Animal Crossing is a video game series developed by Nintendo, first released in 2001 and most recently released on March 20, 2020, which would prove to be a timely release as the whole world began adjusting to a quarantined life.
The series is comprised of social simulation games, each with its own theme. Similarly to The Sims, Animal Crossing explores the everyday interactions and possibilities of a virtual, fictitious life, crafted by the player.
Nintendo introduces the game in a video on their official YouTube channel, “What is Animal Crossing: New Horizons? A Guide for the Uninitiated,” that describes it as “…your ticket to a relaxing, stress-free life, one in which you will interact with a whole community of residents, animal residents!” They also emphasize that time is never of the essence. While your character’s world experiences 24-hour days and season changes, no haste is necessary when completing tasks or simply going about your daily activities.
There is no strict agenda or to-do list. “In short, you’re free to do what you like!” Players are free to set their own goals at their own pace, or participate in in-game activities to redeem rewards.
“From fish to catch, bugs to sneak up on, and residents to befriend, you’d be amazed by how much there is to discover when you explore your island.”
From customizable houses, to wholesome activities, to catchy happy music, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been a close companion to many. The series saw a significant increase in downloads and social media activity since the most recent release last March. A New York Times article, “Why Animal Crossing is the Game for the Coronavirus Moment,” quotes the global head of gaming partnerships at Twitter reviewing the game’s statistics just one month after the new release. Rishi Chadha says, “Conversation volume since launch has grown over 1,000 percent, and the number of people tweeting about the game has grown over 400 percent.” It quickly became the number 1 selling game in the entire Animal Crossing series, and was ranked the 5th best videogame of 2020 by Time Magazine.
Navigating an artificial life through a happily animated society that radiates positivity through small tasks and interactions has been treated as a means of escape, catharsis, and self care since the beginning of the pandemic. Such interests have found their way to the Bennington College community in the form of the new Animal Crossett club. “It is a young club, but I feel it was very important due to the current world situation to provide a community,” says co-founder Sergiu Ciavoi.
The Club was founded by Bennington students Sergiu Ciavoi, Jade Costello, Hugh Stoll, and Robin Fitzgerald, “with the intention of creating a community on campus for fans of the Animal Crossing series.”
“The Club’s mission is to create a community where people can freely partake in their interest in video games…in a non-competitive setting, unlike ESports, for instance,” clarifies Sergiu. “The best thing about the club is the laid-back atmosphere. The game itself is very much intended to put you in this zoned-out, calm state, and so conversation freely flows. It’s the main reason I look forward to our meetings…”
The name of the club is derived from its meeting location, Crossett Library. Club meetings are held on Saturday evenings at 6pm on the bottom floor of Crossett. “Our meetings are about one hour each week, but due to the laid-back nature of the club, we are flexible about time.”
The Club participated in Tabling Week on March 5th, and walk-ins are welcome in addition to official sign-ups. “We welcome everyone to our little community and look forward to sharing our hobby with you.”
Contact club leaders Jade and Sergiu at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Macy Salico is a fourth-term transfer, class of 2023! She is studying the ways in which literature and art are used as modes of human expression during times of social change. After exploring SCT through literature and art, she plans on going to law school to focus on civil and human rights work.
Club Spotlight Columnist, Copy-Editing Team member