Island life simulator Animal Crossing: New Horizons is not just a beautiful place to escape from life’s everyday stresses. It’s also a powerful platform that can be used to spread political messages to a far-reaching audience.
Previously, protestors in China and Hong Kong used the game to broadcast “Free Hong Kong” messages, which ultimately led to sales of New Horizons being banned in China. Now, players have also used the game to declare their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, call for stricter rules and lesser funding for the police, and call for justice for the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others.
This Twitter thread collects images of one of the protests held within the game. It also provides links and QR codes that can be used to create protest materials, including a “Black Lives Matter” shirt and a “Justice for George” sign.
Some images from tonight's #Blacklivesmatter Animal Crossing pic event! If you take a picture in BLM AC gear, please take a picture and tag me! I want to see! #IsabelleSaysBlackLivesMatter #AnimalCrossingNewHorizons #ACNHDesigns #ACNH pic.twitter.com/JxvxJ0gP7e
— Indigo @ In Debt to a Tanuki (@ChocolateQuill) May 29, 2020
Additionally, many New Horizons-centric groups and social media accounts have been taking a stand and vocally expressing their support of the movement. In particular, the group Nook.market has provided its members with resources and information regarding how to donate to BLM organizations and participate in protests both on and off the island.
One typically humor-focused Twitter account, Animal Crossing Struggles, has been temporarily converted to a Black Lives Matter account, sharing helpful resources regarding donating and other useful information.
“The lives of real people matter so much more than just an account gimmick!” tweets the account — a powerful statement that is desperately needed in the current times.
The lives of real life people matter so much more than just an account gimmick!!!
— Animal Crossing struggles #BlackLivesMatter #ACAB (@acstruggletwts) May 28, 2020
Other groups have come under fire for their decisions regarding how to handle the situation. One of these is the Discord-based Nookazon, which banned discussion of Black Lives Matter as well as any use of the ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards) hashtag. Many players have chosen to leave Nookazon to protest this decision.