“Animal Crossing” has returned with a new installment for the Nintendo Switch on March 20. It has been almost eight years since there has been a main installment for the “Animal Crossing” series. Why is this classic game series so popular amongst fans? There are numerous reasons, and they may not be for reasons you expect.
A Home Away From Home
A user customizing their home in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. GIF taken by Alex Leisenfelder from the Feb. 21 Nintendo Direct. Credit to Nintendo.
“Animal Crossing” game’s always start players out in a similar fashion. You’re a new resident in town where you interact with other non-player residents to complete tasks for them while building your own place to call home. “Animal Crossing” is an escape for many who want to get away from the real world. You are able to customize your house how you see fit and create friendships with your animal neighbors. Compared to other games, “Animal Crossing” allows you to feel comfortable in a space that you help to mold.
A Stress-Free World
A character vaulting across a river in Animal Crossing: New Horizon. GIF taken by Alex Leisenfelder from the Feb. 21 Nintendo Direct. Credit to Nintendo.
In Animal Crossing, the only threat you need to worry about is paying off your debts, and making sure you give your neighbors gifts they’ll like. There is no combat or fear of facing a deadly boss in the game. You play the game how you’d like, taking your time to do what you want without getting punished for it.
“Animal Crossing has always been aesthetically pleasing and calming, it was a great escape game,” Julia McPadden said. “It gave me something moderately low stakes to take care of when I was a kid.”
You have goals and achievements you can work towards at any pace you want, giving up and coming back to them with little to no punishment.
Relaxing Music and Sound Effects
Music is credited with being a selling factor of games. It sets the tone of the digital world developers have shaped. “Animal Crossing” has a very laid-back soundtrack, and even has a character in the game named K.K Slider who performs music for your neighbors and you on special nights and occasions. Not only is the music soothing, but the sounds of the environment are too. You can go night fishing and hear nothing but the running of the river or ocean you are fishing in.
Forming Friendships with Digital Characters
A player running up to a character featured in “Animal Crossing: New Horizons.” GIF taken by Alex Leisenfelder from the Feb. 21 Nintendo Direct. Credit to Nintendo.
Your home on “Animal Crossing” is randomly generated, giving you a random set of villagers to bond and make friendships with. Not only that, but they interact with one another as well. This adds to the factor of your “Animal Crossing” world being a home away from home, a place where the only conflict may be giving a resident the wrong item they requested. You build a sense of community with these non-player characters, creating a safe-haven for you and any human players you may decide to invite to your world.
Filling Your Museum and Aquarium
A user wandering around their museum featured in “Animal Crossing: New Horizon.” GIF taken by Alex Leisenfelder from the Feb. 21 Nintendo Direct. Credit to Nintendo.
While making friends with your neighbors may be fun, so is collecting items. Throughout the game, you’ll be able to collect various items such as fossils, insects, fish, and more that you are able to put into a museum or aquarium. This is another goal that players are able to work towards that can keep pulling them back into the game. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your aquarium and museum completely filled.
The new installment to the series, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” was released on March 20, for the Nintendo Switch. It comes with an abundance of new features and old fan favorites including more character customization options, custom-made art for clothing and furniture, and new characters.