Students are using Animal Crossing: New Horizons to “graduate” college

Meg Bethany Koepp

Since schools and colleges are closed for the foreseeable future due to current worldwide events, New Horizons players have taken their canceled graduation ceremonies into their own hands and celebrated finishing their education in Animal Crossing instead.

March 20 saw the release of the highly anticipated Animal Crossing game for Nintendo Switch with New Horizons. It had been almost seven years since the last mainline entry in the franchise, so fans were understandably ravenous for the next installment. The game ended up smashing sales records in Japan, swiftly knocking Pokemon Sword & Shield off the top spot for the fastest selling title on the handheld console.

Many players have been using the life simulation to escape from reality during self-isolation, and some have even taken their gameplay to the next level by setting up graduation ceremonies to mimic their now-canceled real life ones – because if you’re gonna celebrate finishing college anyway, why not do it in-game?

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An Animal Crossing graduation

On March 28, Twitter user WhimsyWool shared a gameplay video of a group of friends “graduating” in New Horizons, with all of them aptly wearing graduation attire, titled “How students are going to graduate in 2020.”

One person stood at the front handing out diplomas, while others sat down on chairs and watched as a student walked on-screen and used an emote to mimic accepting their hard-earned achievement.

Everyone then clapped, as the individual sat down in their chair and waited for the next person to come along – much like a real-life graduation ceremony.

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On the same day over on Facebook, another user shared screenshots of his in-game celebration with friends. Again, wearing appropriate attire, they all sat down in chairs as one person stood at the front to accept their accolade – this time, using a surgeonfish instead of an emote.

Everyone in attendance wore a surgical mask too, which is highly appropriate given current world events and the unfortunate reasoning behind their canceled ceremony.

“Since we won’t be able to graduate in real life, we decided to graduate in Animal Crossing,” the caption read. The post, uploaded to the ‘Animal Crossing Memes’ group, quickly went viral with over 11,000 likes, 2,000 shares, and almost 700 comments at the time of writing.

If you can’t graduate in real life, why not take it to Animal Crossing?

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With New Horizons being a great distraction from real world goings-on right now for many people, it’s hardly a surprise that it’s being used to host gatherings like this – especially with everybody practicing social distancing.

Speaking of events, the first official in-game Bunny Day kicks off on April 1 in celebration of Easter. Zipper T. Bunny will be visiting towns until April 12, and hiding eggs that can be used to craft special themed clothing and furniture.

About The Author

Meg was Weekend Editor at Dexerto before leaving us in April 2022.