Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has finally discovered the unofficial game of quarantine 2020: Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The charming little game, which released in late March, has been keeping folks going through the boredom, fear, and uncertainty as we continue to wait out the coronavirus pandemic. In-person town halls, press conferences, and meetings might be a thing of the past for now, but Ocasio-Cortez’s new obsession might offer her a non-traditional, virtual way to keep in touch with constituents.
On Thursday, Ocasio-Cortez announced her new method of canvassing via Twitter.
“Hi there! Very new to this,” she wrote. “I would like to visit random people’s islands and leave a doodle or note on their bulletin board. Can I do that? If so, how? Should I open my DMs for the first time since the Zuckerberg hearing for the Dodo codes?
Dodo codes allow players in Animal Crossing: New Horizons to visit distant islands, even those not owned by friends. The simple codes can be obtained by heading down to the Dodo Airlines building. In order to snag some codes for her visits, Ocasio-Cortez opened up her Twitter DMs for a full four minutes. The results, thankfully, were everything you would expect from a discussion about Animal Crossing.
“Honestly never in my life did I think opening my DMs would grant me faith in humanity but the brief window actually resulted in a lot of these messages being very wholesome,” she wrote. “People are asking for surprise visits to their spouse’s islands!! This is the love everyone deserves.”
Soon after obtaining her codes, Ocasio-Cortez headed off to grace some distant islands with her presence. Before she left, however, she made sure to review island-visiting etiquette. “Is there etiquette to visiting,” she asked. “Do’s & don’ts?”
A list of simple policies to maintain good manners was quickly provided. The general consensus appeared to be: don’t buy up limited items from the shop, stay off the flowers and ask before you pick any fruit. Oh, and make sure to give those flowers a quick water if you have the time.
The results, which she shared through several Twitter updates, were just as pure and uplifting as you might expect.
“Update 2: first ever House call (get it?) in the books,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote. “It was so sweet. Island belonged to a family of three. We exchanged fruit, took pictures, and I signed a bulletin note using my touch screen. I was floored by how fast they typed and they taught me about the app.”
She appeared to have similar success at all the islands she visited.
When she went to visit David Murphy of Lifehacker‘s island, she even showed off her musical talent with a “mean guitar solo.” Plus, once she headed out, Murphy was kind enough to share the note AOC left in her wake. In it, she thanked him for allowing her to visit and told him to stay safe. Why can’t Twitter discourse be this pure?
We could be seeing quite a bit more Animal Crossing content from Ocasio-Cortez in the coming weeks. Until the country reopens, she probably has nearly as much free time as the rest of us. What better way to spend it than planting flowers, chatting with new friends and, appearing on an exclusively in-game talk show hosted by Rogue One screenwriter Gary Whitta?
These are strange times indeed.
*First Published: May 8, 2020, 8:19 am
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT’s Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.