The hit Nintendo game now lets players post virtual Biden-Harris campaign signs in their virtual yards
So much for playing videogames to escape reality — the 2020 U.S. presidential election has now even infiltrated “Animal Crossing.”
Yes, the millions of people playing “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” since it was released for the Nintendo Switch in March, in which players build their own virtual islands populated by cute critters, can now add Joe Biden campaign signs to their digital front yards.
Biden’s presidential campaign revealed its “Animal Crossing” partnership on Tuesday. “Show your Biden/Harris pride virtually!” it declared on its official campaign store, along with QR codes for players to scan and add the free political insignia all over their islands. The designs include the official Biden-Harris logo, a Team Joe logo, a “Joe” Pride logo, as well as a print of three aviator sunglasses in red, white and blue.
“’Animal Crossing’ is a dynamic, diverse, and powerful platform that brings communities together from across the world,” Christian Tom, director of digital partnerships for the Biden campaign, said in a statement. “It is an exciting new opportunity for our campaign to engage and connect Biden-Harris supporters as they build and decorate their islands.”
“Animal Crossing” has been a quarantine hit while many people have been stuck inside. Nintendo
has sold more than 22 million copies of the game since its March release, which helped its operating profits spike 428% in the fiscal first quarter. It sold more digital units in its first month of release than any other videogame in history.
And the virtual campaign signs fit into the Biden camp’s pandemic playbook of hosting more online events, live-streamed fundraisers and speeches, while Trump has continued to campaign in person.
Reps from Nintendo did not immediately respond to a MarketWatch query about whether the Biden campaign had to pay for those virtual signs to be available in the “Animal Crossing” game.
Trump’s reelection campaign has not officially created campaign signs or T-shirts for “Animal Crossing,” although players can make their own — and in fact, have already done so. There are Trump and MAGA insignia on many individuals’ islands. CNN noted that, so far, there actually appear to be a few dozen more “MAGA” and “Trump” designs created by “Animal Crossing” gamers than Biden designs.
Trump campaign deputy national press secretary Samantha Zager mocked Biden’s videogame gambit on Tuesday. “This explains everything: Joe Biden thinks he’s campaigning for president of ‘Animal Crossing’ from his basement,” she told CNN. “The Trump campaign will continue to spend its resources campaigning in the real world with real Americans.”
Many people on social media also groaned at the Biden campaign’s “Animal Crossing” signs, as well, recalling Hillary Clinton calling on voters to “Pokemon Go to the polls” while she was running against Trump in 2016, citing another Nintendo gaming title.
This isn’t the first time that political movements have made a mark in “Animal Crossing,” however. Players have also added Black Lives Matter flags and T-shirts to the game.