GAMING IN LOCKDOWN: WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE PLAYING ANIMAL CROSSING?

BBC Focus - Science & Technology|July 2020

GAMING IN LOCKDOWN: WHY ARE SO MANY PEOPLE PLAYING ANIMAL CROSSING?
It sold more digital units in its first month of release than any other video game in history. What makes Animal Crossing: New Horizons such a compelling game to play?
DR PETE ETCHELLS

As far as Nintendo games go, Animal Crossing isn’t perhaps as well-known outside of gamer circles as series such as Super Mario, Pokémon or The Legend Of Zelda. And yet the latest instalment, New Horizons, has become something of a phenomenon in this worrying new world we find ourselves in. If you haven’t already come across it, New Horizons is a life-simulation game, a more easygoing counterpart to earlier titles like The Sims. You start off by purchasing a getaway package to a deserted island, armed only with a tent and a few basic tools to tend to the land. Although there’s a basic storyline to follow, what you do in your newfound escape is up to you. Among other things, you can go bug-hunting, try to catch rare fish, excavate for fossils, design your home, create elaborate gardens, invite friends over for a catch-up, or stare at the night sky, waiting for shooting stars. There’s no endgame, no final boss: this is your own little world, to do with as you please.

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July 2020