KYLIEBYTES: ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ is here to save you from isolation

The hype is real, folks

Kylie Robison

I’m Kylie Robison and this is KYLIEBYTES, a column where I talk about technology and its impact on society. Follow me on Twitter @kylie_robison for more.

Nintendo released the much anticipated “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” on Friday amid a global pandemic and somehow, I already owe Tom Nook 98,000 bells.

If you’re feeling like participating in all of the hype, you only need $60 to purchase the game, and a Nintendo Switch. If you don’t have a Nintendo Switch, the popular version with removable Joy-Cons is sold out everywhere, but the cheaper version, the Nintendo Switch Lite, is widely available.

The timing of this release is flawless. As someone who has never played “Animal Crossing” before, or even owned a Nintendo Switch, I acquired both within three days of the game’s release date. It’s a great way to spend time at home, the story line is incredibly soothing and it helps you connect with friends from a distance.

In this new gameplay, you get an island to call your home. For example, my character’s name is Kybee and my island is called Honeybay Island. You spend your days completing small tasks such as fishing, collecting tree branches and designing your tent home. It doesn’t get much cuter than that, folks.

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Screenshot courtesy of Kylie Robison

Nintendo also implemented new features that separate it from the old gameplay, and better reflect the way society has changed since the last “Animal Crossing” release. In “New Horizons,” you’re able to customize your character’s clothing and hairstyle in spite of the gender preference you choose.

“We basically wanted to create a game where users didn’t really have to think about gender or if they wanted to think about gender, they’re also able to,” Aya Kyogoku, the game’s director, told the Washington Post about the change.

This game is highly customizable, which creates a unique experience for every player. This includes QR codes that allow you to download personalized clothing for your character. If you’ve played “Animal Crossing”’s previous installments, you can enjoy the satisfaction of using the same clothes from the previous game. 

Aside from all the cute features, “Animal Crossing” has done something great for humanity. As the iconic Britney Spears once said, “my loneliness is killing me.” This pandemic has made me incredibly isolated from the outside world, emotionally and physically. 

Thanks to “Animal Crossing”’s ability to visit and talk to friends, or leave special presents on their island, they’ve provided us with a whole new way to connect with each other during this crisis. That is truly something to behold, especially when everything is so uncertain.

With so much wholesome content to enjoy, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is a great way to connect with your friends and recover from media whiplash. Even as a reporter, I feel like it’s hard to cope with all the new information.

My fellow staff writers fearlessly recount experiences in this pandemic, and major news publications constantly relay CDC statistics, which saves me little room for comfort. On top of it all, there are some questionable decisions from our government, so I think we all need something reliable and comforting during this critical period. 

It’s a simple game, and with the spring break coming soon, you’ll have plenty of time to customize all the designs your heart desires. 

There is no better way to social distance than to create your own virtual world so if you do, here is my shameless plug: SW-8074-8843-0028. Hope to see you all at Honeybay!