Love Thy Nerd
Love Nerds + Engage Culture + Build Community

Animal Crossing and Our Yearning for Paradise

From the moment I watched Tom Nook’s promotional video highlighting his new Deserted Island Getaway Package, I knew I was about to go into crushing Bell debt. There was no way I could resist the allure of enjoying a pristine island with my family and cultivating it into a paradise. The day after launch, my daughter and I moved to our new island home, lovingly dubbed “Unicornia.”

Animal Crossing: New Horizons (“Amiul Crossing” to my four-year-old) gave our family a welcome vacation from our COVID-19-mandated staycation. We dove into a world with no cabin fever and no social distancing. Instead, we found family, friendship, and community in Miranda the duck (my daughter’s favorite), Goose the chicken (my favorite), and Fuschia the… whatever animal she is. And we fell in love with the new horizons of the island itself, ripe for exploration.

Animal Crossing promises “a laid back, relaxing time in a haven of nature,” an image reminiscent of the zen garden with which the game shares its Japanese roots. It’s an escape from the noise and chaos of life, where one can experience harmony with nature and the world. This picture of a natural sanctuary transcends times and cultures, and now, with stay-at-home orders chaining us indoors, getting away to experience nature’s essence is all the more appealing. New Horizons provides these experiences simply and splendidly.

The joy of seeing fresh fruit on the trees. The babbling of rivers ambling by while the sun sets. Playing hide-and-seek with friends and family on a lazy afternoon. Discovering a new bug and learning more about it. Wishing on shooting stars with no other lights to diminish their splendor. That feeling of achievement when the island finally starts feeling… full. The delight when an animal friend runs up to say “hi” because they want to share something good with you. And the sheer absence of conflict. With anyone. Or anything. (Unless that thing is a fish or a bug.)

Animal Crossing’s island sanctuary provides a soothing Edenic balm, helping us feel what life would be like in the world as it should be.

While reflecting on this fruit-rich, stream-filled paradise where humanity lives in perfect harmony with nature and fills it with unique creativity, it was hard not to think about the Garden of Eden. Everything I just mentioned—sans the fish killing—could just as easily have described that very first natural sanctuary. Before COVID-19, before loneliness, before depression, before cruelty, before death, there was Eden.

The bad news is, we’ll never know what it felt like to live in an Edenic world and not a broken one, at least not in this lifetime. The good news is, Animal Crossing’s island sanctuary provides a soothing Edenic balm, helping us feel what life would be like in the world as it should be. The even better news is, there’s a promise of a new and better sanctuary that is coming soon. I, for one, am looking forward to that getaway.

David purportedly beat his dad at Super Mario Bros. at the age of 3. His dad wisely retired from games shortly thereafter, but David has continued enjoying games of all shapes and sizes, even as he studies for an M. Div. He has served as a media director, a CTO, and an entrepreneur, but his most prized role is that of husband to Amy. He is currently teaching his daughter to drift in Mario Kart.

Reader Comments

Related Content

The Pull List Season 2.5 | DC Diamond Crisis

The DC Comics bad news trend continues as DC announces they are dropping Diamond Comics. More news, a new listener voice mail, and our pulls this week!
steven speaks

Free Play 91 | Steven Speaks

Steven Kadawoki speaks about Snowrunner, Matt encounters a WoW player in the wild, and Bubba drools over the Unreal 5 tech demo on the PlayStation 5. 

How to Run Your Very Own Online Trivia Night

Final Fantasy XV, Joy, and the Pandemic

Free Play 89 | Assassins Creed: New Horizons

Bubba rants about turnips, Kate gets excited over Assassins Creed and won't hear any negativity on it, and Matt gets grumpy over returning to work.

Free Play 88 | Truths, No Lie: A Game

if you’ve ever wanted to know some of the deepest darkest secrets that we have… you’re gonna be pretty disappointed, but probably entertained.

CHURCH NERDS 14 | Tech Addiction

Bubba & Anna discuss tech addiction, tech fasting, and Coronavirus hacks! Plus, our giveaway winner is announced!

Episode 87 | Nookazon and the Turnip Exchange

Animal crossing is hard. You have to catch bugs, shake sticks out of trees, and make friends. Lucky for us, the internet is here to rescue us from the burden that is responsibility in-game. We share a few helpful services on the old online that make life on an island a little more bearable… oh, […]