Innovative new collection will track how the videogame has supported life in lockdown.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a videogame for the Nintendo Switch where you begin a new life on a desert island alongside a cast of cute animal neighbours. The game was released on 20 March 2020. At almost the same time, much of the world began experiencing periods of lockdown and self-isolation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the world was on pause, the island paradises of Animal Crossing: New Horizons thrived, welcoming those in isolation with open arms (and paws). The game became a routine part of everyday life. Cancelled plans were reimagined and reprogrammed to the virtual sandy shores of players’ islands. For many people unable to socialise in real life, the game became a vital creative space for personal connection.
The Animal Crossing Diaries is an innovative and groundbreaking new project led by the NVM that will record the diverse ways that players interact with the game during the COVID-19 pandemic. From everyday accounts of calm routine, to lavish forms of virtual celebration, the project will archive and understand how players create their own unique memories and meaningful experiences through Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
This is a revolutionary new way of recording and showcasing the playable histories of videogames, that will result in an exhibition at the Museum in Sheffield later next year.
Iain Simons, Director of Culture for the NVM, says: “Animal Crossing is the perfect experience for a lockdown. The coincidental timing of its release provided a welcome relief for millions of people who wanted to go outdoors but couldn’t, who wanted to meet friends but weren’t allowed. It’s no surprise that this incredibly creative, social space became a safe haven for millions during this turbulent year.
We’re inviting participants to submit their thoughts, feelings and experiences in any way that suits them. This is a totally open call that invites many to get involved.
- Diary entries about Animal Crossing
- Something you’ve written about your experience of Animal Crossing
- A video tour or screenshots of your island with commentary about events that have taken place
- A video of you telling us about your experience recorded on your phone
- Audio file of you talking with your friends about your Animal Crossing experiences
- Comic strips or other artwork depicting something you experienced in Animal Crossing (please only submit your own work)
- Copies or screenshots of your Animal Crossing group chat (with permission from all participants)
- Anything else!
This project is supported by Museum Association and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation via the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund. Its new funding stream, Sustaining Engagement with Collections, helps bring people closer to collections at a time when physical, traditional access is not possible.
About the National Videogame Museum
The NVM is governed by the BGI, a registered charity number 1183530 that educates the public about the art, science, history and technology of videogames. For more details about the NVM, please visit: http://www.thenvm.org
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