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Animal Crossing: New Horizons used by Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters to demonstrate

If you can’t take to the streets, take to Animal Crossing (pic: Twitter)

People in Hong Kong might not be able to make it onto the streets to protest any more, but they can still do so in Animal Crossing.

Given its family audience, Nintendo is usually very cautious about what kind of online interactions it allows, for fear of people being abusive or sharing unpleasant images.

But in Animal Crossing: New Horizons you can make your own custom designs and posters, which other friends can see online. And players in Hong Kong have been using this to help keep the flames of the pro-democracy protests alive.

The various islands that sport anti-government posters and pro-democracy slogans can only been visited via invite, but photos of the islands have become very popular on social media.

香港獨立 #HongKongIndependence #AnimalCrossingDesign #動物森友會 — 🐱🐱叉燒喵 (@ChaiSilMeow) March 30, 2020

As highlighted by US Gamer , colour-coding is very important in Hong Kong, with the game’s distributor using a blue logo, where the colour blue is associated with government support because that’s the colour of police uniforms.

Yellow is the colour of protestors and that’s reflected in many of the Animal Crossing islands. Although often the protests are less subtle, such as a video of players hitting an image of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam with butterfly nets.

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This is not the first time protesters have used the medium of video games to promote their cause, especially after the banning of a protester during an Hearthstone esports tournament led to Chinese character Mei from Overwatch becoming a protest symbol.

Both Overwatch and Hearthstone are published by Activision Blizzard and protesters hoped that’d she’d become popular enough that Chinese authorities would end up banning her and/or Overwatch, thereby hurting the publisher.

Violent fights between mainland Chinese and Hong Kong protestors also played out in GTA Online, with the mainlanders generally winning because of sheer weight of numbers.

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