Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been out for quite a while now, with the release of the game on March 20th of this year, and it now being December 7th as of the day I’m writing this, nine months of one casual video game might seem like an absurd amount of time to spend playing a game so casual, with you know, corona, and the election. I wanted to write this about why I think Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the 2020 Game Of The Year… so far. And why Game Of The Year might not even matter.
I want to emphasize that while there are many incredible games either released or slated to release this year, like The Last Of Us 2, Cyberpunk 2077, Ghosts Of Tsushima, and many many others, Animal Crossing’s newest installment created a cultural moment, while we were all sitting inside sheltering from the coronavirus, we were all staring at our screens waiting for it all to be over. But with the release of New Horizons, came a wave of interest, curiosity, and creativity all focused around the game. You might not know Gary Whitta’s YouTube Channel but he created an entire talk show “Animal Talking: With Gary Whitta” and invites celebrities on to do just that, talk. He’s got episodes with Danny Trejo, Elija Wood, even Sting! This is a prime example of how a new game or platform comes along and allows us to share and communicate and just have fun with one another, while also being a source of creativity for everyone the game touches. 
Personally I have spent almost 200 hours terraforming, paving paths, creating gardens and orchards, and decorating my island with every item I can get my hands on. And so far, eh it’s not that bad. There is a LOT of grinding in this game, daily tasks that max out the amount of items you can get per day, things players familiar to Destiny would recognize the grind of daily and weekly missions. I currently hold a 4 star island rating, mainly because the entire back portion of my island is blank, but we’re getting there slowly. What really makes this game fun is interacting with the community made QR codes used for custom clothes or paths. These are what really add the extra spice to a specific area of your island. Whether it’s trading items, villagers, or the classic bell, finding someone through discord or this app ACNH Exchange, where you can find people selling turnips at ridiculous prices in their Nook’s Cranny, tips may be required but it’s all good when you’re flying home a bellionaire. ba dum tsssss
My main question when considering Animal Crossing for Game Of The Year is, does the circumstance of release, meaning quarantine starting to hit, everyone staying inside playing video games, do those circumstances push it over the top of other games this year? Besides, the main story with Animal Crossing upon release was the meme of it sharing a release date with Doom Eternal, a game on the opposite side of the spectrum of Animal Crossing, yet was another game which sold tremendously well this year. As I’m writing this The Last Of Us 2 is the fastest selling Playstation game ever, with 4 million copies sold within the first week. Many most likely have this game as their pick for game of the year and honestly they’re probably right. However I would argue Animal Crossing had a larger impact on gaming this year. Now this might not be true in a few years when all these games have aged, I personally think Animal Crossing New Horizons will be the game people continue to play longer than others but that’s a given, it’s a game based around daily tasks and real time events throughout the year. And most of the other games released this year are linear stories, now that doesn’t make them less playable, but we all know that feeling of finishing a game and sitting in front of the TV stunned at what just happened, craving more out of the game that just became a classic in your mind. 
Whichever game becomes Game Of The Year will undoubtedly deserve it, with so many titles still coming out this year it’s going to be interesting how they all stack up against each other. But being the consumer, we never really lose when it comes to games, while there are exceptions, there are year after year, games that are released that continue to inspire people to create new things either based on the game or just granting an artistic vision to an up and coming game developer. 

By ReviewSpot

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