Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released at the best time possible for establishing a sense of community in an otherwise isolated time. Just as we found ourselves confined to our homes for an indeterminate period, Nintendo’s latest addition to its most heart-warming franchise was nothing short of a lockdown miracle. Though locked indoors, gamers began crafting islands and avatars so they could catch a breath of fresh summer’s air – albeit virtually.
Aside from this break from reality, many players have managed to bring the real world into the game. This has resulted in numerous protests and marketing campaigns permeating into the New Horizons format from players and businesses alike.
Aware of this change in gameplay, Nintendo have announced a new set of guidelines concerning the use of political and franchising strategies. The company asks, “Please refrain from using the game inappropriately or creating any content within the game that would be considered vulgar, discriminatory, or offensive. Please also refrain from bringing politics into the game.”
2020 has provided Animal Crossing: New Horizons with ample opportunity to mark players’ political views. The announcement likely comes as a result of the recent US election, which saw an island established to spread the message of the Biden/Harris presidential campaign and provide information on how to vote.
So, whilst the socio-political displays that the game has seen over the course of the year have been strangely moving, Nintendo’s announcement does not appear in any way over the top. The company notes that they will be taking action on any parties found to be breaking these rules: “We may ask you to stop such activity or usage of our contents, and take appropriate actions, including prohibiting your future business usage of the game.”
It seems that this side of Animal Crossing needs to go in search of still newer horizons. Yet the game will remain a site of community and allegiance for many of those who have managed to create real change in the least predictable of formats.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is available now on Nintendo Switch.
Words by James Norton
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