Animal Crossing and Quarantine
A Love Letter to the Iconic Duo
Where would this world be without you both? Without you both together?
It started slowly, and crept up on us faster than we could have ever imagined, becoming the most enduring love story of the past few months.
Quarantine. One day we were outside and the next we were cooped up in our homes to keep a virus at bay. You limited our mobility, our contact with friends and family. On your own, you are a force to be reckoned with. You thrust upon us boredom, economic troubles, and stressed out relationships.
Animal Crossing. New Horizons, to be exact. You are a game franchise that has charmed the world for almost two decades. You give us cute animals, adorable housekeeping, and mundane tasks to keep up a village. There is no cuter or more positive game than you out there.
When Quarantine and Animal Crossing came together, it was like the stars aligned. Just when we were all hunkering down, in it for the long haul, everything felt hopeless. What would we do? Many of us hadn’t experience a crisis of this magnitude in our lifetimes. Though Quarantine can be cruel, it did allow one small grace; in the final days before states and cities were locked down, before ‘social distancing’ became an everyday word, it allowed us to meet you, Animal Crossing. We could make last minute runs to GameStop and pick up our pre-ordered copies. And for those already on lock down, we could download the game online. In late March, this was how Quarantine and Animal Crossing met.
Though Quarantine was determined to inflict its might on us all, it couldn’t help but notice. People who couldn’t go outside were…smiling? At what? Quarantine could see people watering flowers, catching butterflies, and fishing for all sorts of little creatures. Animal Crossing showed its potential early. Though we couldn’t venture outside, we could still shop for all sorts of clothes with Able sisters, the gang of cute hedgehogs who run the store. We could fly to different islands with Orville and Wilbur, the dodo birds. We could participate in fishing challenges with CJ the beaver. We weren’t outside, but at least we could pretend.
What shocked Quarantine most of all was when people separated by apartment buildings and public transportation could still technically visit each other. Groups of friends who were countless miles apart visited each other’s islands. They traded fun items, played hide and seek, and of course, smacked one another over the head with butterfly nets. We could still communicate with our friends and see their virtual selves, friends we hadn’t seen in months. It was a beautiful function in a beautiful game, and everyone wanted in; The Nintendo Switch became as elusive as toilet paper. Though Quarantine was impressed, it wasn’t convinced just yet that this game was anything of substance.
When Quarantine tightened its hold, Animal Crossing doubled down. It let us swim in the crisp, blue, pixelated water. It let us dive for pearls and scallops with Pascal the otter. Even now, as Quarantine starts to lift but still looms heavy, Animal Crossing provides. We have fireworks and dream sequences to keep things interesting and light-hearted, no matter what Quarantine may bring.
In time, Quarantine became alright with letting Animal Crossing expand its reach to every Nintendo Switch in the world. After all, it wasn’t so bad for people to enjoy their time inside, was it? Quarantine realized it didn’t have to be all bad. It actually came to enjoy the smiles and laughs of people on their consoles. Instead of cursing Quarantine, people were now praising Animal Crossing (and of course cursing Tom Nook instead). “I’ll keep them occupied,” Animal Crossing said to Quarantine, “You go do your job.” Quarantine nodded, and continued its attempts to slow the deadly virus.
With their relationship formed, Quarantine and Animal Crossing dominated social media at every turn. Whether it was celebrating elaborate islands, or laughing at each other’s inability to dig a hole in the place you want to, people could come together about Animal Crossing on every platform. The Animal Crossing content on Twitter and Instagram alone is simply immeasurable. The pair became the subject of many memes and appreciative tweets. How awful would Quarantine be without Animal Crossing? How awful would our Animal Crossing islands be without Quarantine?
To Quarantine and Animal Crossing:
It’s been a rough year. Things haven’t been easy. All I can say is I picked a hell of a year to decide I’m well enough to stop having regular therapy sessions. All joking aside, you two were made for each other. Quarantine, you get a lot of hate, but you are a necessary precaution. You can prevent COVID from spreading. You can help us get out of this mess and make sure more people stay healthy. You can keep people from dying. You’ve been treated unfairly. You’ve been complained about non-stop despite the role you play in fighting this virus. It wasn’t a role you asked for, so maybe that is why you come off as being so cold and unsympathetic to us all.
I’m happy Animal Crossing has come into your life. It has helped you feel more approachable and appealing. You are the shield for our bodies while Animal Crossing is the shield for our minds. Even my family, who has been plagued by illness and death this year, got a chuckle out of seeing my villagers do yoga in the town square. There were multiple times when I believed I would be crushed by my anxiety again. As recent as a few weeks ago, I was kept awake at night from panic attacks about the future. But I was able to pull through because the next morning, I could lose myself in digging for fossils or planning out the arcade section of my island. I could stay in my house to keep myself and others around me safe, just like you wanted, Quarantine, and Animal Crossing will be there for me. In such a turbulent time, it seems like a small and stupid comfort. To me, it’s been a whole lot more than that. Thank you to you both.
When the gamers look back on the era of Quarantine, there will always be that little glimmer of light in the darkest of times. Animal Crossing was there. Animal Crossing was the only thing able to balance the terrific might of Quarantine. It will go down in history as the game that was there at the right time for the right situation. Together, they were the unexpected duo that helped drag us through to the other side. Without Animal Crossing, who knows how cruel Quarantine could have been.