The Animal Crossing: New Horizons fan that traveled across 3 continents to see all of Redd's artwork in real life has revealed it started out as a joke.
Back in 2022, Mayplaystv - Animal Crossing fan and TikTok creator - began their travel series after posting a video to TikTok which saw them visiting 27 out of 43 of the artworks available from con-man Redd's Treasure Trawler in the game. By August 2023, they had managed to see all 43 by visiting 10 different countries.
If you didn't know, all of the art in the game is based on real-life pieces of art (eg: the Mona Lisa = Famous Painting, Vincent Van Gogh's Sunflowers = Flowery Painting, etc.) What this means is that you can go see the Animal Crossing artifacts in the real world, where they existed for many, many years before Nintendo ever released its island getaway game.
Originally, the series started out as a bit of a joke, May tells GamesRadar+: "I live in London, and in April 2022, I was walking down the Strand and saw a poster for an exhibition for one of the artworks. [...] I decided to tweet a dumb joke that it was an Animal Crossing exhibition and then I started to wonder where all the artworks actually were."
The Animal Crossing fan continues: "I knew the Rosetta Stone was in London and the Mona Lisa was in Paris, which was near, but when I made a spreadsheet of them all, I found out most were in Europe and it might be possible to see them all in real life." So, like any dedicated fan would, they set off on the several-month-long adventure.
May's travels took them across the UK, to France, Japan, Germany, the United States, and more. By searching for these pieces of art, this Animal Crossing fan actually experienced more countries and cultures than they maybe would have done without the artwork challenge. "This goal made me travel to America and Asia for the first ever time," May explains, "this was an incredible experience and I really enjoyed experiencing the culture and sights of so many cities across the world."
Not every part of the 16-month-long trip was plain sailing though, as the TikTok creator explains: "Some museums didn’t allow me to film which was stressful as I was making this for a TikTok series too." May's troubles weren't limited to just filming either; May also came up against the pretty big problem of some of the artwork not being available to see at all, so had to resort to seeing fake copies just to tick them off the list.
To be fair, May basically got the authentic Animal Crossing experience. If you're familiar with the game, you'll know that bootleg art is pretty on-brand, since art dealer and crafty fox Redd is known for selling both real pieces of art and forgeries - which players need to ascertain before donating them to the museum.
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/ZwFbQwI3MuAugust 17, 2023
Naturally, we asked May what the next challenge will be. Alongside the art, Animal Crossing: New Horizons players are also able to donate fish, bugs, sea creatures, and fossils to their island's museum - so there's a lot of potential.
"A lot of people say I should do the fish or bugs next but what I liked about the art is that it was often specific to a certain place," May explains, "whereas I could see a certain fish at basically any aquarium, it doesn’t feel as special. I have been thinking of doing the Gulliver items as these are mostly specific to a place too, such as the pyramids or Stonehenge."
Missing island life? Take a look at our games like Animal Crossing list.