Joe Biden’s Campaign Enters the Virtual World of Animal Crossing

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Margaret Bingham, Writer

The smash hit Animal Crossing video game franchise, made by Nintendo, is popular for its adorable and sweet-hearted gameplay, cute characters, and most recently- advertising Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, with a new option for the villagers to represent the Democratic vote with Biden/Harris yard signs, and swag.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a 2020 video game, made for the Nintendo Switch. It is the fifth in the series and was released on March 20, 2020. And, as expected, became a huge success during the pandemic.

Starting in September, Nintendo began allowing players (villagers) to decorate their yards, houses, and even clothing with virtual Democratic designs. And, with the pandemic keeping us all stuck at home, the Biden/Harris campaign isn’t about to pass up the opportunity to appeal to the millions of quarantined gamers who could represent potential votes. 

The Biden campaign designed many sign designs for players to add to their game. Four of which include the official Biden/Harris logo, a Team Joe logo, the “Joe” LGBTQ+ Pride logo, and a picture of aviator sunglasses with red, white, and blue colored lenses. Players can download the signs in-game by scanning a QR code with the Nintendo Switch app.

Trump supporters have been making their own signs all along (but the Biden/Harrison ones are official) that are called villager versions, homemade ones. There are ones that say “Make America Great Again” and “Trump.” These designs created by gamers have been circulating since the game’s release, so everyone has the opportunity to represent their political party in-game.

Nintendo has also made a Joe Biden character, and a Kamala Harris one, both of which have the trademark Animal Crossing feel: Adorable.

While no Donald Trump villager has actually been created for the game yet, it seems unlikely that the Trump campaign will jump on the trend because Trump’s campaign deputy national press secretary Samantha Zager scoffed at Biden’s Animal Crossing campaign recently, saying “This explains everything: Joe Biden thinks he’s campaigning for president of ‘Animal Crossing’ from his basement,” she told CNN.

This truly is a different move for the gaming franchise. Animal Crossing has done something that many political campaigns have failed to do: It’s connected the   gaming community to presidential politics. 

In several ways, this is a match made in heaven. Animal Crossing is such a diverse gaming community that unites a variety of characters with different backgrounds, socioeconomics, and histories as they work together to make their community the best that it can be. Maybe America should be that way…

“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,” Christian Tom, the director of digital partnerships for the Biden campaign, said in a statement to The Verge. 

“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.” Tom said.

Who knows if this virtual strategy will actually work for the Biden/Harris campaign? Until we do, it is time for villagers to grab a shovel, and dig into the conversation.