Video games

Dodgy dealer offers famous fakes in Animal Crossing: New Horizons video game

You can buy the Mona Lisa in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Digital art buyers beware! A dodgy dealer is on the loose, duping unsuspecting newbie collectors in the most unexpected of places—Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The video game, which was released for the Nintendo Switch console right as the coronavirus pandemic forces millions to stay at home, has become a outlet for people looking to replicate some aspect of normal life, be it grocery shopping, picnicking with friends, or sitting across from Marina Abramovic. And now, wannabe art collectors can get in on the virtual action, thanks to an update for the game released this week, which includes an expansion for the in-game museum—a dedicated art wing—and a new character named Jolly Redd. The sly little fox (see what they did there?) is an art dealer who offers you works of art to buy for your new private museum. But there is a catch: some of Redd’s wares are fakes. The key to spotting the genuine articles from the forgeries is to look at the details. “For instance, Leonardo da Vinci’s venerable Vitruvian Man shows up in the game as ‘Academic Painting’. Redd’s knockoff will have a coffee stain in the upper-right hand corner, which clearly doesn’t belong there,” writes the gaming website Kotaku. “The Mona Lisa (‘Famous Painting’) will have raised eyebrows. Other differences are more subtle, alas. Thomas Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy (‘Basic Painting’) has bangs that cover his entire forehead.” So brush up on that art history book before you start shopping for your personal pixelated Salvator Mundi.