Monterey Bay Aquarium has teamed up with a Smithsonian entomologist for a Twitch Animal Crossing bug field trip livestream.
Manager of the Smithsonian’s entomology collections, Floyd Shockley, joined Emily Simpson and Patrick Webster from the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a two hour live stream on the Twitch gamers’ platform.
The trio found virtual bugs in the game and discussed the real-life versions of wildlife they found, reports the Smithsonian Magazine.
An accurate simulation
Watch Hello, Fellow Squids! Ep. 8: It’s Beetlemania on MonteryBay Island with Dr. Floyd the Beetle Guy from the Smithsonian NMNH! from MontereyAq on www.twitch.tv
Simpson said that “As soon as I started playing the game, I realised that it was such a great natural history museum simulator. So many of the animals [in] the game, especially the fish, have stories that relate immediately back to the aquarium.”
Within Animal Crossing, different creatures and flora appears based on the current season. This makes it very realistic. For example, at the beginning of May, new beetle species started to appear in the game as the northern hemisphere entered mid-spring.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium therefore wanted an expert to discuss these new additions to the game to help educate their followers. Shockley had never heard of Animal Crossing before the aquarium reached out to him, but said he was impressed with the game.
Shockley said that the insects within Animal Crossing are rendered accurately. Furthermore, there are “a significant amount of beetles” in the game. With 35% of the game’s insects being beetles, it even mimics the real-life balance of insects and beetles, which is 40%.
Educating and engaging viewers
Aaaaaand WE'RE LIVE! https://t.co/32p7tl24fk
— Monterey Bay Aquarium (@MontereyAq) May 4, 2020
During the Twitch live stream viewers were able to ask the trio of experts questions. “It’s teaching them a little bit of natural history, a little bit of biology, and allows a chance to sort of interact with things that they might not actually do much in the real world for fear or just for not knowing where to look,” said Shockley.
Twitch community “really engaged”
Twitch is a livestream platform for gamers owned by Amazon which is popular with children and teens.
Simpson said that she has noticed how engaged their Twitch viewers are. She said that it’s “the most unique community that I, in the time that I’ve been managing social media channels, [have] ever encountered. They’re really engaged, they’re really intelligent, they love asking questions and they love being enthusiastic.”
While the livestream was free to watch, viewers could also sign up for a premium subscription that had added features like no ads. Some of the money that is raised through these subscriptions goes to help the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is currently closed.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium recently hosted a fossil expert from the Field Museum to share her expertise on another Animal Crossing livestream. The Getty Museum has also created an Animal Crossing art generator that allows players to add their favourite pieces from the museum into their own games.