Nintendo’s new rules ban “political” ‘Animal Crossing’ islands

Bye bye, Biden Island

Nintendo has asked businesses to “refrain from bringing politics” into Animal Crossing.

It comes as the company announced a new code of conduct for business and organisations while using the anthropomorphic village simulator. Most of the stipulations already existed in Nintendo’s general code of conduct for all players, such as “do not deceive others” and “do not go beyond the age rating”. The point on politics, however, is new.

The new rule comes alongside a point asking players to refrain from creating content which may be considered “vulgar, discriminatory or offensive”, suggesting it may consider politics to be in the same category. But aside from the single mention asking for organisations to “refrain from bringing politics” to the game, no further explanation has been offered.

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In the run-up to the recent US presidential election, the Joe Biden campaign created the official Biden Island, complete with the then-presidential candidate himself, his vice President Kamala Harris and several election signs. It is safe to say this would now be considered against the code of conduct; it may even be what prompted Nintendo to exact the policy.

However, other issues are less clear. New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also created an island this year and invited constituents to visit, but she was not actively campaigning or electioneering. Her Animal Crossing island was not outwardly political, but she is a sitting Congresswoman. Some would consider every action she took to be political.

PETA had also created an island in an attempt to highlight their issues with the game’s fishing and bug catching mechanics.

There have also been many instances of private citizens featuring political slogans on their island, such as LGBTQ+ rights or Black Lives Matter. While individuals are not subject to these new rules, it could signal Nintendo trying to cut down on people using Animal Crossing as a political soapbox.

Where exactly the line is drawn on what constitutes “politics” is also unclear. The community frequently makes jokes about Tom Nook’s capitalist greed. We’ve also seen corporations like KFC create their own island.

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Until Nintendo acts on these guidelines, we don’t know exactly how they’ll be applied. In the meantime, Animal Crossing’s new Winter Update arrives today (November 19).

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