Animal Crossing has been the surprise smash hit of the coronavirus pandemic. The Nintendo Switch game has boosted the console's sales to an all-time high and it's one of the few bright spots in a grim time.
And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has decided to join in the fun. After it was revealed she had purchased the game, the representative for New York's 14th congressional district told her Twitter followers she wanted to play with other users and tentatively opened her DMs for invitations.
"Hi there! Very new to this. I would like to visit other random people's islands and leave a doodle or note on their bulletin board. Can I do that? If so, how?" she tweeted on Thursday night.
For those unfamiliar with Animal Crossing: unless you are friends with someone, you can't invite them over to your island in the game. A "Dodo code" allows you to invite a stranger to your island.
AOC made her first visit to an island belonging to Justin Mirsky, 32, and Laura Smykla, 33. The married couple are both casual players who are big fans of Ocasio-Cortez (they used to live in her district). When they saw the the invitation, they jumped at the opportunity to have her visit their island.
"I tweeted my code at her, and DMed her our code and also said, 'please come visit, my wife and son would be so excited!'" Mirsky told BuzzFeed News.
An hour after Mirsky sent the tweet, the pair got a notification that someone was visiting their island. Ocasio-Cortez visited the island dressed in a shirt with "AOC" drawn on it, left a message on their island's bulletin board, and exchanged fruits with the couple.
She even asked the couple for some help with the game. (Mirsky and Smykla have put 170 hours into the game between them.)
"She asked how we were typing so quickly, so we told her about the switch app that allows typing from the phone," Mirsky said.
Drew Silverberg is a recent graduate from St. Louis, Missouri. He's been playing Animal Crossing a lot (180 hours so far) because the pandemic meant he's been out of work for the past seven weeks.
He saw Ocasio-Cortez's tweet and replied straight away. He'd been waiting for an hour and a half when she finally arrived. It was the second island she visited. Silverberg dropped a couple of gifts for her, she dropped a few pears in return and then complimented his island.
"She was super nice and so complimentary about my island! She left a very nice note on my bulletin board and we briefly talked about how we both like Bernie Sanders, and then she headed out!" he told BuzzFeed News.
After visiting Silverberg's island, Ocasio-Cortez made another call out for Animal Crossing invitations on Twitter. In response to her house calls, one Twitter user suggested that the Democratic National Convention could be held in Animal Crossing.
"I second this motion," she replied.