Published on April 27, 2020

It’s possible you’re feeling homesick for a place you don’t even call home: Your usual coffee shop, the local movie theater, your coworking space. But now you can still visit these places while adhering to social distancing guidelines. All you need is a Nintendo Switch and a copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

The long-awaited simulation game, which debuted in late March, has emerged as the go-to means of escapism in quarantine. On your own virtual island, you can build your dream home, design the perfect town, and recreate the spaces you love to go IRL. It’s no wonder countless people are getting in on the fun—including brands.

The Wing has transformed its island into a virtual version of its IRL properties, including an outdoor lounge area and a pattern-filled powder room. Fashion designer Sandy Liang held a digital pop-up shop for users to snag in-game versions of her latest collection (with a donation to Give Directly encouraged). And one Instagram account called Nook Street Market—yes, a play on New York’s Dover Street Market—features Animal Crossing outfits that replicate those by labels like Louis Vuitton, Thom Browne, and more.

Players, too, have put their time and Bells (the game’s digital currency) into creating cute, cartoon versions of the places they know and miss—whether that be their school, a favorite restaurant, or a childhood bedroom; plenty of Facebook groups have formed as a means for them to share and trade patterns to help each other construct their virtual worlds. In a time that constantly feels uncertain, there’s particular comfort in a game that encourages routine and connection, albeit the digital kind.

It’s hammer time: Follow @reno_notebook for easy rental updates, clever DIYs, and tips to nail your next project.

Discussion