SAN ANTONIO – When life cancels all of your fun plans, what else is there to do than bring your plans into a life simulation game? That’s precisely what one San Antonio woman and her friends did after Fiesta 2020 was postponed until November due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Melissa Montoya said she was playing the Nintendo Switch game "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" when she encountered a clothing shop that was selling a China Poblana, a traditional embroidered Mexican dress.
"This was something I did not know was in the game and it got me thinking of the possibility of throwing my own Fiesta event," Montoya told KSAT via email.
The Animal Crossing game allows users to create their own virtual realities in stages on remote islands. Once a player reaches a certain point, they can build paths and add other unique features to the game.
The game also allows users to interact with friends online and visit each others' islands.
Montoya said she spent a couple of hours every night for about two weeks building a Fiesta-inspired island.
“A lot of it was asking friends if they had certain furniture items that I could use. I even went as far as reaching out on an Animal Crossing forum online asking anyone if they had the items I was looking for. That’s what so great about this game. You can virtually visit anyone and exchange items,” she said in an email.
Montoya said her island consists of plants, bridges and homes for new in-game villagers.
“But when I decided to create this Fiesta event, I had to make some changes to the island, so I made sure I had enough room and space to lay everything out!” she said in her email.
Montoya didn't do it all alone. Her friends, Valerie and Fubzilla, helped her build her Fiesta dream.
“I added various stands and created designs with my friend, Valerie, so that stands looked like it sold food, drinks, and fun fiesta accessories. To each stand, I included various furniture items so that it would look the part,” Montoya said in her email.
“They both helped with finding and sending me items to use for Fiesta, even letting me borrow a few things they had that I didn’t. Then Valerie helped me with designing the invite to send to friends and the taco booth!” Montoya continued in her email.
She said she added customized tables for a sitting area with coconut juice icons on top to make it look like drinks were being sold at the event. The island also has a marketplace with tables that look like they're selling Fiesta-style clothes and cascarones.
"Of course, (I) added a concert stage set up with various instruments and had a separate area with a DJ booth," Montoya said in her email. "And just when I thought the game didn't have anything else I could use, I found that (porta-potties) were an item in the game!"
This Fiesta-inspired island even has a place where you can go after you've enjoyed your in-game snacks. Just make sure to wash your hands after!
Since the game doesn't have real cascarones, Montoya said she used party poppers for her guests to use. She was also surprised that she could create flower crowns, a Fiesta staple and a must-have for her event.
"I had to absolutely include those and even made extras for friends if they didn't have their own to use for their character," Montoya said in her email.
Montoya said the game has a limit of seven additional people who can visit a player’s island at one time, so she plans to have more events with friends who wish to join her.