As we all stay indoors and cancel our social events, gamers have found an unusual way to turn their gatherings virtual: recreating them in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The Nintendo Switch video game, which debuted on March 20, is a sugary-cute dose of escapism that drops your character on a deserted island, only to let you build it up into a thriving society of adorable anthropomorphic animals.
As the island's creator, you have control over how it looks and even who visits.
Gamers have taken advantage of those creative tools by hosting birthday parties and even weddings on the platform.
Take Brooklyn designer Debbie Fong, who invited 10 of her friends to join her on her game’s island (via an internet connection) for a 30th birthday — complete with activities and "refreshments."
Some pics from my Animal Crossing birthday party today! I set up a treasure hunt around my island and offered refreshments 😊 Thanks for coming everyone!! 🌸🧡✨ #acnh #AnimalCrossingNewHorizions pic.twitter.com/dRZTo8LaJg— Debbie Fong (@debbiefongdraws) March 30, 2020
She and her partner decorated the island with fun areas for friends to explore like planting different fruit trees and flowers to help themselves to and used signs and markers on the ground to usher them to the main party area (which had goodie bags and cupcakes waiting).
"After seeing how fun it was to just hang out with friends in Animal Crossing when the game first came out, it seemed natural to invite people to come over on my birthday since it was a Sunday and we’d all be hanging out isolated at home anyway," she says. "I was even able to send out 'formal' invitations using the in-game post office feature! In the invites I told everyone what time the party would start and to come with room in their pockets for goodies to take home."
She even set up a treasure hunt using color-coded bags, took group photos, had music time and, of course, "the quintessential Animal Crossing ritual of bopping each others’ characters on the head with our bug-catching nets."
"The best part was being able to celebrate in this fun virtual space with friends and family from all over the country, which never would have been possible with a birthday party IRL," she says. "It was wild to see everyone interacting and playing this cute game together, especially friends who had never met in real life. Honestly, it was an incredibly wholesome and lovely experience I would recommend to anyone!"
Others across the Animal Crossing network have thrown surprise parties for other birthday girls and boys.
Of course, people have also had to cancel or postpone their weddings, but a Reddit user who had been planning to hold her real-life wedding in Downtown Brooklyn, reported a surprise "wedding" that her best friends threw her and her fiancé after the game came out.
"My fiancé planned it out with our best friends, I'm graduating from med school and not getting a graduation and our wedding was cancelled," they wrote. "I was feeling pretty down about missing out on my milestones. This made me so happy, I don't even have the words to describe how much it meant to me."
So it just goes to show you, no matter where you gather, whether on Zoom or a colorful, made-up island of animals, you can still have a good time.
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