Title: Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Developer: Katsuya Eguchi /Nintendo
Year of Release: 2020
Number of Players: 1-8
Genre/Format of the Item: Video game
British Academy Games Award for Game Beyond Entertainment 2020
British Academy Games Award for Multiplayer 2020
Reading Level/Interest Level:
Plot Summary: Players can interact with other participants virtually or they can play solo. The premise of the game is that players will fly to a semi-deserted island run by Tom Nook and his animal friends. Players will be given free range of the land and can earn Nook Dollars by foraging among the natural habitat and selling items, such as wood, fruit, and fish. Players can build and customize their homes and land, including searching for fossils and hunting for fish. The game follows the seasons and holidays of the player in real life and thus, the landscape and weather change according to the climate of the player. Players interact with the island inhabitants (computer controlled) but can choose to invite other players to their island.
Author Background: Nintendo hired Katsuya Eguchi to develop the first Animal Crossing video game in 1986. Eguchi has led all the iterations of the game since then. When he first moved away from home to work for Nintendo, he felt isolated and wanted to create a game that would engender community and social interactions. Animal Crossing: New Horizons became very popular during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 (Bordon, 2020).
Critical Evaluations:: Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a fun and creative game! After viewing many video games for teens, it was refreshing to find a game that did not involve shooting and violence! The mass appeal of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is evident in its rave reviews and high sales. According to TheGamer website, Animal Crossing:New Horizons has sold more games than any other previous edition of Animal Crossing for a total of almost 13 million copies (Henry, 2022). This game is appealing to teens because it allows for a lot of autonomy and creativity. The landscape and seasons change to match the player’s weather which is fun and adds some realism. The game offers a lot of personal choice and players can work on their property and save their progress at the end of their playing time. This adds to continuity and allows players to become invested in the game. The one downside to the game is the choice of voices for the characters within the game. The players and characters do not speak but instead make noises that are translated into word bubbles and then read by the players. The noises/voices of the animals can be grating at times. Overall, I loved this game and I think teens will also!
Creative Use for a Library Program: Animal Crossing: New Horizons is very popular. It would be fun to create a library gaming program, where teens can bring their Nintendo Switches or use computers and play together. The library could have an Animal Crossing Night every other Friday night from 6:00pm-8:00pm. This could be set up in a community room, with tables and chairs available. It could be open to teens to come and go as they please, but they can hang out and play Animal Crossing (only) during this time. The library could provide a few laptops for teenagers without computer or Nintendo Switch access.
Speedround/Book Trailer: Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a great game to play with family and friends. Imagine going to a semi-deserted island and creating your own version of paradise! That is just what you get to do in this game! Celebrate with the seasons and jump right into island life in Animal Crossing: New Horizons!
Potential Challenge Issues/Defense Preparations: I don’t forsee a lot of challenge issues to this game. As it is a video game, parents might not want library programs to center around screen time. I would argue that giving teens a safe place to play this fun and gentle video game with each other is a great use of library space. Libraries want teens to feel included and welcomed by them, and a teen video game night is a great way to draw teens into the library.
Reason for Inclusion: I included this game in my blog because I feel as though it is a great asset to any teen’s video game collection. The game focuses on creativity and there is no violence or bad language. It is overall a really fun game that teens should be aware of!
Bordon, T. (2020, April 2). Meet Nintendo developer Katsuya Eguchi, who created Animal Crossing after being inspired by the loneliness of moving to a new city, making it the perfect social distancing companion. Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/animal-crossing-meet-nintendo-developer-katsuya-eguchi-2020-4
Henry, J. (2022, February 3). New Horizons has sold more than every previous Animal Crossing game combined. The Gamer. https://www.thegamer.com/new-horizons-sales-more-than-every-animal-crossing-combined/
Nintendo. (2020, May 11). What is Animal Crossing: New Horizons? A guide for the uninitiated [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AkEFot5UF0