During a chaotic and unpredictable time, many people have turned to the Nintendo Game Animal Crossing: New Horizons as a haven. Through decorating, forming relationships with animal residents, and custom designing outfits, Animal Crossing islands have been used to gather, share, inspire, and restore. They are refuges during a deadly pandemic, but they have also become the battlegrounds for activists who have put their lives on the line. Surprising many, this charming game has become the catalyst for government censorship, charity drives, political campaigning, and growing quiet warnings to keep politics “out of the game”.
From Hong Kong to Black Lives Matter to razor blades and mayonnaise, the creative and complex Animal Crossing: New Horizon community grapples with questions every person who has fought for a cause has to ask themselves: when do I choose activism and when do I choose self-care?
Driven by the tension between safety and courage, PAWS looks at how a slow, sweet game of social relationships, crafting, and exploration became the stage for global tensions and tensions of the heart.