Animal Crossing is the Ultimate Connector | Culture Features | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Coverage for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians.

The Source Weekly has been here for you, keeping you in the know throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

We’ve delivered important updates and dispatches from a summer of racial unrest.

We’ve interviewed dozens of state and local political candidates to help you make an informed decision during election season.

And we’ve brought you 22 years of important news and feature reporting—along with all the events, happenings, food, drink and outdoors coverage you’ve come to know and love. We’re a newspaper for Central Oregon, by Central Oregonians, and it is and always has been free for readers.

If you appreciate our coverage, we invite you to spread the love and to join our growing membership program, Source Insider.
Support Us Here

Culture » Culture Features

Animal Crossing is the Ultimate Connector

The new Nintendo game has provided bliss for its players and one Source staffer


When the push to stay home began, Nintendo swept in to save us with the release of "Animal Crossing: New Horizons." I've spent countless hours playing the game, as have many around the globe.

Not only has it been an escape, but it's also a connection to friends and family. The beauty of "Animal Crossing" is when it's played with others.

My very own Source Weekly office. I haven't been able to find a laptop or computer yet so I'm still writing articles on a typewriter. - ISAAC BIEHL
  • Isaac Biehl
  • My very own Source Weekly office. I haven't been able to find a laptop or computer yet so I'm still writing articles on a typewriter.
When you first begin "Animal Crossing" you're entering into a deserted-island-getaway-package directed by Tom Nook, the greediest man on the planet. From there you work to build a community right there on your island, as other villagers begin to move in. You can design the island and your home as you see fit, but it's not all free. You have to work to earn Bells, Animal Crossing's universal currency, by selling items like fish, fruit and crafted goods. You might even earn a few by digging in holes or shaking trees.

Not only does the game build community, but it creates an economy with goals. With basically everything else around us shut down, it's been nice to build something—even if virtually.
Cube, one of the many friendly faces on the island of Boca. - ISAAC BIEHL
  • Isaac Biehl
  • Cube, one of the many friendly faces on the island of Boca.
I call my island Boca. I have a soccer field and a cliff-side campsite. I have the max 10 residents, a museum, convenience store and clothing store, all of which are amenities players earn as they progress in the game.  I'm creating my own cliffs and rivers, but it's not easy to decide which route to go. Plus, to relocate already built homes costs plenty of Bells, and I've already paid Tom Nook more money than I'll ever  probably see in real life, so I try to hold on to my Bells as long as I can.

Compared to other players my island is actually pretty basic. I haven't tricked out my island as much as others, because most of the time I'm running around with friends on their island or mine, which prohibits users from using the construction feature or decorating. But exploring through islands together is incredibly exciting.

One day I spent three hours entering into a fishing competition with my friends to earn money and prizes while we talked over audio chat. The other night I visited a friend's island during a meteor shower and we caught fish (where I found my new pet snapping turtle) and wished on shooting stars. I've played with friends who live in Colorado, Minnesota and Washington, and my brother and sister in Iowa.

Even as people have spent the last few months in their homes, "Animal Crossing" has allowed players to feel like they're still experiencing adventure with those they care about—or even strangers online who offer up codes to travel to their islands. It's bringing people together.

Living the good life on Boca! - ISAAC BIEHL
  • Isaac Biehl
  • Living the good life on Boca!
I'm not sure what I'll do next, but that's what makes the game so fun. It's the player's choice. Once I pay off my current home loan, I'll probably invest in a new room and turn it into an arcade or recording studio. Or maybe I'll finish building my new mega-waterfall. Who knows. I'll continue to send letters and gifts to my friends through the mailing system and giving out presents to my residents. Things are simpler on Boca.

If any Central Oregonians want to do some island hopping or swap gifts, swing on by to Boca. My friend code is 5509-5330-3227.

About The Author

Isaac Biehl

Isaac is living proof that "Iowa Nice" is actually a thing. A journalism graduate from Iowa State University, he regularly writes about music, the outdoors and the arts/culture scene. Isaac loves the Trail Blazers, backpacking and a good IPA. He plans to one day win Survivor. Your move, Jeff Probst...

Add a comment

More by Isaac Biehl

  • Glacier Funeral

    Glacier Funeral

    After commemorating the loss of Clark Glacier, the Oregon Glaciers Institute looks ahead at what's to come
    • Oct 21, 2020
  • First, Drive-in Movies. Now, Drive-in Concerts

    First, Drive-in Movies. Now, Drive-in Concerts

    Thump Coffee show includes performances from Redwood Son, Jeshua Marshall and Matt Puccio Jr.
    • Oct 14, 2020
  • "With Spirit" Debuts at BendFilm

    "With Spirit" Debuts at BendFilm

    Following locals Chelsey and Jason Magness, the film tells a story of love, loss and life through the lens of adventure racing
    • Oct 7, 2020
  • More »

Latest in Culture Features