Almost the entire world is currently being encouraged to stay home, hunker down, and wait for the most widespread pandemic in the last hundred years to pass. It is safe to say that none of us have ever seen anything like this before. Even my elderly grandmother, who was alive for the polio epidemic, said it was nothing like this. The United States has not had to display a level of logistical teamwork like we are today since the resource rationing of World War II.
We are living in unprecedented times, and we have never needed the “island getaway package” promised by Animal Crossing: New Horizons like we need it now.
I’ve played every Animal Crossing game ever released, but my relationship with the games is… complicated. Historically, the newest iteration of the game always sounds fun, but then I play it for a couple of weeks and quickly get bored, wanting to move on to something a bit faster-paced. That’s why Stardew Valley hooked me for so much longer than any Animal Crossing game ever did: it has all the great elements of Animal Crossing, with a bit more urgency and action.
I think this time around is going to be different though. My life is about to change even more, and the slow-walk-through-the-park atmosphere of Animal Crossing is exactly the kind of activity I will want for any free time I may have. The timing could not be better.
My wife is due to give birth to our first child—a daughter—on April 13th. Becoming a dad will be chaotic in many ways, but it will also slow life down in other ways. The already-limited time I have for video games will dwindle, at least temporarily, and my life is going to be ripe for a game just like, well, Animal Crossing—a game without a care, and easily set aside to address the needs of real life.
Animal Crossing was made for this moment in my life. I’m confined to my house. I’m about to welcome a child. Bring on a peaceful deserted island.
Whether you’re on the fence about purchasing your island getaway package or you reserved your ticket months ago, it is important to remember this: New Horizons will be what you make of it. Any pressure you feel on Tom Nook’s deserted island is self-imposed. There are no timers, no angry kids on the microphone, and no one trying to kill you. It’s just you, your massive debt, and an unlimited amount of time to pay it off in whatever way you choose.
We should all do our part to self-isolate and slow the spread of this coronavirus. So let’s take Tom Nook up on his deserted island getaway package deal and escape our homes in the only way we can right now.
Animal Crossing™: New Horizons launches March 20, 2020 for the Nintendo Switch.