Bored at home? Animal Crossing is calling your inner art curator

It has been hailed as a soothing antidote to coronavirus isolation woes and a welcome distraction for all ages to enjoy.

“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is Nintendo’s latest release for the Switch console and its release was accidentally perfectly timed to arrive when lockdown measures are confining players around the globe to their homes.

The fifth Animal Crossing game released by Nintendo is described as pure escapism. Once you customise your character and move to your own personalised island paradise, all you have to worry about is paying your mortgage to a racoon called Tom Nook. The rest of the time, you are free to gambol around your island, picking fruit, catching fish or simply lounging on the beach.

It is also billed as a ‘social simulation game’, which is perhaps what accounts for its widespread appeal during the COVID-19 pandemic. Players can connect with friends over the internet via a Nintendo Online subscription to visit each other’s islands, trade and boogie together in a simulated island nightclub. Now, the game has been given an artful twist thanks to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. It is offering 79,000 works of art from its collections for people to download into their Animal Crossing game and use to decorate their virtual walls.

The Animal Crossing Art Generator invites you to ‘fill your island with art and transform your home into a world-class art gallery’ with iconic pieces by Van Gogh, Monet and Rembrandt. Budding Animal Crossing curators just need to search the Getty’s online open-access collection, crop the artwork and scan its unique QR code using the NookLink tool on the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app to import the artwork into the game.

If Getty’s own collection doesn’t cut it, players can also download open-access artworks from other museums using the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) manifest converter.

The only caveat? Animal Crossing’s graphics don’t always allow you to appreciate the paintings as you would in real life, so it’s recommended you choose works that are ‘clear, bold and recognisable’.

Of course, not everyone is besotted with Nintendo’s latest offering. One critic describes it as a ‘frustrating, tedious and immensely boring’ game for children’. Maybe he hasn’t yet tried hanging a couple of Monets on his tropical island wall.

If you are interested in what real art Boodle Hatfield’s teams have hanging on their own walls at home, check out #OurArtIndoors on our Art Law & More Instagram page.

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