Last year, Animal Crossing was the escape many of us needed. Now, the franchise is being honoured with a place in the hallowed halls of gaming. 2001’s Animal Crossing for GameCube is among four new games to be inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame, an honouree for its impact on the world. It’s joined by Microsoft Flight Simulator, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and StarCraft in the class of 2o21.
It’s a massive achievement for Animal Crossing, which has long been regarded as one of Nintendo’s ‘B-tier’ franchises, rather than the AAA hit it became in 2020. While it’s the original game being honoured, rather than the recently released New Horizons, the accolade is designed to encompass the entire franchise — and the choice was no doubt influenced by the impact the game had last year.
In a time when we could barely see our friends and family, Animal Crossing: New Horizons briefly became the sole way to hang out and chat with mates. It played an important part in making the coronavirus pandemic manageable for many gamers, and it’s great to see the game get the recognition it deserves from such a significant body.
The Video Game Hall of Fame is housed in the massive Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, and aims to collect ground-breaking video games of significance. As of writing, the Museum of Play is the largest collection of video games anywhere in the world, housing around 60,000 unique items.
Voting criteria for inclusion is strict, and includes whether a game is “iconic”, has achieved longevity, has a large geographical reach or has great influence on the world. Each inductee is displayed in the museum’s eGameRevolution exhibit, which features an interactive timeline of games history for everyone to play through.
If there’s a game you want to see inducted you can nominate your favourite titles, but the process is highly competitive and the museum only lets in a handful of games every year. By celebrating Animal Crossing on its 20th anniversary, the Museum of Play has recognised the hours of joy it’s given to gamers across multiple generations and legitimised its contributions to the world of gaming.
Its induction ensures the game will be preserved and enjoyed for many years to come — as it should be.
Long live Animal Crossing.