Diving deeper into the New Horizons game during the stay-at-home order

Samantha Cabeza, Staff Reporter

College students are playing Nintendo’s new game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH), that was released on March 20. Students have flocked to this game in hopes of still being able to connect with friends and family.

The stay-at-home order has restricted people from having social gatherings, which means students can’t get together and socialize.

ACNH has become a way for students to be together without breaking the stay-at-home order. They can run around, exchange fruit and trade goods.

Facebook groups have been created since the game has been out to help players trade goods they own for Bells. Bells are the currency used in the game.

They can be used to buy wallpaper, furniture and more. Players, or “villagers” will trade do-it-yourself (DIY) cards, home furniture or materials like wood and star fragments. They can also purchase these items from other players using Bells.

ACNH caused Nintendo Switch models to go out of stock on certain retail store websites due to the high demand from people of all ages wanting to play the colorful game.

There are four previous Animal Crossing games released over the years that had a large following. Josie Gallup, a senior English major with a specialization in professional and creative writing, said she thinks ACNH became popular extremely fast because it’s a social game.

She said it’s a fitting game for students during this time, especially during the pandemic.

“Instead of texting or FaceTiming somebody, you can ‘physically’ run around and spend time with your friends. You can show them your island and what you have been working on while you are at home,” Gallup said. “It feels like you are actually there, and you can’t get that from texting or calling.”

Gallup is involved in the trading world of ACNH. She is in a Facebook group to get design codes for her island and uses the website Nookazon to purchase in-game items she is looking for.

Nookazon is an online website players use to buy and sell furniture and DIY cards they no longer want. It is a source for all players to use when they’re looking for items or no longer want them.

Nookazon also trades villagers, which are animal neighbors who eventually leave to go to the next island.

If a player’s villager is moving out, they post a photo to tell other players they need a new home.

The player who wants the character will purchase the villager using in-game currency and let them move into their empty plot on their island. Nookazon uses Discord, a messaging app, to contact in-game sellers to close a deal on an item.

The buyer then sets up a DodoCode, which is a passkey for the seller to be able to come to their island. They then drop off the item, exchange Bells and go on with their day.

Gallup said a foolproof way of selling is to set up a fence around the airport entrance so the seller can’t run around the island and mess anything up. Trading and selling has become more popular the longer the game has been out.

Players have a way of trading without having to buy anything which is called “cataloging.” This means the player has a way of adding the item to their inventory and then removing it, giving it back to the original owner.

Later on, when they are ready to purchase, they use the in-game service “Nook Shopping” to order it when they have enough Bells.

Sellers have gone to eBay to sell game currency. Certain sellers will sell players over 10 million Bells for $6.50 or more on eBay. Gallup purchased 8 million Bells from eBay and was able to pay off a house loan in the game and purchase furniture she’s been wanting for a while.

“I basically had to call my bank and tell them everything was okay because my card was getting declined. I had to explain I was buying something for a game,” Gallup said.