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Smoking tobacco’s bad for your health, and the US Food and Drug Administration is constantly trying to inform the young ones of this. And what better way to reach the youths than with recognizable video games? A recent ad from the FDA’s “The Real Cost” anti-tobacco campaign uses Animal Crossing as a base to disturb and terrify its audience:



The 30 second ad begins with animation and art reminiscent of Animal Crossing (though a trained eye can tell it’s not actually recorded in-game). A girl attempts to sleep, but is subsequently kept awake and terrified by a hazy monster of smoke and fire that bellows in her face, which I for one have NOT encountered in my New Horizons copy. As she looks on in terror, the PSA flashes on screen in slick Hollywood hacking style: “Anxiety from nicotine cravings can keep you up.”

Video games and government anti-drug campaigns have a long and storied history, as immortalized by countless “Winners Don’t Do Drugs” screens on arcade machines decades ago. So something like this isn’t too farfetched. We wonder if they’ll next reach the youths with a Fortnite parody about avoiding meth or something. 


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Written by Amelia Fruzzetti

A writer and Nintendo fan based in Seattle, Washington. When not working for NinWire, she can be found eating pasta, writing stories, and wondering about when Mother 3 is finally going to get an official localization.