Animal Crossing: New Horizons hasn’t been just another Nintendo release. In 2020, it became a major bridge of connectivity between friends and family who couldn’t see each other thanks to the dangers of the pandemic. In the early days of COVID-19, the game’s portal of creativity helped players develop unique ways to communicate and commemorate personal events.

For example, when schools closed and graduation ceremonies were put on-hold, students took matters into their own hands by throwing digital ceremonies in Animal Crossing. Even Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) jumped on the island to interact with other players.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were also celebrated in the game through the Winter Update, but the New Year’s Countdown continued the game’s line of holiday celebrations. While other games obviously also contain holiday events (looking at you, Nuketown Holiday 24/7), Animal Crossing: New Horizons has maintained a vital social connection and form of escape that has been desperately needed during the pandemic.

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The New Year’s Event promoted a cozy at-home celebration complete with in-game party poppers and light sticks. At 11pm, players were able to join the other villagers at the plaza, where the official countdown began. At 11:59, the villagers turned their attention to the sky as fireworks helped welcome 2021.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons may have been released last March, but it has continued to be one of the most beloved titles of this generation. How have titles like Animal Crossing reshape the way you interact with others?