Happy Birthday Animal Crossing New Horizons! Year In Review For A Hall Of Fame Classic – Hot Hardware

Posted: March 21, 2021 at 4:37 pm

Sometimes, a work of art hits our culture at just the right time, when it can transcend its medium and become something greater. Such events are exceedingly rare in video games, but we old folks remember Pac-Man Fever and Fred Savage in The Wizard playing Super Mario Bros. 3. More recently, video games have become spectator sports in large part due to StarCraft II, DotA 2,and Overwatch and similar genre game titles. None of those moments found humanity in a time of crisis, however, until Animal Crossing: New Horizons launched on the Nintendo Switch a year ago today. Across the globe, entire countries were in lock-down mode and nobody was quite sure what to do. Tom Nook hit the scene with his private island, and it was the escape we all needed. Today, let's look back on theyear in Animal Crossing: New Horizons during these defining times in history, and relive some of the triumphs along the way.Animal Crossing: Remembering The Early DaysIt's a little unusual for a game to launch on a Friday, but it was the perfect weekend time sink that then turned into a year-long obsession. That first weekend didn't have any big events, but millions of people got acclimated to island life, collected fruit, and explored randomly-generated islands. It wasn't until the following weekend that Daisy Mae, granddaughter of Sow Joan, showed up in town to sell turnips on the Stalk Market. We all got settled into our tents, and later houses, caught bugs and fish, dug up fossils, and just got away from it all. For those whose islands were in the Northern Hemisphere, spring was imminent. Island residents in the Southern Hemisphere were the first to witness the turning of the leaves into autumn.

Animal Crossing: New Horizonsmakes a point to celebrate many global major holidays. The first one to hit the game was Bunny Day, when Zipper T. Bunny came to town and asked residents to find six eggs that could be used in crafting recipes to make all kinds of themed decorations. Bunny Day will be the first ACNH holiday to happen for the second time soon. Holiday-themed events got bigger and bigger as the year progressed, and more island visitors made their way to island cultures worldwide, too. The May Day Maze made for a fun puzzle with treasures at the end of the road.

It wasn't all fun and games for Nintendo, however. Animal Crossing caught the eye of watchful Chinese censorsafter a Hong Kong protester created a "Free Hong Kong" themed island and welcomed visitors. While Nintendo had teamed up with TenCent for a Chinese release, the game never did launch in the country. There was also an actively-exploited item duplication bug that temporarily wrecked the in-game economy for some folks and spawned numerous eBay listings with duplicated bugs.

Year-end holidays hit the game at a fast and furious pace. Turkey Day on November 26 depicted an actual turkey cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Shortly after that came Toy Day, where all of the residents received and exchanged gifts. The New Year's Eve event was a real show-stopper complete with a giant countdown in the town plaza where everybody gathered to ring in the new year together. And of course, each holiday brought with it more items to buy and activities to complete.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons holds value beyond just the revenue that it earned for Nintendo. There's no doubt that ACNH was a lifeline to millions of people who were locked down in 2020 during a year of uncertainty and weight we all carried. In our house, the game still gets quite a bit of play. We bought three copies for three Switches, and my family routinely visited one another on our own islands, which further brought us together in good, clean family fun. For that, Nintendo definitely has our thanks.

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Happy Birthday Animal Crossing New Horizons! Year In Review For A Hall Of Fame Classic - Hot Hardware

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