‘Animal Crossing’ Isn’t Just a Game — It’s a Political Platform

Activists have started to use the game to protest more than Tom Nook’s predatory loans

Aimee Pearcy


Images: NextGen America

For years, we have been debating whether or not video games lead to increased violence, and after decades of research, we’re still not entirely sure. But as the 2020 U.S. election looms, a much more urgent question has arisen: Can video games encourage people to get involved in politics?

The answer is probably yes.

For many, Animal Crossing provides a sense of stability in a time of chaos. According to a YouGov poll, 40% of American millennials — the highest figure of any generation surveyed — say they have been gaming more during the pandemic.

Animal Crossing New Horizons has proved especially popular, smashing digital sales records. So far, it has sold 13.41 million units worldwide. It has become the best-selling Switch game of all time in Japan, already overtaking the lifetime sales of the next best selling game, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

It’s hardly surprising. The release of the game couldn’t have been more timely. The virtual world has given players a sense of stability and a much-needed distraction from a seemingly unending cycle of devastating news at a time of global anxiety and…