and can bring about happiness in trying times. I am curious about the game and may try it at some point. My go-to happy game is Rune Factory 2.

  6. I’ll be writing an article all about the subject of mental health and playing video games soon, but the research is fantastic. Instead of the age-old ‘video games cause violence’, lockdown has proven that it actually helps mental health more than we realise because it keeps our minds occupied.
    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  7. It’s truly an amazing game that just keeps getting better with updates. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

  8. I love The Sims 4! The recent update is amazing (once you’re able to play it)! My partner and I are currently building a castle, and then working on rebuilding all the neighborhoods. Are we mad? Yes. But it’s going to be worth it!

  9. Same! I can’t put it down and I actually get so excited when it comes to playing it. It’s a struggle to get anything done!

  10. I understand not buying a console for one game. Keep an eye out on other games on the switch though. There are some crackers!
    Thank you for reading πŸ™‚

  11. I highly recommend it!
    I’ll be writing another article soon about using games as a means of escape, and how it’s helped many people during lockdown.

  12. It’s quite pricy at Β£46.But it’s cheaper than the Nintendo store! I highly recommend it though if you’re into this sort of game. It’s really helped me to escape over the last few months of lockdown.
    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  13. I swear to you that I have heard a huge amount of people talking about it and I have no idea what is xD

  14. So many of my friends play this game and i feel so left out because I don’t have it!

  15. I’ve never tried Animal Crossing, but I have been playing Sims 4 for a very similar reason. Having joined a FB group where we all talk about the game, share ‘challenges’, find custom content, etc. gives me a great opportunity to connect with others while the game itself is a great escape.

  16. This is the first I’ve heard of Animal Crossing, it sounds fun. I’ve seen a bird one on my apple tv, but I haven’t tried it.

  17. This is such a great game. You can log so many hours into it and not realize it.

  18. I love Animal Crossing. I used to have New Leaf on the 3DS. Like you, it really helps my mental health as it distracts me from things going on in my head and doesn’t require much thinking. I can’t justify buying a Switch just for one game but I love the Pocket Camp version.

  19. Playing games has always been my way of escape, intend to do it more on the phone now, as the kids are using the consoles. Sports games, or fantasy type things I can really Delve into and create something are my go to.

    Heard a lot of good things about animal crossing, definitely tempted to pick it up soon.

  20. I love Animal Crossing and really agree. It’s made lockdown far more barrable.

  21. I think I’m still in my cave here Down Under, coz I don’t know about this game. It sounds cool, and I’m worried I may get addicted to this, hahaha. Thanks for your recommendation. How much it is from Amazon?

  22. I have never played this game but I sure have heard a lot about it.

  23. I love Animal Crossing! I only discovered the game this year as I’d never played it before but it’s heloed so much in keeping me busy while in lockdown. I can understand why so many people love it too. It’s such a good game!

  24. I love Animal Crossing pocket camp. It was truly amazing on mobile. Animal Crossing New Horizons is basically a vaster version of that.
    Thank you so much for popping in and reading! πŸ˜€

  25. It’s an amazing game but I understand a Switch is a heavy investment if you don’t have any other video games to play. It’s our main console next to our PC’s so it’s never off in this house.
    Thank you so much for reading and commenting. x

  26. It’s so addictive! I can hardly wait to get playing it each day. It’s an amazing way to unwind.
    Thank you so much for popping in and commenting πŸ™‚

  27. I love a good horror game! Although not really horror I’m playing Bioshock with my partner at the moment and I LOVE it. I’ve played it before on the Xbox but it’s been a while. Whatever distracts you is fine by me!
    Thank you for popping in and reading pet πŸ˜€

  28. I use my computer alot for creative work too. But it’s nice to get away and chill on the sofa with a good game!
    Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

  29. YES! I caught loads of sharks too because June is officially shark season in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s so much fun.

  30. Definitely recommend it for keeping kids and adults alike entertained. If they have a Nintendo Switch already that is.

  31. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. A lot of adults are playing it at the moment. I suppose I forget what age I am sometimes πŸ˜€

  32. Video games are a God-send during this time for keeping kids and adults alike entertained! Hope you’re staying safe. Thank you so much for popping in and reading.

  33. I had never heard of Animal Crossing until I read your articles. At first, I thought it was a book! I’m glad you found something to help you with your self-isolating fatigue.

  34. I am actually stuck playing witcher games now, I have not played animal crossing but reallysounds cool to me. I hope I can get it delivered here.

  35. Wow..it seems quite interesting and amazing..but i haven’t ever heard of this until i read..this game is really awesome and much inspiring too to play..a perfect game for kids..Thanks for sharing…

  36. I have to admit that I am just not a gamer. I would rather play Ludo, Scrabble or Snakes and Ladders with a friend the old fashion way. However, I am really intrigued by the fact that it has helped so many people to cope with the crisis.

  37. Thank for sharing about Animal Crossing- it sounds like great fun . I was looking to buy some Nintendo games for my kids . Your post came at the right time!

  38. I am not into games much and honestly had no clue about this one, but they way you have explained definitely makes it seem interesting, so may be I will give it a shot and see if I can really play πŸ™‚

  39. I don’t play it, but I’ve heard so much about the game. Mostly from my 18 year old son, who loves it! He plays daily and recently told me he caught a shark ??

  40. I guess I am out of the loop because I didn’t know anything about Animal Crossing but it sounds like something that could keep me entertained for hours too. Having a way to escape and distract during this time really is so necessary and helpful!

  41. I’ve never heard of this game, but it sounds good! I’ve tried many new things during lockdown I wouldn’t have tried before.

  42. Okay I’ll get this out of the way now and say that I’ve never played Animal Crossing BUT I totally understand where you’re coming from in saying that it’s helped you through lockdown. I find gaming extremely therapeutic and although I tend to opt for more… violent and horror games (arguably not the kind of game most people would find relaxing haha!) I definitely understand! x

  43. I hold my hand up and say I have never played.I am really not a computer console kinda gal but I am hearing so many wonderful things about it. I can imagine it has been hugely beneficial to many people during this time x

  44. I had never played Animal Crossing before, but we decided to get it since we’d be stuck at home for who knows how long. Turns out, I am addicted to the game and love playing it! I play it everyday, at least for 30 minutes and really enjoy the release it provides me from the stress and anxiety of daily life!

  45. I haven’t actually played ACNH but throughout lockdown I’ve been very tempted to invest in a Switch and the game after reading that it’s helped so many people during this tough time! It looks like something that would be right up my street so I might have to treat myself at some point! xx

  46. I’ve played like the free app version, and it was kind of fun. I’m not a big “game player” but it was pretty relaxing to get everything set up and just explore the little world!

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