Courtesy of Forbes
Film releases; religious gatherings; sports games. These events and countless others find themselves impacted (whether they end up delayed, put on hold or canceled) by the recent coronavirus pandemic; and with all signs pointing towards the crisis worsening in the coming weeks, optimistic feelings seem increasingly hard to come by. This applies doubly to high schoolers, particularly the class of 2020: considering all the social distancing enforced to prevent the further spread of the disease, coupled with limits placed on local gatherings, means that the experience that defines one’s senior year (pep rallies, sports games, etc.) may not occur.
Chief among these: prom. Dating all the way back to the mid-1800s, this dance consistently served as one of the defining events of not just high school, but of teenage life; but with the pandemic affecting everyone, this situation looks dire. Now prom for NC students will still technically occur, rescheduled as an online-only event April 1st. However, a group of NC students have decided to prepare a backup plan, just in case the situation worsens further in the coming months.
Members of the 2020 senior class recently finished setting up their own custom lobby in the hit new game Animal Crossing: New Horizons, set up to host this year’s prom. Considering the game’s smashing success and popularity, it makes sense that this game would play host to the biggest event of high school life; creating this lobby, however, proved itself a more difficult matter. Overcoming the game’s limitations proved difficult for the seniors, though their ingenuity helped them overcome this.
“So in the game, you can create your own lobby online with up to 8 people, but that’s obviously not enough people for an entire prom. So we solved this issue by hacking into the game’s servers and modding it so it could hold over 800 people instead of just eight. People can share a Switch with a friend, as long as they create their own character,” senior and online prom coordinator Josh Hollis said.
This virtual prom will play out more or less like a normal version: seniors will bring their custom characters to the virtual venue and can dance with the avatars of other seniors. As for prom court, each nominee will take their character to the venue’s center, and the winner will receive an item corresponding to their title (crowns, golden apples, etc). This idea proved massively popular among seniors, with several students calling this a great way to reconcile their desire for prom with the need for social distancing.
“The whole situation with coronavirus has obviously been hard on us seniors, as me and a lot of my friends have felt like it might rob us of these experiences. So having something so crucial as prom be held, even if it’s done through video games or anything else online, is a great alternative,” senior Feron Ali said.
With all reports indicating the virus will worsen in the coming weeks, the senior class might consider participating in more online events: graduation on Sims or Roblox, or perhaps yearbook signing done via Discord? Only time will tell.
April Fool’s, you fool!