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OpinionColumnistsMike Cusanelli

Joe Biden brings 2020 presidential campaign to Animal Crossing video game

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris campaign signs featured

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris campaign signs featured in the Nintendo video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Credit: Screenshot courtesy

Players of the popular Nintendo video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons can now show their support for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris with a set of free virtual yard signs.

Biden’s entrance into the world of Animal Crossing means there is now no safe space to escape from the 2020 presidential campaign. Similarly, Hillary Clinton urged voters to “Pokemon Go to the polls!” in 2016, causing many gamers to cringe in embarrassment.

The Biden campaign announced the launch of virtual campaign materials on its official store site on Tuesday. Anyone can download four yard-sign designs through the Nintendo Switch Online app, with QR codes pointing players to the specific designs they would like to display on their in-game island. The images include pixelated versions of the Biden-Harris logo, a “Team Joe” image, the word “Joe” with a rainbow Pride theme, and a tongue-in-cheek version of Biden’s aviator glasses colored in red, white and blue.

Some Animal Crossing players have made their own Trump-inspired items to display on their islands, but so far there have not been any official Trump campaign merchandise for use within the game.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a game for the Nintendo Switch that tasks players with building and maintaining a virtual tropical island. As head honcho of the island, players can build homes, decorate their island with furniture, and invite other players to visit them via the internet to engage in activities like fishing and bug catching. 

According to Nintendo’s latest sales figures, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has sold more than 22 million copies worldwide since launching in March, and is the second highest-selling game for the Nintendo Switch console. The game has remained particularly popular with players due to the ongoing COVID-19 quarantine and the game’s main goal, which is simply spending time with friends within the game world.

And for those who may be fooled by the game’s cutesy aesthetic into thinking Animal Crossing is only for children, consider this: Nintendo reported that a major demographic for the game are players in their 20s and 30s, making the Biden campaign’s strategy to market to gamers seem like a pretty sound decision.