Screenshot via Animal Crossing: New Horizons / Rachel Pick
Since its launch during the COVID-19 lockdown, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has become a surrogate social life for bored, quarantined adults and children alike. Everything from Ramadan gatherings to tech conferences have happened in-game since it was released in March.
As with any multiplayer game, it took no time for people to find ways to extend their sex lives into the game world. Players are going on Animal Crossing Tinder dates and dominatrixes have set up shop in the game to flog clients with butterfly nets.
Kyle Machulis, who runs the Buttplug sex toy control project and its Patreon and YouTube channel, created a way to connect a sex toy—in his example, a Lovense “Hush” buttplug—to Animal Crossing, to spice up those island dates or make everyday game-chores a little more thrilling.
He connected the Intiface Game Haptics Router (which reroutes rumble signals intended for gaming controllers to smart sex toys) to a Nintendo Switch running Animal Crossing: New Horizon. Fans of qDot, especially cam models, have been requesting this sort of console haptic control for a while, Machulis told me. Imagine having the ability to play Animal Crossing on a cam show while viewers request and tip for you to chop down trees and set off the vibrator.
As Machulis demonstrates in a video of the buttplug in action, the device vibrates whenever your character does something that would normally trigger a vibration on the Switch controllers. Casting a fishing line and reeling it in, and chopping down a tree both send the buttplug buzzing across his table.
That’s all well and good when you’re wandering around your island alone, but the fun of Animal Crossing hookups is in the interaction. Your island guest smacking you with a net or hitting you with an axe doesn’t trigger the vibration in the game, though, so it won’t work for the buttplug, either. For the haptics to work in multiplayer, the other person has to set a trap (using a pitfall seed, assuming you or your guest has already crafted some of those up) and wait for you to walk into it.
This sets off wild, hard haptics in the game as you flail around in the dirt hole. The vibrations don’t stop until you escape from the trap by smashing the “A” button. Or, you can flail for as long as you’d like the buttplug to keep vibrating.
As Machulis puts it in the video, you’re “basically whappin’ the orgasm button until someone’s done.”
It’s not real-time, synchronous teledildonics, Machulis notes—the other person isn’t directly controlling when and how your vibrator vibrates. But one can imagine setting up a pattern of traps to fall into, or playing around with power dynamics while you’re stuck vibrating your ass off, literally, in the hole.
At this point, it’s just a proof-of-concept and therefore still very buggy, Machulis said, but the code to try to improve on it yourself is on Github.
Remember: Every video game is a vibrator if you believe.
Get a personalized roundup of VICE’s best stories in your inbox.
By signing up to the VICE newsletter you agree to receive electronic communications from VICE that may sometimes include advertisements or sponsored content.