Mon, 19 Oct 2020 09:35:41
With only 15 days left until the US presidential election, Democratic candidate Joe Biden’s campaign launched a new virtual field office today for voters to visit at Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
“We are continuing to reach out to voters across the country wherever they are — including on Animal Crossing,” Christian Tom, director of digital partnerships for the Biden-Harris campaign, said in a statement. “We are launching Biden HQ, an entire island on the platform where supporters can further connect with the campaign.”
Biden’s Animal Crossing island, tacitly named Biden HQ, is thoughtfully designed with close attention to detail. Once you arrive in the island square, you know you’re in the right place because the town hall flag dons the “Team Joe” logo. Campaign flyers are strewn about the island on well-paved streets and intersections. The entire island resembles a Biden-themed virtual amusement park, featuring ice cream stands, model trains, and exclusive in-game campaign merchandise.
There are two main areas on the island. First is the Biden campaign’s “house.” But instead of rebuilding Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home, they turned the structure into a “field office.” Upon entering, the office looks exactly how you’d imagine it would weeks ahead of an election: coffee mugs are laid out across desks with laptop computers and boxes of flyers. One of the rooms is decorated as a merch store, and another is named “Joe’s Train Town,” which displays dozens of model trains, representing Biden’s favorite mode of transportation. The upstairs is sectioned off into two offices — one for Biden and another for vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris. There are posters of a young Biden and even the Howard University logo, Harris’ alma mater.
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“The island includes plenty of ice cream, trains, aviators, chucks, swag, and more weaved throughout the entire island — but there are also features that encourage players to organize and mobilize,” Tom said.
The second area is staged to look like a polling location with booths strategically placed outside. As you walk into the area, there’s a massive ad for the Democratic National Committee’s “I Will Vote” website, which provides voting information to people who access it online. The area also provides an Election Day checklist, instructing players to decide whether they’re voting by mail or in person.
Nothing on the island is left untouched. There’s a handful of decorated areas for players to take photos. Joe Biden himself even walks across the island so players can take virtual selfies with him now that rope line photo opportunities are on pause due to social distancing orders. Speak to Biden, and he’ll say, “No, malarkey!”
This isn’t the first time the Biden-Harris campaign has played with campaign organizing in Animal Crossing. In September, the campaign launched official Biden-Harris yard signs in the game. You will see these designs littered across the Biden HQ island in front of every villager’s home. There are also signs prompting players to text “AC” to 30330 to receive an exclusive Biden Island-themed shirt for their characters.
If you’d like to visit Biden HQ on your Switch, you’ll need to lay in a bed and fall asleep. Then, you’ll be prompted by Luna, the dream suite tapir character, to enter a Dream code. For Biden’s island, simply type in: DA-7286-5710-7478.
But if you’re without a Switch, or oftentimes leave yours uncharged like me, head over to the KindaFunny Twitch stream at 2 PM ET, which is run by gaming influencers Gary Whitta and Greg Miller, to experience a live tour of Biden HQ.
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