COVID-19 has overtaken the world, both physically and mentally. It’s anxiety inducing and overwhelming for everyone, and for the people that have unfortunately contracted the virus, it’s devastating to both go through and see others go through. It’s exceptionally frustrating to see most people not taking it seriously still, even though everyone is affected.
Through this pandemic, I’ve seen communities come together and help each other. I’ve seen people asking complete strangers if they need help with anything; grocery runs, transportation, child care, you name it. While everyone’s careers and livelihoods are on the brink of the unknown and everyone’s health depends on everyone else being careful, it’s heartwarming to see my peers and my neighbors looking out for one another.
The week before Animal Crossing: New Horizons dropped, the world was just starting to see the effects of COVID-19 spread outwards from Ground Zero. Throughout that week, my anticipation for the game and my anxiety about the impending pandemic grew and grew. Now, I’ve got the game, but I don’t have the virus (yet). I’m grateful that I’m able to work throughout this life-changing situation, and I’m grateful that New Horizons came out when it did. If it hadn’t come out on March 20th, I might be way deeper down the Quarantine Depression Hole!
For those who don’t know what Animal Crossing is, let me go back a little bit to the year 2001. The Game Cube was the popular Nintendo console back then, and I had received one for my 12th birthday five years later. It was awesome! Going from the Nintendo 64 to the Game Cube was a huge deal for me. I loved Mario games so I of course has Super Mario Sunshine, and I loved Sonic the Hedgehog so I had Sonic Adventure DX. One game that I decided to buy later on (or, more correctly, have my mom buy for me) was Animal Crossing.
When compared to the first two games, which were fast-paced and full of mind challenging platforming, Animal Crossing was, well…slow. You start in a small village, burdened with housing debt by the anthropomorphic raccoon Tom Nook, and meet other animal villagers to spend time with as you clean up your little town, fish, hunt for bugs and fossils, and generally just have a really chill time.
Twelve year old Mary was not here for it.
It was after the next installment came out when I realized “oh hey, this is a nice chill game”. By then, I was a teenager, playing on my Nintendo DS at any and every opportunity. Animal Crossing: New Leaf had come out a few years prior, and I decided to try it. It was only $15 at Game Stop, so it couldn’t have been the best game, right?
It was not the best, but it was close!
I ended up falling in love with the idea of visiting a virtual town everyday and talking to the various animal villagers, looking for things to fill up my museum, and generally chilling out on a chill video game after a hard day at middle school (middle school is rough, y’all). I played it until I lost my DS a few years later. Losing that town, although I can’t remember too many details, was still heartbreaking.
So when I heard that they were coming out with a new mainline Animal Crossing, I got excited! I would finally be able to make the perfect town (er, island). I could finish collecting everything for Blathers, the museum curator (who is also an owl). I could meet new villagers and classic villagers alike. And I could once again have a beautiful virtual home, although I’d be forever in debt to Tom Nook and his nephews.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons came out at the perfect time. Due to the Coronavirus, everyone has been ordered to stay home and socially distance, making sure we don’t get each other sick. What better time to play video games than during a quarantine? Obviously, COVID-19 is not a positive thing, but AC:NH has really made being in the house constantly a lot easier. Being able to escape to a nice little island full of new discoveries and villagers that want to talk to you is kind of nice when you’re alone!
I bought my husband a new Switch and the new Animal Crossing for his birthday (which is the 24th, aka tomorrow if you’re reading this the Monday it comes out!) and gave it to him the day the game came out. He’s progressed further than me so far, building his house, his villager’s homes, the museum, and the general store Nook’s Cranny all within the past three days! While I’ve done a few of those things, it’s amazing to see that even a guy like Matt, who’s obsessed with Halo and Apex Legends, can chill out with a chill game and have a good time doing it.
I suggest if you’ve never played Animal Crossing, feel free to watch some gameplay online. I highly suggest SuperMega’s playthrough of the first installment of Animal Crossing, as well as their new series on New Horizons. We all know I’m a fan, but I genuinely think their playthrough is the closest thing to actually playing it yourself. They don’t try to cheat the system too much and they take their time playing the game, as you should in real life.
All in all, I think that Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a great way to distract from the current state of the world. With 24 hour news cycles, impending doom breathing down our necks, sometimes it’s nice to just get away for a while and go to a virtual land that’s yours to shape and grow. If you’ve read all the books in your house and played every video game you’ve owned, maybe even caught up on your television…maybe it’s time to try something new?
Thanks for reading, everyone! I know these are hard times, but I find solace in writing, and I’m happy to give you all something to distract from the chaos that is life right now. Big thanks to Bri and Matt for giving me permission to use their AC:NH screenshots! This post would look a little less great if not for them!
Remember to listen to the health care professionals around you! Anything I could say has already been drilled into everyone’s heads the past month or so. I’ll just say, please be aware of how close you stand to people when you do have to eventually leave the house. Lots of people don’t know what six feet of space is…I figure if I can give a person the length of an Aldi shopping cart plus a few steps, that’s good!
Also, thank you to everyone who has been able to throw a couple bucks my way. With how unsure we are about the future of my job right now, the extra cash everyone has chipped in to give me has really made the difference between eating or going without in my house. I appreciate each and every one of you!
When we’re clear to leave our houses, I’m going to be baking bread for everyone who hooked me up (for the people that live out of town, I’ll brainstorm something else that’s not so perishable!). Looking forward to perfecting my bread recipe, along with AC:NH, is really keeping my spirits up.
If you have a few bucks to spare and you want to donate to the “Mary Needs Groceries” fund, I do have a CashApp ($MaryBGolubich) and a Venmo (@MaryBGolubich). Don’t feel bad if you can’t donate! I know I always feel bad when I can’t give money to people in need, so don’t be like me. Making sure you all are happy and healthy means so much more to me than me running out of cash. I always find a way!
If you live in the Columbus area and need literally any help at all, don’t hesitate to DM me on Twitter, or text me if you know me personally. I’ll help in any way I can! In the meantime, be safe and be healthy!