Animal Crossing: New Horizons is Social Media
People might argue that video games are in no ways a substitute for real social interaction. Sure, video games do not have that real, true feeling of interacting with a person face-to-face. But in situations where we are in need of communicating with someone…anyone…doing so online is really our only solution. Not to mention that we now have the technology to do so (it’s in our lives inevitably at this point).
We have FaceTime, Google Meets, Zoom, and the other applications for video chatting with family and friends…but there’s no “fun” in that. If people can make a simple Zoom call amusing, then they must have planned for such an elaborate call.
Video games, like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, enable players to not only play the game, but to also be able to communicate and play the game with their loved ones when they are physically unable to do so in real life.
Think about social media: Within the many applications available, they provide us some form of enjoyment and the ability to interact with people all over the world. Animal Crossing can be seen as social media. A different type of social media, yes, but the game does provide the same benefits as Instagram does plus more.
An article from Cornell University, “Animal Crossing – A New Social Media?”, dives deeper into the idea that Animal Crossing is, in fact, a “new social media.”
“You can also add a player as either a friend or best friend, and send messages or mail whenever you want. These relationships can be seen as building a social network, perhaps with strong ties between your friends or best friends, and weak ties between those whose island you just visit casually through codes or the cloud storage. These relationships are unique in the pandemic times, where you can now virtually interact with someone, visit their home, share gifts, and explore together, which can retain current relationships and foster new ones.”
There are so many mechanics to explore in the (digital) world of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The best part about this is you do not have to do it alone. Animal Crossing: New Horizons has so many in-game features to explore.
The recent release of the franchise, New Horizons excited many seemingly lifelong fans. Each Animal Crossing game in the series had the same format: You move into a new town and you explore your newfound life the way you want to. However, each game advances in their special features.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons adds more abilities to communicate with those online to make new friendships and connections including the option to now allow seven other people online to be in one digital island (whereas previous games, the limit was three additional players), the addition of new events to celebrate with friends, new in-game furniture items to decorate islands however the player sees fit, and the players of Animal Crossing have created online mechanics of their own.
Nookazon is an online platform where Animal Crossing players can purchase in-game items with in-game currency. The only thing required to get the desired copy of Van Gogh’s Starry Night is to interact with people online…much like most online transactions. The joy with this method of getting in-game items is the ability to visit the seller’s island, or have the seller visit you. It is ultimately the player’s choice whether they want to become online friends with this stranger.
Furthermore, Animal Crossing: New Horizons provides more in-game mechanics that promote social interaction exceptionally. Though there are hardly any people who do this, New Horizons allows players to write letters to both, their anthropomorphic animal villagers and to the friends they make online. Players can mail them a heartfelt letter expressing their appreciation, send packages and emergency fruit to sell, or they can right an angry, hate-filled letter expressing how their newfound online friend is the bane of their existence. Quite like real life, except people express their opinions of each other on social platforms like Instagram and/or Twitter.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (and other video games can be seen as this, too) can be used as a “safe place” for most players. People have their methods for escaping the worries and stressors of real life, but investing that method into purchasing this game will make such a huge impact. The relaxing, atmospheric nature of the game and the ability to not only interact online with strangers, but also with your animal neighbors is very relaxing to most.
In regards to video games in general being “safe spaces”, writer Andrew Fishman, of the article, “Video Games Are Social Space: How Video Games Help People Connect”, explains: “Video games and other online spaces are “safe” for these individuals because they allow people to communicate when they want to, with little or no pressure to respond immediately and without requiring them to be in the same physical space with others.”
The joy of being in an awkward situation with a stranger online is the glorious ability to shut the WiFi connect off your Nintendo Switch, kicking everyone on your island off and immediately returning them back to where they came from (if only we had that luxury in real life). Communicating with people online can often put us in uncomfortable situation, much like communicating with people in real life. The only benefit of communicating with people online versus in person is the ability to remove yourself from the situation.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is safer than other social media platforms, like Twitter and Instagram. If a user is causing another distress, the “block” button is effective, however the user can simply make another account and keeping harassing others online. Animal Crossing keeps their players safe while using their online features. Animal Crossing: New Horizons also allows the player to select who they want on their islands to spend time with and who they’d rather not interact with again.
“Real social interaction” truly comes in many forms. Communicating verbally is just one way of social interaction, much like texting and using social media. Animal Crossing: New Horizons provides another outlet to communicate with those and to feel relaxed whilst doing so. New Horizons also enables players to do so much more than play online to effectively communicate with their friends and families, they also have the ability to sell their items online and to write letters to other players of the game. The game provides many resources to have real and meaningful social interactions. The special thing about this kind of social interaction is that it is through a video game and it is done safely.
Animal Crossing – A New Social Media? : Networks Course blog for INFO 2040/CS 2850/Econ 2040/SOC 2090. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2023, from https://blogs.cornell.edu/info2040/2020/09/29/animal-crossing-a-new-social-media/
Fishman, A. (2012). Video Games Are Social Spaces: How Video Games Help People Connect | ResponseCenter. Jcfs.org. https://www.jcfs.org/response/blog/video-games-are-social-spaces-how-video-games-help-people-connect
Good evening. I would like Feedback on if I found my “worthy opponent” for this rebuttal argument. Was I able to express my rebutment towards the opponent’s claim? Should I have elaborated more on this opponent’s initial claim? Perhaps added a secondary claim from this person?
Best questions ever.
1. Did I find my “worthy opponent” for this rebuttal argument?
—No. Nobody you quote expresses the categorical claim you attribute to no one: “Video games are in no way a substitute for real social interaction!” Is there such an individual? Undoubtedly. Do you need to find her? That’s up to you, but a more compelling rebuttal takes down a recognized authority, thereby achieving credibility for you.
2. Was I able to express my rebutment towards the opponent’s claim?
—Partly, but I think you’re missing two opportunities:
——A. “Social interaction” is an evolving term. It used to mean clubbing one another over the head, but that we before the telephone. For awhile, it meant interacting in person, or through the post office or the phone. No one these days would deny that email is “social interaction,” so, where’s the distinction between that and having a live conversation through WHATEVER medium with another living person?
——B. AC:NH is BETTER social interaction than many we could name. It’s safer. It’s less traumatic. It doesn’t pressure us to respond. It provides easy exits.
3. Should I have elaborated more on this opponent’s initial claim?
—I’m not clear on what you opponent’s claim is, but if you can expand the definition of “social interaction” and support the idea that AC:NH provides an “improvement” over traditional social interaction, you can SCOFF at the INFERIORITY of past examples of SI.
4. Perhaps added a secondary claim from this person?
Very responsive improvements, G00dSoup.
Regraded SUN APR 23