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Uncovering the Surprising Social Commentary In ‘Animal Crossing’

  • by Ben Yardley
  • 21 Days ago
  • 0

Animal Crossing is a life simulation video game series developed and published by Nintendo that has gained a large following since its inception in 2001. While the series is known for its cute and charming characters, engaging gameplay, and colorful graphics, it also contains subtle social commentary on various aspects of the real world.

One theme that is present in the Animal Crossing series is consumerism. In the game, players can collect and spend “bells,” the in-game currency, on a variety of items such as furniture, clothes, and decorations. The player’s ability to accumulate wealth is tied to their ability to perform various tasks, such as catching fish and bugs, and selling them to the shopkeepers Timmy and Tommy Nook.

99 Problems and a Bell Ain’t One

Holding A Mirror Up to Consumerism and Escapism

This mechanic can be seen as a commentary on capitalism and the pursuit of material wealth in the real world. The player’s status in the game is often tied to the amount of bells they have, and the constant desire to accumulate more bells can be seen as a metaphor for the endless cycle of consumerism in the real world.

Another theme present in the Animal Crossing series is the concept of escapism. The player’s character moves to a deserted island and has the ability to design and decorate their own paradise. This mechanic can be seen as a commentary on the desire to escape the stresses and challenges of the real world and create a perfect, idyllic environment.

However, the game also reminds the player that even in their paradise, there are still challenges to face, such as paying off debt to Tom Nook, the main character and landlord in the game, and dealing with the occasional annoying neighbor. This serves as a reminder that there is no true escape from the realities of the world.

The environment plays a big role in the world of Animal Crossing.

Animals and Nature Go Hand In Hand

The Animal Crossing series also touches upon the theme of environmentalism. The player can collect and donate fish, bugs, and fossils to the museum, where they can be studied and displayed. This mechanic can be seen as a commentary on the importance of preserving and understanding the natural world.

Additionally, the player can plant and care for trees and flowers on their island, and the game rewards players for maintaining a healthy and diverse ecosystem. This encourages players to think about their impact on the environment and the importance of sustainability.

Animal Crossing’s Cathartic Social Interaction Mechanics

One aspect of the Animal Crossing series that can be seen as commentary on mental health is the importance of social interaction. In the game, the player is able to interact with a cast of colorful animal characters, each with their own unique personality and interests. The player can also visit and interact with other players’ islands online, allowing for even more social interaction.

This emphasis on social interaction can be seen as a commentary on the importance of human connection and social support in maintaining good mental health. The game encourages players to form relationships with the characters and other players, and the act of interacting with others can have a positive impact on the player’s mood. The game also includes a feature that allows players to send each other messages and gifts, which can serve as a reminder of the value of acts of kindness and support.

In conclusion, while the Animal Crossing series is primarily known for its cute and charming characters and engaging gameplay, it also contains subtle social commentary on various aspects of the real world, including consumerism, escapism, and environmentalism. These themes add depth to the game and encourage players to think about the larger issues in the world.

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