RIOT: Civil Unrest

A group of peaceful protesters with placards and flags are seen on the left of the image, while riot police are on the right with guns, shields and helmets. The game is designed to be in low resolution with heavy pixelation. Riot emulates a 2D retro look even though the scene is 3D.

Riot: Civil Unrest is an online game that blends real-world protests from recent history with objective based strategy gameplay. The game references four major civil unrests, Arab Spring in Egypt, No TAV in Italy, 15-M movement (Indignados) in Spain and the Anti-Landfill protests (Keratea) in Greece. The director of the game and previously an editor and cinematographer at Valve, Leonard Menchiari, has experienced riots personally and the game “Riot” was created as a way to express it and to tell the stories of these events. The player can pick between playing as police or rioters. Playing as either side will even tell you about the public’s opinion on how you handled the demonstrations. The game aims to depict scenarios in a neutral manner, allowing the player to explore both sides of the conflict.

Riot was launched in February 2019. It was highly recommended by LIHKG netizens in Hong Kong as early as June 2019 when the Anti-ELAB protest began. Protesters, whether they belong to the peaceful camp or the radical camp, can learn different tactics from the game.

The above video is a trailer of Riot: Civil Unrest. It shows different scenes of conflicts, including police deploying tear gas and protesters throwing molotov cocktails.

On Being Water

When I followed the Hong Kong Protests daily, what captured me the brilliant use of colors. Not just in clothing and tools but as forms of communication. As with all things, I always filter how I see the world through my Elder’s teachings (Elder Isaac Day of Serpent River First Nations). Some of the colors that held the most sway overall were Yellow, Red, Black and White. In Isaac’s teachings that would be Honesty, Kindness, Caring and Sharing. As I reflect on these teachings and think about the Hong Kong Protests I find these teachings completely and aptly applicable.

Of all the signs I choose to replicate the ones that resonated with me the most is “Don’t Shoot Our Kids”, “I Will Not Kill Myself”, “Stop Killing Us” “Be Water! We are formless. We are shapeless. We can flow. We can crash. We are like water. We are HONGKONGERS.” and Hong Kong People Hearts Never Die in Cantonese. I think it is important to profile that the police brutality in Hong Kong has largely targeted the childen and youth, medics and journalists, hoping to scare others into submission. Without the children and youth the movement is ashes on the ground. So I am showing solidarity and my own prayers that the Kids are protected. It is a sad state when children have to take to the streets to protest their own government and write wills to do so.

“I Will Not Kill Myself” was the single most emotional sign I had to replicate. Thinking of the allegations of “suicide” that clearly are of well know prominent protesters including Chan Yin-Lam (15 year old), Chow Tsz-lok (22 year old), Alex Chow and so many unnamed victims targeted by the Hong Kong Police Force, and their enacted state sanctioned brutality during the protests of 2019 and 2020. What struck me in my research is how difficult it was to find a list of these names. I hope these moments and acts are not lost to the tendrils of history. A not so gentle reminder of the great human rights abuses that are being perpetuated in Hong Kong against it’s citizens as we speak. “Stop Killing Us” isn’t just a poster it’s a reality for Hong Kong citizens right now as we speak.

Finally closing this circle of grief is still the strong hope and message of Hong Kong People, Hearts Never Die written in Cantonese. I believe in the future of our peoples. As long as our hearts live with the fire of the future and we flow like water, then this hope and fight for freedom also never dies. Until we are all free.

In the Shadows of Gods

I don’t recall what the festival is called but a search on Google tells me it’s called the Ching Ming Festival. Ching Ming and the Mid Autumn Festivals were by far my favorite time of year overshadowing even Chinese New Year. Both festivals featured fire prominently and reminding me of aspects of my all time favorite time of year: Halloween.

Ching Ming being a festival we went and visited our ancestors resting places, talking to them, honoring them with offerings of food and wine, while burning joss money and sometimes even paper condos and servants. I loved the fire, the bigger the better, I loved feeding the fire with our folded joss money, I loved watching other families offer condos, suits, phones and servants to the all consuming flames. The whole day of adventures: going from site to site and we would end the day with a feast as if we were celebrating with the ancestors together. We would all sit down on my Great Grandfather’s grave and eat a sumptuous meal of foods, fruits and wine often amongst the sweet aroma of ripening mango’s on the trees around us.

The Mid Autumn festival with the lanterns and bonfires was another highlight of the year. I delighted in making lanterns that I knew I would be able to burn later in the night, parent sanctioned and all. I love fire to this day. Some of my other favorite things to this day being the moon and rabbits, Mid Autumn festival was the pinnacle of my favorite things: Fire, Moon worship, Rabbits and making things. For the adults it was also time to find love and there would be markets of fresh flowers and mazes with notes dangling from higher up, each seeking love or a particular lover. The lights, the flowers, the fires and the lanterns all made for a fantastical childhood that is unparalleled in Canada.

There is something magical about fire to me always and forever. I still remember keenly the smell of josh sticks in the air, the special candles we used, I remember collecting moon cake tins with various indentations to make interesting molds for the night of melting candles. Most of all I loved the ritual of folding and burning joss money. My Grandmother taught me how to fold these papers with the golden square in the middle, we folded it to mimic the old school currency of the gold ingot, know also as a yuanbao.

I grew up in a time in Hong Kong where mythologies and legends were real life. To me phoenix’s and dragons were the real deal, ghost and ancestors walked amongst us and the Gods and Goddesses was a relationship full of wonder, fantasy and fire. May our prayers rise with the smoke to the Gods and Goddesses. It brings me a great peace, at 45, to start to bring these elements to my own home in this foreign land, creating an Altar to the same Goddess as my mother did for so many years continuing a lineage and tradition older then the words I write on this page.













Working with Tangled Art + Disability

I was nominated for Vital Capacities via Tangled Art + Disability. My journey with them started with the exhibition Thaumaturgy. I believe it was our 2nd or 3rd meeting that accessibility training was conducted, in depth instruction was provided so that our exhibition was developed on a foundation of accessibility grounding our direction from day one to be accessible to people of different abilities.

Continue reading “Working with Tangled Art + Disability”

The moose doesn’t strike any emotion.

Although most recently I’ve been focusing on creating the residency risograph prints, this post returns to the idea of context as a fundamental factor in untangling lipreading, typographic and AI errors. Lipreading is often like completing a giant freeform crossword puzzle; filling in one set of clues reduces the parameters for the next set, and the next. Context enables you to instantly discard broader variables and zoom in on the most likely possibilities. Working with BSL/SSE interpreters does the same thing; while “vignette” and “finesse” will create almost identical lip patterns, the BSL interpretations use completely different hand shapes and movements.

Lipreading is physically impossible with masks, but there’s also loss of facial expression giving tone & context. But there are still contextual clues; where are you, what’s happening around you?

The same issues seem to be occurring with AI transcription; I examine the context in which errors occur to try to work out what the most likely interpretation is. This is a real challenge as you’ve a tiny amount of time to expend before the conversation moves on – with possibly another set of mangled meaning to decipher. The last work I’ve made looks at this mental juggling by using the risograph duotone process to “correct” mangled AI using proofreaders marks, to represent the two simultaneous thought processes.  That work will be in the residency exhibition, but here’s a few puzzles for you to be going on with.

“The moose doesn’t strike any emotion.”

“The perfect cinnamon.”

“I know there is a framework for achieving Oswald by doing do command Libra.”

The Gaming Industry: Response to BLM

The image with boilerplate (texts in white against a black background) published by the game industry in support of BLM. One reads 'We denounce systemic racism and violence against the Black community. We will continue to work towards a future marked by empathy and inclusion and stand with our Black creators, players, employees, families, and friends. #BlackLivesMatter'
  • The gaming industry is a multi-billion-dollar, male-dominated industry that has a decade-long track record of shutting down legitimate criticism about under-representation of people of colour, sexualisation of women, appeasement of authoritarian governments and an occasional glorification of violence.
  • Studios have been serving players with politically-charged material for decades: The critique of runaway capitalism in Bioshock, resisting oppression through violence in StarCraft, religious dogmatism in Halo.
  • Politics are already deeply intertwined with gaming. When professional players get suspended for using their platform to take a political stance; when games are routinely edited or banned to please a local authority prior to a release; when studios fail their diversity efforts — or pretend that they don’t need them — all of this is politics at play.
  • But the industry claims that they don’t want real-life politics.

    https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2020-06-18-too-little-too-shy-the-gaming-industrys-response-to-blm-opinion
  • Most statements made by the makers and publishers of games are boilerplate: companies like Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo decry racism, affirm the need for inclusion and equality, and often directly address “the black community.”
  • In a piece for Vice, Gita Jackson writes about how these statements aren’t just the bare minimum. They’re clueless and hollow, unwilling to confront their complicity and center the conversation on anti-black racism.

    https://www.theverge.com/2020/6/5/21281726/video-game-companies-george-floyd-protests-blm-support

Detention (video game)

A scene from the game Detention. A girl in school uniform is in the foreground of a dark sinister gym. On the stage there is a male teacher and a seated girl also in school uniform. On the left of image there are 2 lines of Japanese text. The Japanese language was widely used, as Taiwan was a colony of Japan for 50 years before it was defeated in WWII. On the wall of the gym is a portrait of Sun Yet-sen, the founder of Chinese Nationalist Pary (KMT).
A scene from the game Detention. On the left of image, there are 2 lines of Japanese text. The Japanese language was widely used, as Taiwan was a colony of Japan for 50 years before it was defeated in WWII. On the wall of the gym, there is a portrait of Sun Yet-sen, the founder of Chinese Nationalist Pary (KMT).

Detention (Chinese: 返校; lit.: ‘Returning to School’) is a horror adventure video game created and developed by Taiwanese game developer Red Candle Games for Steam. It is a 2D atmospheric horror side-scroller set in 1960s Taiwan under martial law. The game also incorporates religious elements based on Taiwanese culture and mythology. A live action film adaptation distributed by Warner Bros. Taiwan was released on 20 September 2019.

The game references Taiwan’s White Terror period, when martial law was enforced on the citizens. The White Terror era refers to the suppression of political dissidents following the 228 Incident, an uprising that began on Feb. 27, 1947, which was brutally suppressed by the then-Chinese Nationalist Pary (KMT) regime. The government subsequently imposed martial law, which was lifted on July 15, 1987.

Another scene from the game. The point of view of the audience is from a window of a classroom. The grill of the window resembles the grill of a prison cell. The light is warm, soft and diffused. 7 male students, heads down, carrying school bags queue up behind some desks. The student at the head of the queue opens his bag for inspection by a police officer.
A scene from the game.

The background of the story centers on the love affair between a student and a teacher in 1960s Taiwan. The teacher helped smuggle banned books for a secret book club in the school, and when the love affair turned sour, the student reported the book club to the authorities. Consequently, the students and teachers who were involved in the club were sentenced to death or 15 years in prison.

Such persecution was very common during the White Terror period. The punishment was actually much more brutal in reality.

Part 2: Animal Crossing (Stop playing politics or face a ban)

A scene in Animal Crossing. A black-clad protester with black gas mask stands in the middle of a park with trees in the background and on the left. There is also a bonfire on left. Behind the protester, there are 6 paintings on easels, 2 paintings are with slogans in Chinese character, 1 painting is with an open palm and 1 painting with a finger pointing up. These 2 hand gestures represent the slogan 'Five demands, not one less (fewer)'. On the grass, there are 3 banners with different slogans, images of the protests and key dates in the movement, such as July 21 and August 31, when protesters and passengers in the tube were brutally and indiscriminately attacked by gang of thugs and police.
Image posted by activist Joshua Wong, via Twitter. This is a scene from Animal Crossing. Behind the protester, there are 2 paintings with Chinese slogans. There are also paintings of hand gestures that represent the slogan ‘Five demands, not one less (fewer)’. On the grass, there are 3 banners with different slogans, images of the protests and key dates in the movement, such as July 21 and August 31, when protesters and passengers in the tube were brutally and indiscriminately attacked by gang of thugs and police.

https://hongkongfp.com/2020/11/21/stop-playing-politics-or-face-a-wan-nintendo-warns-animal-crossing-gamers/


• Nintendo told businesses and organisations to “refrain from bringing politics into the game,” and said those who breached the guidelines could be banned.

• US President-elect Joe Biden is also among those who hope to capitalise on the game’s popularity. Biden’s campaign launched its own virtual island last month, allowing players to “volunteer” at the island’s campaign headquarters and visit polling stations. Under the new guidelines, the island is likely to be banned.

• “It is a shame that Nintendo overlooked the significance of this game.”, said Joshua Wong.

The Gaming Industry: Blizaard

Screenshot of Hearthstone Grandmasters streaming event in Taiwan with Hong Kong player Blizchung. It's a split screen with the Taiwan player on the left and Blizchung on the right. This is the moment when he took off his mask to say "Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times".
Screenshot of Hearthstone Grandmasters streaming event in Taiwan with Hong Kong player Blizchung

On October 6, 2019, during the Hearthstone Grandmasters streaming event in Taiwan, Ng Wai Chung, a professional Hearthstone player and resident of Hong Kong known as “Blitzchung”, was being interviewed following his match, during which he donned a mask similar to those worn by protesters in the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests and said “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times”. The stream was cut off shortly after. The following day, on October 7, Blizzard announced that Blitzchung had been banned from the current tournament, would forfeit any prize money (approximately US$4,000 by that point), and would be banned from other Grandmaster tournaments for one year.

So, what’s this risograph thing?

Outline image of risograph printed in pink.
An outline image of a risograph machine

As the work I’m developing moves towards the print stage, it’s time to explain a little more about the risograph process.

My print and printmaking experience started with etching (particularly photo-etching), letterpress, and developed to include screenprinting, and various relief processes, before the transition to digital. Last year, I got the opportunity to develop some work with my friend and collaborator Ruth Jones, who suggested we learn to use the risograph process. This post uses images from developing that work.

Continue reading “So, what’s this risograph thing?”

“Hello work”

This morning I came across the following article related to problems with machine translation (which I’ve been referring to as AI transcription). This has been flagged by language professionals in Japan; it was interesting to see them dealing with the same perceptions of mistranslation as just amusing – they raise the problem of the dangers with miscommunication.

“…the group is most concerned about the negative impact that official miscommunications could have on tourism and Japan’s growing foreign community in the case of an earthquake or a medical emergency.”

Living = Dark Matter

“The official website of Meguro ward in Tokyo, for example, renders kurashi – or “living” – as “dark matter”, while the Kobe municipal government, turns sumai (home) as “I’m sorry”, the machine translation having apparently misread the original word as sumanai, a casual form of apology.”

www.theguardian.com/world/2020/nov/18/hello-work-or-job-centre-language-experts-japan-english

Hong Kong protesters borrow tactics from battle royale game

First-aid kits that looks like zip-lock bags with pink disinfectant solution, saline and bandages, were left along the roadside next to some plants. They were arranged in a straight line around 1 metre apart.
First-aid kits were left along the roadside for protesters to pick up. Each pack contains saline, bandages and other essential supplies.
A scene in the battle royale game Pubg with nine mobile first aid kits scattered on the ground. There a carpet with the gamer's avatar helping another, a first aid kit that is opened to show the content such as scissors and bandages.
A scene in the battle royale game Pubg with mobile first aid kits scattered on the ground.

Hong Kong protesters borrowed tactics from online multi-player games such as PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS (Pubg). They would leave supplies such as helmets, masks, umbrellas, water and first aid kits along the roadside for others to pick up.

In the beginning of the movement (June 2019), there were supplies stations at protest sites. Protesters communicated with each other using hand signs, so that supplies could be passed down a human chain to frontliners. But later police began to crack down on these supplies stations. As many protesters are from a generation that grew up with gaming, they very naturally had a tacit understanding with each other that led them to take up different positions during confrontations with the police. Supplies such as helmets, umbrellas, water and first-aid kits were left along the road side for frontliners to pick up as in Pubg.

In October 2019, a Japanese writer/journalist Minetoshi Yasuda for Bungeishunjū came to Hong Kong to research about the protest. After conducting a series of interviews with frontliners, he concluded that protesters were familiar with military tactics because many of them were players of survival games and fans of Japanese manga and anime. He called the protest movement ‘Otaku War’.

Environmental Issues in Game/ Sims

Apocalypse in games is considered the norm in the game industry, often focusing on first person shooters. Games that involve ethical dilemnas are not as common. However things are changing! I’m going to use this as a simple thread of collecting environmentally conscious and educational storylines in games and simulations.

U.S. Chemical Safety Board
SeriousGeoGames
/Discarded computer products in a municipal landfill. The majority of second-hand electrical goods that are imported to Ghana from developed countries are beyond repair and are either dumped or crudely “recycled”. Greenpeace is campaigning to pressurise the producers of electronic goods to remove the hazardous chemicals from their goods and to become more responsible for end-of-life products.

Next-Gen Gaming Is an Environmental Nightmare
https://www.wired.com/story/xbox-playstation-cloud-gaming-environment-nightmare
Morphy
A Bit like my game /project ‘Tuner’ Morphy stars Morphy, an alien who has crash-landed on an unknown planet and needs to find his missing crew members. Designed to teach players the fundamentals of animal adaptation, players must face a slew of challenging platforming obstacles that can only be overcome by scanning animals whose traits are specialized to their environments. The scanned traits can then be added to Morphy’s abilities, helping players better navigate the gorgeously illustrated environment present in the metroidvania-style game. Morphy is one of six digital STEM learning games created by Filament Games for the Smithsonian Science Education Center.
Rust

Survival games have been a long time in the making but as of late they have ..evolved 😛 . Rust is a good example of gaining trust with fellow players in order to stay alive but also brutal in its human betrayals 🙁

ECO
An expansive, open-world online survival game, Eco tasks players with collaborating with one another in order to build a sustainable civilization using only the resources available to them within the game’s simulated ecosystem. Faced with the threat of an impending meteor collision, players must work together to build a society capable of stopping the meteor without destroying the ecosystem in the process.

Recreating Hong Kong protest experience in VR game

A night scene in a home-made VR game by Hong Kong activists. Protesters stand behind a barricade as police deploy tear gas. The barricade is made with metal barriers dismantled from the sidewalk. The protesters with yellow helmets and gas masks stand in the foreground  with their backs facing the audience. The barricade is in the mid-ground. The cityscape of Hong Kong with neon signs and high rises are the backdrops of this scene.
A scene in a home-made VR game by Hong Kong activists.

In October 2019, a group of Hong Kong activists have developed a homemade computer game that uses virtual reality to recreate what it is like to take part in pro-democracy protests sweeping the financial hub. Put together in less than a week, “Liberate Hong Kong” allows gamers to don a VR headset and dodge tear gas and rubber bullets during a nighttime clash in the district of Mongkok, a regular scene of battles between police and protesters in the real world.

The developers said they decided to create the game after local eSports player Ng “Blitzchung” Wai Chung was punished by Blizzard Entertainment for shouting a pro-democracy slogan during a live-streamed interview following a competition win.

https://hongkongfp.com/2019/11/13/hong-kong-protests-re-imagined-homemade-virtual-video-game/

Audio description of the visual of the above video

On the other hand, there is a protest game in China called ‘Everyone Hit the Traitor’. The web game lets players beat protesters and pro-democracy activists.

Some view the gaming world as a utopian medium to explore and express their social, ethical and political values, but like any technology, gaming is not deterministic, it is not either good or bad. Video games become a platform where the feature of social movement — Movement-countermovement interaction manifests itself. The pro-democracy camp uses video games to express their political views while the pro-establishment camp borrow the same strategy to counter these views. Such interaction is in fact very common in the real world.

Tapestry of Colors

Street shrines and altars, Hong Kong – A deep longing for the vibrant culture and language of Hong Kong. My fondest memories involve our Ancestor altars and festivals around ghosts, the fires, the festivals and the feasts, I miss that rich ancestor based tapestry guiding our lives. Researching altars to recreate my own altar for my piece.

Thinking about the many nights spend enraptured by the burning flames. Remembering my Grandmother teaching me how to fold funerary money with joss paper, the shape resembling gold ingots of time gone by. I remember the festival of Ghosts, the one I fondly called Ghost New Year, where we visited all the graves of our direct ancestors, cleaning their graves, feeding them and praying with them, and finally a feast with them.

Our final gravesite was in the hills covered by fruit trees and an old stone tomb with mottled and dark gray stone. The smell of joss sticks and candles burning mingling with the sweet smell of the fruit trees and the full smells of tangerines, rice wine and roasted pork. Perhaps my fascination as a child is because of the magic surrealism of folk tales, fables and old Chinese festivals mingled together to give me a fantastical childhood full of legends, Ancestors and learnings.

As I prepare this piece I think of all the beautiful moments of richness, sound and tapestry of colors, sounds and sights that filled my childhood.




A Conversation (Word Salad)

This week I’ve been focusing on practicalities for making risograph prints. As my region (England) is in lockdown, this involves a lot of forward planning, material purchase and prep that’s not very interesting to read about. So I’ve also been experimenting with AI transcripts to create a little script from some of the most egregious examples of distortion (looking at you, Microsoft Teams).

This has been added as a document and images.

The aim is to give the reader a feel of what it’s like trying to make sense of a situation which isn’t accessible, and the impossibility of acting on information which doesn’t make sense. During the current pandemic, misunderstanding is not merely an amusing anecdote (a la Auberon Waugh’s tale of mishearing “press freedom” and delivering a lecture on “breast feeding”), it’s dangerous. Currently, the UK offers no BSL interpretation for government briefings. While the BBC provides interpreters for government announcements, not everyone has access to the BBC, and clips shown on social media won’t be inherently accessible. And scientific briefings are not shown with BSL interpretation. It’s the government’s responsibility, not the BBC’s. Too many organisations push the responsibility for accessing information onto individuals rather than thinking about how they can make it straightforward.

So, anyway, I’ve been tiger, because you know, the man who chases two hairs catches mom.

Digital Library of Banned Books in Minecraft

This video is a fly-through of the virtual library in Minecraft. With interviews of banned writers and journalists from Russia, Vietnam and Saudi.
An image from The Uncensored Library project. This is a view of the front entrance of the virtual library in Minecraft. A virtual sculpture of a raised fist holding a dip pen in a garden with trees and grass is in the foreground. The library itself is slightly of focus in the background in order to emphasize the sculpture. The library is built using a neoclassical architectural style with big columns and a domed rooftop. It is intended to resemble well-established institutions such as the New York Public Library, as well as stylistically allude to the authoritarian structures the project aims to subvert.
An image from The Uncensored Library project. The library is intended to resemble well-established institutions such as the New York Public Library, as well as stylistically allude to the authoritarian structures the project aims to subvert.
https://uncensoredlibrary.com/en
  • Media freedom activists have built a 125 million block library in a Minecraft map called the “Uncensored Library” which contains a collection of banned publications and is available to read for users within oppressive regimes that otherwise censor such information.
  • The publications are available in English and the original language. The texts within the library are contained in in-game book items, which can be opened and placed on stands to be read by multiple players at once. These articles generally discuss censorship, unjust punishment, and other critiques of the writer’s government.
  • The Uncensored Library works because though many of the works currently within the library are censored, the Minecraft software is not currently censored in any country.
  • The Chinese government may try to lean on Microsoft to remove the map from within the game. Worst yet, the Chinese government may leave the map up and instead use their powers to log information on who accesses the Uncensored Library within Minecraft and China and forward that information to their internet police.

Part 1: Protests in Animal Crossing

A scene from Animal Crossing. A masked female protester stands in front of a banner with the slogan 'Liberate Hong Kong, Revolutions of our times'. The protester has an eye patch that references the first-aider who was shot in the eye by police during a protest in August 2019. The colourful post-its on her clothes reference Hong Kong's Lennon Wall.
A scene from Animal Crossing. A masked female protester stands in front of a banner with the slogan ‘Liberate Hong Kong, Revolutions of our times’. The protester has an eye patch that references the first-aider who was shot in the eye by police during a protest in August 2019. The colourful post-its on her clothes reference Hong Kong’s Lennon Wall.
Burning torches and a protest banner, that reads 'Free Hong Kong, Revolution Now', on a beach in Animal Crossing. Gamers are free to whack the portrait of Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong on the beach. There are 5 characters in the background cheering for another character who is destroying a portrait of Lam. On the left, here is also a small painting on an easel with the image of a piggy (one of the mascots of Hong Kong protest).
Burning torches and a protest banner on a beach in Animal Crossing. Gamers are free to whack the portrait of Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of Hong Kong on the beach.

Gaming activism is not new. It started as early as 2004 when video games broke into the world of politics, advocacy, and activism. In April 2020, Hong Kong protesters began to shift their protest actions to the virtual world of Animal Crossing because of the restriction of public gatherings in the name of health security. The game was used by Hong Kong activists to spread pro-democracy messages, and consequently it was removed from sale on websites in China.

In July/August, protesters in the US also started to voice out in Animal Crossing and other video games such as World of Warcraft, Splatoon, ToonTown, Grand Theft Auto, and NBA 2K20. In The Sims, a BLM rally hosted by Ebonix (as her avatar is known) was attended by at least 200 players. (from The Guardian)

A screenshot from a Black Lives Matter Animal Crossing rally with 2 black-clad protesters wearing BLM caps and t-shirts.
A screenshot from a Black Lives Matter Animal Crossing rally. https://www.theguardian.com/games/2020/aug/07/black-lives-matter-meets-animal-crossing-how-protesters-take-their-activism-into-video-games
A scene from Animal Crossing where protestors sit and chant for Black Lives Matter. 7 characters are sitting in a backyard with a sign at the entrance that says Black Lives Matter. Photos of George Floyd and other victims are one the ground with small bouquets of flowers. There are 2 speech bubbles, one says 'BLM!', the other 'No justice, no peace!'.
A scene from Animal Crossing where protestors sit and chant for Black Lives Matter. With photos of George Floyd and other victims. https://www.businessinsider.com/animal-crossing-users-are-having-virtual-black-lives-matter-protests-2020-6