How Did An Adorable Video Game Help Us Through 2020?

Trista Signe Ainsworth

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

In early May of 2020, we got the game Animal Crossing for the Nintendo Switch. It was meant as a fun game for our son. He was finishing up grade school remotely, and his school days would typically end at 10 am because he would get all of his school work done quickly.

He and I shared a laptop at the time, as we all were working from home. This game provided a fun, interactive afternoon break for all of us during the quarantine.

For several weeks, this game provided a make-believe world for us to escape to. It was well worth the price we paid for it for the hours of joy it gave to us.

Little did I know that this game would win my heart! I do not play video games. It takes me quite a while to figure out the controls, and in all honesty, I would rather watch than play.

However, this game was different. It took me to another world and brought back the joy that I have for travel without leaving home.

In this game, you travel to an island. You settle into a lovely animal community with a tent. You start to build up a life on the island by getting to know those around you, planting things around your home, and interacting with the other characters. My son and I both created characters. My name is Tristiana, and his name is Adamal.

It is so sweet that he will send me gifts in the game like a hat or a new dress. He even planted a money tree near my island home! We have also traveled to other islands to see what is there are collect materials.

It’s a fun adventure! I am also thankful that my son can mostly just control my character. It is a lot faster that way (with my limited controller skills).

I find that this game really captures the spirit of travel. It brings me into another world. Another world that I get to share with my son. A world of an island, the ocean, beautiful wildlife, talking animals. A world of creating, imagining, and wondering. A world of brightness and community. We can create a new world.

There were lots of island residents to make friends with. I loved how each of them would call you a funny, endearing nickname. My favorite islander, named Apple, would always nickname us cheekers. She was very upbeat and cheery.

Another islander, Tank, would always talk to us about our biceps. He was thrilled if you gifted him the latest workout gear.

Every day I looked forward to our time on the island. We opened our mail and received points for doing activities. We found out about the latest island news from Isabelle, the puppy, or the secretary of the island.

We helped by donating to the museum where the curator is an owl. We both laughed about how he is deathly afraid of insects. We were so curious why he was adamant against bugs, yet he could tell you endless facts about them.

My son created a world where he was royalty. He was able to create custom clothing in the game. His kingly robes were decked out with a crown theme of purple and gold.

He also created some custom clothing for me. In the clothing shop, there is a place where you can create your own designs. You can try on endless outfits, then decide whether to purchase them or not.

We loved to joke about how Tom Nook, the island owner, signed you up for big loans. You start off living in a tent when you arrive, then all of a sudden, you are strapped with a mortgage.

Another funny plot twist was when Leif came to town. He set up a stand near the town hall. He sold lots of pretty azalea plants and flower bulbs. The strange part was, you could sell him bags of weeds you had collected from the island for double their price. We always wondered what he did with them.

To pay off debts, you needed to earn money. You could catch butterflies, insects, or fish. You could also dig up weeds. On occasion, you might find gold or a money bag when hitting a rock with your shovel.

Timmy and Tommy ran a general store. The best part was, you could sell them the random things that you found around the island. Then, when you had enough money, you could purchase things you needed there for your home. It was even possible to buy some gift wrap so that you could wrap up a present for an island friend.

We loved to decorate our homes. It was fun to craft new furniture and decor with crafting recipes. We enjoyed caring for and nurturing the plants and trees around our homes

Later on, my son created an elaborate, large home on the island. His garden had lovely bamboo, fountains, and streams. He went for a Japanese theme.

He created a nature room in his home, where he housed fish, insects, and more. He decorated it with a faux campfire, a tent, and a lovely bench. That way, he could display the fish and bugs he caught.

It is a little make-believe world that opens our hearts to the possibilities. It is a fun escape from the day to day news that I think was important during the lockdown. It was a chance for our hearts to open and our minds to take a little rest.

Since then, we have not played the game together quite as much. Once in a while, my son will go back on there. Sometimes he finds a new villager that has popped up. He loves to show me who has moved in and the fresh offerings in the game. This game still warms my heart and brings back fun memories of when we played it together.

What kinds of daily adventures did you find at home in 2020?

Please let me know in the comments!


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I am a local food and drink adventurer! Find out the latest about delicious food around Portland, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Cornelius, Forest Grove, Oregon, and beyond.

Hillsboro, OR

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