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Bringing Late-Night to Gamers

by Amber Yoder

With 11 million users, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has quickly become the official stress-relieving game of quarantine life. And now, players are starting to use it as a platform for creative communication.

Animal Talking is a late-night talk show, created and set entirely in Animal Crossing. Developed and hosted by screenwriter Gary Whitta, the program has all the familiar elements of a late-night show, complete with a talk show set, lights, cameras, musical guests and monologues. New episodes are streamed live to Twitch, and the show has already amassed quite the following. Over 12,000 viewers tuned in live to watch the 4th episode. Recent guests have included actress Felicia Day, comedian Mike Drucker, and musician Raquel Lilly.

Animal Talking is a shining example of what’s possible when creativity and enthusiasm meet a new outlet. Whitta conceived of the show with his wife Leah because they both loved the game, were excited by the idea, and wanted to see what was possible. “We started out pretending to make a talk show, and now we’re making a talk show,” Whitta said in a recent interview. Even if Animal Talking doesn’t become a long term project, the cultural moment around it is authentic and endearing.

For communicators, let this be a lesson in experimentation.  Don’t be afraid to explore new mediums for unexpected content. Play with formats, and be open to discovering new ways to connect with new audiences. And above all, allow room for creativity and passion in what you do. That’s the key to authentic content that will resonate, no matter the platform.

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