Being disabled has its downside, I didn’t have the opportunity to build relationships and ended up feeling isolated. This isolation only intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, but during this time I found Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which at first, I found overwhelming. So many people were playing it online, kindly giving out their friend codes, inviting others to visit their town or village; I would have immediately started out making friends with strangers, but my history with making friends with people had been rocky in the past.
During these toxic long-distance friendships, I ended up finding myself crying every day and I was always up like a bunny rabbit at night and woke up fresh in the morning only to experience more negativity. However, I thought that Animal Crossing: New Horizons would offer new opportunities, so I told my mother that I would have new friends due to Animal Crossing. She was instantly worried and cautioned me to not make friends with anyone even more so because of what happened in the past. I ended up anonymously asking people who I knew played Animal Crossing for their friend code, and I ended up realizing that there isn’t anything to be afraid of. Instead of going in with a heavy heart, I came away with a bucket full of sunshine, because I opened myself up to making new friends.
I find myself now talking about what types of animals I have in my village, living through other’s adventures, but I was still a bit worried that I may not be able to communicate with others. I ended up finding a world of players through Discord, Twitter, and Tumblr. On these platforms, I learned about changing clothes, chores, animals, houses, and even furniture. I love the collecting of seasonable items and the seagull that gets washed up from the sea. The fishing competition is a great joy of mine as the citizens all gather around, ready to catch the largest fish.
Because of this game, I can talk about the joy and happiness that comes through the screen when connecting with each other. I can trade fruits with others to get a whole orchard of the wide variety the game has to offer. I get to see people with fields of flowers on their island and the humorous conversations about how Tom Nook would be a slum lord if he was a real person.
I’m in constant awe of people’s towns, there are even people with who I share birthdays. The times I would stay up hoping I could make a friend or someone to talk to hasn’t been hard for me. There aren’t any warning signs of the people who I come across. Everyone is nice and inviting and has a lot of things to say.
I was shocked at how many people don’t mind sharing their friend code and is willing to hang out for a moment. The mistreatment I had has been healed, because of Animal Crossing: New Horizons I realize I am a human being with a voice and that I should be treated with respect. It doesn’t matter if I’m disabled or not, I’m still a human being and this human being loves interacting with others.
The interactions and conversations are a never-ending experience, and hopefully, these friendships can last a lifetime. Sometimes, we even see if we have something in common other than Animal Crossing to my surprise there is. We can exchange a conversation that brightens my day and hopefully theirs as well. It’s amazing how one video game can change my whole life around. I can proudly say that I have some friends and there is always room for more.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons encourages me to step out of my comfort zone, whenever I see a fellow gamer with their Animal Crossing logo or seeing K.K. Slider or even Tom Nook. I give them a warm welcome because this fandom has nothing but healed me. I’m no longer afraid of putting myself out there. So, the next time when I come across my fellow players it will be filled with happiness and entertainment.