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Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Old Memories

By April 6, 2020April 22nd, 2020Author's Opinions, Notes from Leadership4 min read

ON BEHALF OF: Kara Brightwell, Community Outreach, Leadership

We have always encouraged our leadership to have presence in as many things as they can. Writing articles and showcasing the things they value and make them passionate only help us personify what our extremely diverse cultures are comprised of.

There’s something therapeutic about spending several hours pulling weeds, collecting fossils, and selling fruit. Of course, I’m talking about the new release Animal Crossing: New Horizons. This game is incredible, especially given new circumstances, but, for me, the deep connection to this game goes much farther back.

Animal Crossing on the GameCube was the first videogame I ever played. I vividly remember sitting with my older brother roaming around my town trying to catch fish and talk to villagers; I couldn’t have been older than 5. My brother is 6 years older than me, so we couldn’t share many video games when I was younger, but we shared this. This game was amazing for little me. It was satisfying without being objective locked and I spent hours playing.

When Animal Crossing: Wild World was released for the Nintendo DS, I was even more hooked. I could interact with an entire world however I wanted to, and for someone who is not amazing at mechanically intensive games, that was incredible. I filled my museum through hours and hours spent fishing, hunting insects, and digging for fossils. I talked with my neighbors and interacted with the community. My brother had an account on my DS and we worked together to build a town and still play together. Hours and effort-wise, Animal Crossing has been the game I have dedicated the most to.

So, you can imagine my excitement when Animal Crossing: New Horizons was announced. And man, were my expectations met and more. This game is amazing. It takes all of the fun elements from the original games and has added new content that has improved the game.

New Horizons still has all the collecting elements you remember. Fishing, insect hunting, fossil, and fruit collection, are still as important to game progression and enjoyment as ever. New Horizons remembers its roots, but it has also expanded. Weed collection, something that had previously only improved the image of your town, now earns you money. You can now collect wood and branches from the trees on your island. The rocks now produce items. The entire world has now become interactive and important, especially due to the biggest new mechanic in this game, crafting.

New Horizons has created a new interactive element. Now players can create their own tools, furniture, and other items by collecting items off their island. Everything on the island can be important and craftable, incentivizing active interaction with the environment and allowing more control than ever over the resources of this world. And this mechanic has much to do with the popularity of this game and the new connectivity of the Animal Crossing world. Some resources are island-specific; they can’t be found everywhere. So, players that want to craft certain things are encouraged to trade with friends and travel to other islands, all in the pursuit of bigger and better things.

This new iteration of the game is more social than ever. Communities are entirely occupied with visiting other islands and discussing crafting and gameplay on multiple social media platforms. People, myself included, are traveling to other islands and sharing designs and fruit and other resources and creating an amazingly connected community and I can’t help but remember my very first game. Every time I boot up my switch and load into Animal Crossing, I remember those wonderful days of playing side-by-side with my big brother, spending hours tracking down a specific fish or butterfly or cleaning up the island. Animal Crossing is a timeless game and that is incredibly comforting in a time of increasingly impactful changes.


The OU Esports Club is hosting periodic Animal Crossing nights for social focused programming for everyone, not just OU students. At the time of writing, they are Mondays (Today!) at 6PM CST.  Join us at to get coordinated and see everything we’re doing! We also made our jersey available in the game! Enjoy!

Mike "Moog" Aguilar

Mike "Moog" Aguilar is the Director of Esports & Co-Curricular Innovation at OU. He also works for OU IT doing project management and business analysis as well as an adjunct instructor for the Gaylord College of Journalism & Mass Communication. He is a US Army veteran, has worked for Apple, worked in the public sector, and is a photographer of two decades. Mike has been a gamer since the Atari in the 80s and has been pioneering esports and gaming development and innovation at OU since 2016.

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