U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez switched from town halls and in-person meet and greets to digital visits of her fans' virtual shores.
The New York congresswoman took invitations on Twitter to interact with her followers in the Nintendo Switch game "Animal Crossing: New Horizons." Ocasio-Cortez, who has been a longtime fan of Nintendo games, said she just picked up the latest version of the life simulator franchise, where players are given their own island in which to create a community, farm, shop or whatever they please.
The congresswoman, eager to check out some of her fans' creations, opened up her direct messages on Twitter Thursday night to allow people to send her invites.
"Hi there! Very new to this. I would like to visit random people's islands and leave a doodle or note on their bulletin board," she tweeted.
Ocasio-Cortez followed up by sending her avatar, who wore a pink shirt with her initials, to several players' islands and communicated with them through text bubbles.
Andrew Silverberg, 23, a photographer from Springfield, Missouri, and a longtime "Animal Crossing" player, told ABC News he was surprised when the congresswoman accepted his invitation and came to his island.
Silverberg, a fan of the congresswoman, said she dropped off fruit grown on her "Animal Crossing" island and was friendly during the virtual visit.
"We walked around my island, did a miniature tour, chit-chatted and then she left a note on the bulletin board in my town hall," Silverberg told ABC News.
Ocasio-Cortez thanked Silverberg for his hospitality on Twitter.
"Anytime- your island is gorgeous," she tweeted.
The game has become popular with players around the world, especially since many have limited ways to interact with others due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nintendo said it has sold 13.41 million copies since the game launched on March 20.
Silverberg, who admittedly plays the "Animal Crossing" game daily, for three to four hours, said he enjoys its laid-back nature.
"It's relaxing. There is no immediate objective," he said. "It's a 'play it as you want to play it' type of game."
Silverberg said he was impressed and happy that Ocasio-Cortez used the game's online visit feature to have fun with fans.
"Everyone deserves some downtime," he said. "In the midst of not interacting with constituents this is a fun way to do that."
Representatives for the congresswoman could not comment on whether she will be meeting fans in the game in the future.