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The unbearable lightness of crossing animals

In summer 2016, Abdullah Naser, a 17-year-old student in Ontario, Canada, suffered from an episode of debilitating depression.

"My mood was always bad," Naser told me recently, who publishes YouTube videos about games and games. "I didn't want to go outside or interact with people, and the slightest inconvenience or setback during the day would put me in negative thoughts. I lacked the motivation or drive to set a daily routine."

He limited mostly on his bedroom and spent the only energy he could muster to play his Nintendo 3DS, it made him no less miserable, but it filled the hours.

And then he took Animal Crossing: New Leaf The game ̵

1; a "life simulation" that characterizes you as mayor of a small town full of animals – gave him a sense of the routine he lacked and the constant promise of new things to look forward to He was moved to resemble the version of himself that he saw in the game – positive, proactive, productive – and he was encouraged by that implicitly e Philosophy of life of the game "I think I can" to get back on your feet: "The game takes you into an unknown world in which you have no money, no friends and no idea how everything works. But the more you play the game, the less secure it becomes. It is a version of life in which everything works. “

Animal Crossing recently disappeared, which we might have called viral in a less terrible time.

Published on March 20. After weeks of fans unsuccessfully demanding early release, Animal Crossing: New Horizons sold record-breaking 1.88 million physical copies at the opening weekend in Japan, the greatest launch ever for a title on the Nintendo Switch console. It has become a real crossover phenomenon in the USA: fan art and memes that block social media, headlines in The New York Times and CNN, well-known fans such as Lil Nas X and Brie Larson (" KK Slider is a mega star for me, "Larson told Elle.com, referring to Jack Russell (and the guitarist in the series). Everyone from the Museum of English Rural Life and Wendy are there.

Two weeks and that Game continues to generate a stream of rolling coverage (latest headline at the time of writing: "Animal Crossing: New Horizon fans say there is a table shortage"), a feel-good news event that stands out from this other news event

If If you ever urgently needed to flee into a video game, it would be now, in the midst of a devastating global pandemic, gaming is a responsible way to isolate yourself and a social distancing policy to adhere to while offering an anxiety-free withdrawal from reality.

And surely there are many games other than Animal Crossing that would offer blissful, addicting distraction. In a delightful union of odd pairs, the game shared a release date with the first person shooter Doom Eternal in which you race through a fiery hell landscape at cannonball speed and blow up bad guys in the face. Who would have thought that the original cry of Doom Eternal would be drowned out by the delicate lullaby of Animal Crossing ? As many have recognized, the specificity of the experiences of Animal Crossing is unique and uncannily suitable for the current crisis.

" Animal Crossing was already a welcome relief from what's happening in the real world, but the timing for New Horizons is incredible," said David Thair, moderator of just one of the numerous podcasts from Animal Crossing . When we had a conversation on Sunday after the game was released, Thair had just returned from a loud "festival" in the game – he and his partner and friends had gathered on "Fyre Island", attended an opening ceremony, exchanged items and participated in a treasure hunt, stowed on ocarinas and tambourines and generally run amok.

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