Exploring and Expressing Creativity in Animal Crossing: New Horizons
By: Jelena Lapuz
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was actively creative in my daily life. As an English major part of a collegiate dance team, I would write and dance on a regular basis until COVID-19 changed the world as we know it, leaving me in a creative slump. Isolated from friends and family, stressed about current events, and unable to enjoy a true college experience, I felt too exhausted and unmotivated to be creative — at least in the traditional sense. In order to avoid burnout, I turned to a life simulation video game like Animal Crossing: New Horizons as my new way to stay creative.
The latest installment in the Animal Crossing video game franchise is Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a life simulation game in which the player moves onto a remote island with anthropomorphic animal villagers and has the opportunity to fully develop the island into a five-star community. As the player progresses through the game, there are numerous ways to explore and express creativity while completing daily tasks. I personally enjoyed styling myself and the other villagers, furnishing and renovating my house, designing my own clothes and customization patterns, and decorating my island however I liked.
For instance, I recently became inspired to add a carnival to my island. After choosing the location, I paved the ground with a customized path pattern, set up fencing around the perimeter, placed the carnival-themed furniture I already owned, and crafted the other necessary materials. The result was an adorable carnival fit for my villagers to enjoy, complete with game booths, food stalls, and rides. Another creative project I worked on was the renovation of my house. After collecting specially-themed furniture over time, I decorated each room in my house to match a general outdoor theme, which included a beach-themed room, an ocean-themed room, a jungle-themed room, and a volcano-themed room. I especially loved the ambience that was unique to each room as a result of my renovation.
With the game’s nostalgic and wholesome atmosphere, there is something so incredibly satisfying about life in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, especially if you have been an avid fan of the franchise since childhood like I have. Therefore, while I may not have been creative in the traditional way, I found a new way to stay creative during COVID-19 that allowed me a virtual escape from reality while still being creatively productive.