What Socializing In 2020 Looks Like: Virtual Game Nights And Island Visits On Animal Crossing

There’s always a bit of hope when one thing ends and another begins. That has always been my world view anyway. I try to see life from the lens of optimism, even in the face of crushing struggle and heartache. When 2020 arrived a global pandemic that brought a sinking economy, massive job losses, and the worse public health crisis anyone has ever known wasn’t exactly what people had in mind. I had hoped that the start of a new decade would bring about a world of possibilities. Instead, most of us of are staying home and wondering when this will all end.

What I miss the most since the pandemic started is being able to meet up with my friends and family without any fear of contracting a deadly virus or giving it to someone else. Many of us are longing to hug each other or picking a restaurant to dine in at. Though these things are temporarily off limits, one thing I am forever grateful for having is an Internet connection.

Thanks to advances in technology social distancing has been a bit bearable as long as you have a phone, a computer, or even a game console. Zoom hangouts, or whatever video conferencing software you prefer, have been the norm to host game nights with friends you aren’t able to physically meet up with at the moment. While seeing my friends’ faces during a video call won’t ever replace real contact with them, it does take some of the sting out of the necessity to remain apart. Doing the occasional Jackbox Party game night has been the perfect way to distract from our current situation by having fun and sharing several laughs with each other. Setting these up is a nice reminder to not stay in complete and total isolation.

Another way I’ve been “socializing” with my friends is visiting friends’ islands or letting them visit mine in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Recently I had two of my friends visit my island at the same time to let them see the work I’ve put into it so far. Seeing the cute representations of our real life counterparts almost made me forget we were playing a game. Armed with the game’s visiting function and the Nintendo Online Switch app, we’re able to chat with each other as if we were all standing in the same room together.

Reunited and it feels so good!

During a little tour of my island, I showed my friend the little park I created with tables and chairs. My friend sat in one of the chairs and I decided to join her. We spent the next few minutes letting our little characters face opposite one another as me and my friend used the app to have an entire conversation with one another. It’s probably a little strange that this is what meeting up has come to right now, but what’s nice about playing an escapist game like Animal Crossing is how well it brings back some of the social interactions we took for granted in our actual lives. Sitting at a table with my friend and having a face to face conversation is just one of the things I severely miss now. Luckily, in the world of New Horizons there is no coronavirus to worry about or the reminder to keep 6 feet apart from each other.

Our social lives have gotten stranger and stranger as this pandemic continues on. Despite the adjustments we all have to make, one of the things I’ll never take for granted again is how necessary having an Internet connection is to not only work from home or buy your essentials but also for human interaction.

I can’t wait for the day I’ll be able to have those one on one conversations with my friends or hugging them tightly when we meet each other again.

How we meet up in 2020.

How have you been staying in touch with your loved ones during the pandemic?


7 thoughts on “What Socializing In 2020 Looks Like: Virtual Game Nights And Island Visits On Animal Crossing

  1. I’ve actually made a few new online friends because of this whole situation and I am grateful for that part of it. I’ve been watching streamers and playing online games like GTA and ESO 🙂

  2. Been feeling really thankful for Animal Crossing and online gaming in general right now. I moved away from my hometown just before all this happened and playing Animal Crossing online with my friends has basically been the only form of “hanging out” I’ve been able to enjoy ever since. We’ve been having a blast developing our islands and showing them off to each other!

    1. There are so many ways to keep in touch with people, no matter where you are in the world. 🙂 AC has been another fun way to gather together and play with friends. No wonder so many people, even non-gamers, have been getting into it.

  3. Its always heartening to see people use games like AC to fill that void of social interaction. Whether it was fortuitous or not, Nintendo launching the game at this moment in time has really provided a positive influence and atmosphere for people to congregate.

    1. I definitely agree. The timing of AC’s release couldn’t be any more perfect. It’s probably the best game to take your mind off the current situation, while also being able to “meet up” with friends who also have it. Not surprising that AC sold a million copies.

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