Just over a year ago I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself. It had taken visiting my Animal Crossing: New Horizons island every day for more than two years, but at long last that charlatan Redd rocked up with the 43rd and final genuine artwork I needed to complete my museum collection. I don’t personally know anyone else who stuck with AC:NH single-mindedly enough to hoover up every exhibit for the art gallery, so yes, I was a little bit smug about it. Until last week, that is, when I learned of someone who pipped me so comprehensively I had no choice but to cede the AC:NH artwork crown to them forever and ever, amen.
It’s not that Mayuren Naidoo collected every artwork faster than I did, but that after doing so, he was inspired to repeat the feat in the real world. Earlier this month, May posted a message on Twitter, with a cross-post to the Animal Crossing subreddit for good measure:
so 16 months, 3 continents, 10 countries, 17 cities, 29 museums and locations later…
i have officially seen a version of all 43 artworks that appear in animal crossing: new horizons in real life !!! pic.twitter.com/ZwFbQwI3Mu
— May 🏝 (@mayplaystv) August 17, 2023
“16 months, 3 continents, 10 countries, 17 cities, 29 museums and locations later,” he wrote, “I have officially seen a version of all 43 artworks that appear in Animal Crossing: New Horizons in real life!!!”
Judging by his Twitter feed and the fact that he apparently saw his final four artworks on the same day, May was recently in Tokyo, which is typically enough to have me in pangs of jealousy with no further context. But this idea for a grand tour is a next-level stroke of genius, and the fact that it had never once occurred to me that this was even a real-life possibility will probably have me kicking myself until the day I die.
I got in touch with May, and he was kind enough to answer a few of my more burning questions about his trip. It all started in April 2022, when he saw a poster for an art exhibition in London that featured one of the artworks found in AC:NH. “I thought it might make a cool vid of an Animal Crossing in real life thing, but then I started to wonder where were all these artworks, because it would make a cool TikTok series,” says May, who works as a filmmaker. “I knew some were in London, Mona Lisa in Paris etc, and when I worked it all out I thought it might be possible.”
“As the series gained more popularity there [were] people who reached out to say they live in certain cities if I visit, and [I] have made friends since visiting and meeting up with them,” May continues. “Such as someone who worked at the US Capitol where they have a replica of the Great Statue. I also met up with some other Animal Crossing creators when travelling, and it’s been a great bonus of the goal.”
I wanted to know which of the 43 real-life artworks had left the biggest impression, and May’s answer did not disappoint. “[My] favourite might be the statue of David as I never knew how big it was,” he says. “But it was a special feeling seeing the final artwork too so that might also be a fav.”
When I asked May if he’s still playing AC:NH regularly nearly three-and-a-half years after its release, he admitted that he’s mostly only dropping in to get footage for TikToks or to stream these days, but that he’s still a fan (obviously). “I do think there’s still plenty to do in the game, and I enjoy the slow paced aspect of it,” he says.
May’s story makes for a lovely addition to the ongoing legacy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a game that brought so many people comfort during the troubled year that was 2020. My hat’s off to him for unlocking this secret extra milestone achievement. Even if I am still really quite jealous.
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