New Horizons (ACNH) and how it affects their communicative anxiety when interacting with other players: Animal Crossing Assignment, UPM, Malaysia

University Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM)
Subject Animal Crossing

This chapter introduces the study of ESL adult learners from Malaysia who plays Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) and how it affects their communicative anxiety when interacting with other players. They are video game players between the ages of 18 to 40 years old.

Hwang & Wu (2010) cited in Osman & Rabu (2020) found that participants from higher education institutions are the most commonly selected in DGBLL-SLA research. The paper commences with a review of past research based on the perspectives of digital games and ESL learning and its influence on digital games on communicative skills researchers. The gap in the study is expounded further and concludes the paper.

Animal Crossing is developed by Nintendo and the creators designed the game of social simulation that has birthed communities to gather on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Discord. These communities comprise global players from all walks of life. It gives a virtual island for players to live in and decorate, with many things to fulfill such as
gathering materials for crafting, catching critters to donate in its in-game museum, and many more.

The game has a few series prior but the study focuses on the newest edition; New Horizons. The players gather in these Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) communities to do trades for in-game items, sell turnips at the stalk market to make bells, showcase their island designs, and more. This game falls under a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) and social simulation game.

Kim (2014) did an ethnographic study of Animal Crossing: Wild World, an earlier version of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which further mentions the immersion of oneself in virtual reality that has interactivity as well as being surrounded by other online players.

The game as Kim (2014) explained, is a life simulation where gamers play out their characters in the game according to real-time. Therefore, players get to feel included in real-time events such as Thanksgiving Day, Christmas festivities, and New Year’s Day, besides having to enjoy the in-game events that include fishing and bug-catching tournaments.


  • What are the topics of communication among the ACNH players?
  • What are the reasons behind their communicative anxiety?

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