When is the last time you went to a museum? For many people, it may be all the way back to when they were kids on a field trip. No judgement here. It can be difficult to find the time to peruse a museum, plus it is a little hard to know HOW to enjoy a museum.
Are you supposed to look at every single picture? How long do you look at them? Can you skip stuff you don't like? It can be overwhelming, especially with people seeing how you are enjoying (or not enjoying) the art. Not that being in public has been an issue for anyone in the last couple of weeks.
For museums like the Getty Center in Los Angeles, visitors haven't been coming at all due to Covid-19. Instead, people have been at home watching movies and TV or playing video games. That's why the Getty has decided to make their art available via the new Nintendo Switch game, Animal Crossing.
Animal Crossing is a Nintendo video game series created by Katsuya Eguchi that plays like a social simulator involving a town full of anthropomorphic animals. The first game in the series came out in 2001 for the Nintendo 64 console. Since then there have been eight games released on various gaming systems like the Game Boy, Wii, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, and WiiU. The game is known for how relaxing and laid back it is. Compared to other video games, you don't fight enemies or save a princess. You simply enjoy farming, gathering materials, and making your village the best it can be.
The most recent release in the franchise is for the Nintendo Switch and it's a huge hit. People all over are playing, sprucing up their villages, and visiting each other to see how friends have designed their villages.
The fun in Animal Crossing lies in how you design your village and what special treats and surprises you can find in the world. That is where The Getty Center and the Getty Villa in Los Angeles come in. They are currently not open to the public due to the Coronavirus, but that doesn't mean people can't enjoy their artwork. The J. Paul Getty Museum's collection of artwork (more than 70,000 pieces) is set up to import their artwork into the Animal Crossing game via an open-source online tool to import
That may all sound complicated, but it's not. All you have to do is use The Getty's Animal Crossing Art Generator found on their website. Search for your favorite piece of art and it will give you a QR code you can scan through the Animal Crossing mobile app. That's it. You're done.
The Getty Museum isn't just giving its C-string artworks out either. The museum offers art from Manet, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Rembrandt. Be warned, these aren't going to be high resolution copies of the artwork. They can't possibly be, so if you are going to use it, you might be better off choosing simplistic paintings instead of something too complex. At the end of the day, you're better off truly admiring these paintings in person once the Getty is back open.
This type of synergy is exactly what makes people excited about a game and excited about artwork as well. Games who are eager to deck out their villages with great artwork will be lured into studying the fine art the Getty has to offer. If these are the types of creative solutions coming out of the Coronavirus, then maybe this horrendous situation isn't all bad.