The National Videogame Museum (NVM) has been awarded a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Museum Association to collect histories of those who have been playing and living with Nintendo’s hit videogame ‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ during the lockdown period.
This new collection will focus on the cultural phenomenon that followed the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch in March 2020, just as the world was transformed by the pandemic. This videogame rapidly became an international sensation in which millions of players have been creating and managing their own tropical island along with a cast of talkative animal neighbours. The game became an important social and creative outlet for people unable to socialise in person during lockdown.
This innovative online exhibition will open up new ways of collecting, archiving and collecting videogame histories, and record for the first time a highly meaningful but ephemeral and intangible experience through the perspective of its players.
Iain Simons, Director of Culture for the NVM, said “Animal Crossing is the perfect experience for a lockdown. The coincidental timing of its release provided a welcome relief for millions of people who wanted to go outdoors but couldn’t, who wanted to meet friends but weren’t allowed. It’s no surprise that this incredibly creative, social space became a safe haven for millions during this turbulent year. ”
“With the fantastic support of Esmee Fairbairn, we want to explore the different ways in which videogames touch our audience’s lives.”
Since lockdown in March 2020, the NVM launched a fundraising campaign to keep its Sheffield venue alive. Its lockdown activities have been well received, and its livestreamed training and web activities were shortlisted for the Kids in Museum’s Family Friendly Museum Award from Home. The NVM recently announced that it was relaunching its online Saturday club, Pixelheads, that is running throughout the Summer Holidays.