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Among all the mashups that could exist in a video game, adding some of the cut-throat, competitive nature of Survivor to the calm and bubbly world of Animal Crossing feels particularly appropriate. And luckily, YouTube and Twitch personality thedragonfeeney has actually made this a reality.
Animal Crossing Survivor is an in-game event and series on Twitch where two teams compete in Animal Crossing: New Horizons to outplay their opponents and win a prize, which is, obviously, a lot of bells (the currency used in the game).
“I came up with the idea while watching a Nintendo Direct, and they had announced that the game would be taking place on a deserted island, and I was like, ‘You know what would be really good with this? Survivor,'” says the streamer, known as Feen, in a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter.
She immediately pitched the concept to some fellow streamers and received an overwhelming response. “It was going to start as a onetime event, but then it evolved and got bigger. I couldn’t just do it in one night, so now it’s a series and takes up all my time,” laughs Feen, who was awestruck by Sonic the Hedgehog on her Sega Genesis as a child and now streams “a plethora of Nintendo games” on Twitch including her all-time favorite, Super Mario Maker.
Her history with Animal Crossing dates back to New Leaf (2012), which she played on the 3DS. She picked up New Horizons on launch day and has so far logged over 200 hours in the game. From start to finish, “about 20 million bells” were required to design Animal Crossing Survivor, she says, adding that they were needed from everything from moving an incline to crafting materials and allocating bells as prizes.
Participating streamers in Animal Crossing Survivor include GrandPooBear, Jaku, Oh Hey It’s David, DGR Dave, Space Kat Universe, Taterholic and X Water. “We’re all part of the Mario community,” says PooBear, otherwise known as David Hunt. “It’s very tight-knit and close, and we collaborate on a ton of different events.” He self-identifies as a “huge Survivor nerd” and says he was “super pumped” to be involved. “[Feen] didn’t even have to ask me; I kind of demanded to be in.”
Hunt, whose gaming interests were cemented after playing Super Mario Bros. and Duckhunt on the NES when he was a child, began his streaming career after a snowboarding accident rendered him unable to ride. He says his favorite challenge in Animal Crossing Survivor so far is when they did a fashion show, where the runway was riddled with obstacles and players could have points deducted for having a bad walk-through.
Of the other challenges in the game, which include Capture the Flag, hide and seek, random dig challenges and more, there are a number of hurdles for Feen to overcome as the designer. “A lot are on the honor system since I can’t see all the interactions across the island at one time,” she explains. “There are also differences between players, so one person might see that they hit another person with a net, and the person who got hit didn’t see it on their screen. The hardest thing is making sure everybody’s on the same page, and the same frame, within the game,” says Feen, adding that she’s learned a lot about game mechanics.
Referencing the series, Feen concludes, “The thing for me is that it makes a lot of people happy, especially with the pandemic going on. It brings normalcy to people’s lives where they actually get to watch something that’s not regular streaming or the news.”
New “episodes” of Animal Crossing Survivor have been dropping each Friday at 7 p.m. on Twitch (the finale is next week). View an episode below.
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