One dedicated Animal Crossing fan has completed a 16-month quest to see all 43 pieces of artwork featured in New Horizons in real life.

In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, there are 30 paintings to collect, including the Mona Lisa (simply called the ‘Famous Painting’ in-game), and 13 sculptures, such as Michelangelo’s David (or the ‘Gallant Statue’, as the game calls it). All of these can be donated to the museum on your in-game island to create the ultimate virtual collection of artwork, although this is no easy task, as players have to discern between real and counterfeit pieces in order to complete the exhibit. 

As GamesRadar+ reports, TikTok and Twitch influencer mayplaystv (real name May) took this to the next level by documenting his journey to see all of these works of art in person and amassed quite a following online doing so.

From start to finish, May’s quest took him to 29 museums and exhibit locations (presumably not run by the Animal Crossing series’ talkative curator owl, Blathers). Getting to all of these required a lot of travel – in total, he visited 17 cities in 10 different countries (from Italy to Japan), spread across three continents. That’s no mean feat.

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“Thank you to everyone who has supported me with this goal,” May tweeted, celebrating his enormous achievement. “It genuinely means so much and I’ve made so many friends and experiences because of it[,] and got to travel the world because of Animal Crossing which is very surreal.”

Speaking to TRG, May says that his idea first began back in April 2022, when he was walking around London and saw a poster advertising the fact that one of the paintings from New Horizons was on display. After making a joke about the exhibition actually being an Animal Crossing exhibit, he began to wonder where all 43 artworks were displayed, and realized that most could be found in Europe.

“It was easier than expected, [but] there were some obstacles along the way, like not being allowed to film at certain museums, or having to resort to seeing fakes of certain artworks as the real copies aren’t on display,” he tells us. “There were times when museums were also closed or artworks were away at an exhibition elsewhere, so throughout the goal I learned a lot about how to properly research a location.

“[I’m] always a bit anxious when traveling to a new country just to see an artwork, especially if they don’t have it,” he continues. “But once I’m at the museum and I do see it, it is a big relief, so that’s my favorite part. [My favorite] artworks that I’ve seen have been the statue of David, The Great Wave [off Kanagawa], and A Bar at the Folies-Bergère.”

May says he’s been “overwhelmed by everyone’s nice words”, and says that many have been asking him to go and see all of the game’s bugs or fish in real life next. However, he has a different idea.

“What I liked most about the artworks was that [they were] specific to a place,” he explains. “I could see a certain fish in many places, but the Mona Lisa was only in the Louvre for instance. So maybe I will do the Gulliver items next as they are a bit more specific, such as the pyramids and Stonehenge.”

New Horizons is arguably the Nintendo Switch’s best wholesome, cozy game – it completely took over the internet when it launched in 2020, and provided a gentle, cutesy title for friends to play together, even when apart. However, it got its final major content update back in 2021, so many players have now moved on, ironically, to new horizons, in search of fresh things to play.

For more Nintendo game goodness, you can check out our selection of the very best Nintendo Switch games available right now. You can also look at our list of upcoming Switch games to see what’s releasing later this year. 

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