Animal Crossing, kindness, and combatting isolation: understanding the impact of videogames under lockdown

The potential of videogames, specifically Animal Crossing, to create digital communities and generate kind space(s) in times of crisis.

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This poster explores the National Videogame Museum’s Animal Crossing Diaries’ project, funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Museum Association, which will examine the lived experience of Animal Crossing under lockdown through oral history and other ethnographic research methods. The project, and its approach, will contribute to ongoing conversations in gaming research, about the subjectivity of play, why and how we play videogames and why and how they make us feel the way they do.

The context of lockdown makes the investigation of the ways in which a game like Animal Crossing can provide community, both through online interaction with real players and digital interaction with fictional characters, a necessary endeavour. Not only will the Animal Crossing Diaries’ project facilitate experimental research into how we investigate modes and experiences of play, but it will also examine how we record digital experiences within a specific time and place, and the implications this has for preserving the digital.

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Imo Kaufman


Imo Kaufman is a first year PhD student at the University of Nottingham, funded by AHRC and M4C, doing a Collaborative Doctorate with the BGI and National Videogame Museum.