Going upstream in the epidemic: Animal Crossing

BY DANYANG YUAN

Due to stay-at-home orders put in place across the world, the production capacity of many companies has decreased, and customer demand for products has also decreased. Cosmetic brands have begun buy-one-get-one-free discounts and the capacity of many food processing plants has also been significantly reduced. When discounts such as these become a major trend, there is an industry where demand has increased substantially: video game consoles.

    According to data released by NPD Group, the sales of Nintendo Switch game consoles in the United States in March more than doubled compared to the same period last year. In addition to the Switch, sales of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles in the United States have also increased by 25% compared to the same period last year. 

The surge in demand for game consoles is partly due to capacity issues. Japan has been facing a shortage of commodities due to supply chain problems. This has led to a shortage of supplies for Japan as a manufacturer. However, the European market and the Australian market have recently begun a large-scale restock. Stay at home orders can make work environments less stressful than before and gaming becomes a good method to pass the time, but with re-stocking issues, not as many individuals can get their hands on the games. 

    For example, the United States has not joined the ranks of the large-scale restock. Since early May, no inventory has been updated at Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy and GameStop. Even the Hays Walmart SuperCenter and GameStop are no exception. Some netizens speculate the United States might restock at the end of May and early June, but there is no official word at this point.

   Why did Nintendo Switch demand soar? One reason was the release of Animal Crossing, which became available in March. The game was released on both the NDS and 3DS platforms. This is the first time it has been on the Switch platform. In this game, players can build and transform their own islands as village chiefs, and villagers are types of small animals. 

There are no main tasks in the game. You can fish, catch bugs, grow a variety of fruit trees and plants. You can also design clothes and furniture by yourself. The small animals who are villagers also have their own personalities and stories. Compared with the characters that are digitized, they are more like friends who have been with you for a long time.

    The uniqueness of video games is that everyone can get different things through them. A Chinese Blogger recommended Animal Crossing to his mother. She has been studying slowly on how to play the game and didn’t notice the mailbox in the game at first. When she opened it, she found a letter written by the character’s in-game mother that every player can receive. The blogger ’s grandmother — and the player’s mother — passed away when his mother was in junior high school. The letter made his mother feel as if it was really a letter from her mom. She cried for a long time in the bathroom according to the blogger due to feeling reconnected to her own mother thanks to the game.

Perhaps this letter is a setting for many people, but everyone has different feelings about the details of these settings. However, in this game, there are always one or two beautiful things that will poke the softest place in the player’s heart. This is also its most attractive place.

    Because of the epidemic situation, many graduates have no way to participate in their graduation ceremonies. For many, commencement is a solemn, memorable and important ceremony. Therefore, in order to make up for this regret, many people held their graduation ceremony on Animal Crossing. Although it is much worse than the actual graduation ceremony, for things that we cannot change, at least this can make regrets less.

Compared to our real world, Animal Crossing is like another world entirely. But when you think that Animal Crossing is no longer so interesting one day, it means that it is time for you to return to your own world. Although our world is a little bad and not so perfect, fortunately, you can continue to achieve your dreams, make new friends and continue to learn and grow. Moreover, there is a gentle town in your game console that has always been with you.

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