The COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered most theatrical productions and shows, but that hasn’t stopped a few innovative gamers from bringing theatre back to life. One Animal Crossing: New Horizons player has done by recreating the entire first act of the critically acclaimed Broadway hit Hamilton in-game. It isn’t the first time the musical has made its way into New Horizons, but it’s certainly the most ambitious adaptation to date.
Animal Crossing players have been flexing their creative muscles in earnest since New Horizons came out, perhaps more so than in previous installments thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With shelter-in-place still largely in effect, many have turned to video games as a img of distraction and entertainment, and over time, as a way of coping with the popular activities that are no longer accessible, like visiting popular locations and theaters. With an ever-expanding library of objects and wallpapers, players in New Horizons started a trend of recreating well-known locales from both the real world and pop culture, including an entire IKEA store. But while most of the other builds have been static recreations of scenery, a few especially patient and talented content creators have managed to produce some excellent shorts and videos on their islands.
In December, YouTube creator Guitar_Knight14 took it even further when they posted up a complete theatrical rendition of the first act of Hamilton: An American Musical, as performed by the cast of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Unlike earlier mashups, which were intended to be funny, Guitar_Knight14’s creation is a more direct translation of the original. With careful cutaways and dynamic camera angles, it views like a movie adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway smash, with impeccably detailed choreography and costumes.
Even those who aren’t fans of Hamilton can appreciate the incredible amount of work that went into the video — not to mention the amount of time. It can take days to produce videos captured from games that last only five or ten minutes, let alone well over an hour. And it involved methodical choreography and clever use of items, dancing, and emotes along with dynamic camera angles in order to add even more excitement and energy to the final production. For more information on how Guitar_Knight14 created this particular masterpiece, their channel also features making-of videos detailing their process, which should be helpful for other potential gamer-turned-playwrights.
Even if Broadway opened back up again, tickets to Hamilton are notoriously expensive anyway, so Guitar_Knight14’s masterful rendition allows those of us without the extra cash to make the theatre trip to experience Lin-Manuel Miranda’s opus from the comfort of our gaming chairs.