People across the world have been enjoying Animal Crossing: New Horizons since it launched last March. However, those in China without the game may have a hard time securing themselves a copy of this global phenomenon.
China’s strict censorship when it comes to media and video games is no longer a surprise to some. However, for the country to take steps to ensure that people won’t actually be able to play the game has surprised many. That seems to be the case for Animal Crossing: New Horizons in the region.
One of the fastest-selling Nintendo Switch titles in the world is no longer available in Chinese retailers. According to recent reports, top e-commerce sites like Pinduoduo and Taobao have removed all of their listings for Animal Crossing from their websites.
While an official order from the Chinese government regarding the removal is yet to be seen, fans from around the world believe that that is likely the case as the game has been used for more than just entertainment by the Chinese audience.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons Become Protest Platform In China
Like in most parts of the world, people in China are currently advised to stay at home. Regular activities outside have been put to on hold as China is the ground zero for COVID-19. To get their messages across, pro-democracy protestors in China have come up with a unique way to let their voices be heard.
Using Animal Crossing: New Horizons multiplayer feature that allows them to visit the islands of other players online. In doing so, the protestors are able to make small protests within the game. They are also using the in-depth island customization feature in the game to make propaganda.
This is how #hongkong ppl spend our time during coronavirus lockdown – villain hitting in #animalcrossing, the villain is #CarrieLam, the worst governor in #hongkong history.#AnimalCrossingNewHorizons#StandWithHK pic.twitter.com/K5AbOTl9tD
— Studio Incendo (@studioincendo) April 1, 2020
It’s not just a casual game anymore
In a recent interview, pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong said that the platform is a great way to continue their fight. “Animal Crossing is a place without political censorship, so it is a good place to continue our fight. Even lawmakers in Hong Kong are playing this game,” he says.
Even though online retailers have stopped selling the game, there are still ways for fans to grab a copy of the game. One easy way to do so is by creating a Nintendo eShop account with a different region. Moreover, there are private online retailers who are helping others gain access to the game.
The current fear now is that the government could prevent access to Nintendo’s servers in China. This is the current worst-case scenario for the protesters, and many are hoping it won’t happen anytime soon.
Featured Image Courtesy of Nintendo