The National Video Game Museum (NVM) in Sheffield, England, has announced a new project dedicated to chronicling the lives and experiences of gamers during the COVID-19 lockdown. Entitled “The Animal Crossing Diaries,” the project will explore the unique cultural impact of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which launched in March for the Nintendo Switch.
New Horizons’ release was unusually well-timed. The colorful island life simulator, which allows players to visit each other’s homes and hang out together in a beautiful tropical paradise, provided an alternative method of spending time with friends and family without violating preventative quarantine and social distancing measures. Since March, players have held birthday parties, family reunions, and even weddings within the world of the game.
The “Diaries” project will focus on collecting the histories and experiences of gamers who played New Horizons during the pandemic. A spokesperson for the Museum revealed that the project had received a financial grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Museum Association to help document the cultural phenomenon.
According to NVM Director of Culture Iain Simmons, “The Animal Crossing Diaries” will focus on “explor[ing] the different ways in which video games touch our audience’s lives.” He also praised New Horizons‘ role as “an incredibly creative, social space” as well as a “safe haven for millions during this turbulent year.”
Founded in 2015, the NVM was heralded as the world’s first video game-focused cultural center. It displays both current and historical video games, including interactive, playable exhibits featuring the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, gaming PC, and even the BBC Micro microcomputer. During the COVID-19 lockdown, the Museum has hosted several livestreams and educational activities, including training videos about how to create an interactive story, design a pixel art character, and even build your very own game from the ground up.
Learn more about the NVM and “The Animal Crossing Diaries” here.