In the hellscape that is 2020 where everyone is playing video games for unprecedented amounts of time, I guess it makes sense that the 2020 presidential election is making its way into games that people are playing most right now, and that includes Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The Verge reports that The Biden-Harris campaign is about to spread into your Nintendo Switch, where the former vice president Joe Biden is releasing official designs for your in-game signage and shirts and whatever you decide to use them for. These kinds of things are used to promote political campaigns all the time, but it’s not often that they make them into video games. You can put these signs in your yard or wear these shirts in real life, but if everyone is properly social distancing and staying at home, no one would see them. So I guess if you’re wanting to rep who you’re voting for, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is about as good a place as any. But really, the game has become its own social hub in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, with people holding events that they’re missing out in this year like graduations, birthday parties, and even Pride in Nintendo’s life/management sim. And it sounds like the Biden-Harris campaign is aware of that, as Christian Tom, director of digital partnerships for the campaign, told The Verge:
“Animal Crossing is a dynamic, diverse, and powerful platform that brings communities together from across the world. It is an exciting new opportunity for our campaign to engage and connect Biden-Harris supporters as they build and decorate their islands,” Tom said in a statement. “As we enter the final campaign stretch towards November, this is one way we are finding new creative and innovative ways to meet voters where they are and bring our supporters together.”
From the sound of it, the campaign is just getting started with these kinds of digital engagements, which means something like the long-joked-about presidential debate in Fortnite is getting closer to an actual, tangible reality.
“This is just the start of how we plan to engage players ahead of November as we’re already looking forward to rolling out more digital swag, voter education tools, and organizing efforts on Animal Crossing and other platforms,” Tom said.
More Animal Crossing: New Horizons:
- Gillette’s Inclusive Designs Show the Strengths and Weaknesses of Animal Crossing’s Customization
- This Animal Crossing: New Horizons Player Designs Cute Villager Embroidery
- Streamers Are Getting in on the Animal Crossing Tourism Business
Will this help Biden win the coveted Gamer Vote after his malarky earlier this year where he had not nice things to say about video games? Is this his way of going after the single issue voter of gamers who can only understand how deeply, deeply broken things are if they can see it contextualized in video games? Or is the Biden-Harris campaign just taking a note from U.S Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and engaging with people at eye-level? Will it matter? Will any of this matter? Is anything going to stop the nightmare that is coming our way in November? Who can say? Not I!