March 20th is a big day on this year’s gaming calendar—the launch of the game everyone is waiting for. That’s true whether you’ve been eager to explore and improve a new idyllic town in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons, or tear demon faces off infernal skulls with your bare hands in DOOM Eternal.
Oddly, the shared launch day has proven to have untapped memetic potential. The DOOMguy and Animal Crossing’s ever-helpful assistant Isabelle have become, in the minds of fan artists all over the internet, besties. There’s a wealth of wonderful fanart that shows the tiny dog-lady wielding a Super Shotgun, and the DOOM Marine practicing horticulture.
So, if you’re in the center of that very special Venn diagram of DOOM and Animal Crossing fans, why not take it to the next step, and plan an entire evening around playing both DOOM Eternal and New Horizons? Because we have. And we’re ready.
The following guide works great for a date night, though you may want a second TV or computer to play and swap off. Hell, it even makes for a pretty swell evening all by your lonesome.
First of all, you need something to play on. Both Animal Crossing: New Horizons and DOOM Eternal are coming to the Switch, but Animal Crossing is a Switch exclusive, so you’ll need that console at the very least. Assuming that you’re playing in company—and why wouldn’t you?—we recommend the standard Switch connected to your TV.
The Animal Crossing Special Edition Switch, complete with exclusive pastel-colored Joy-Cons and a dock emblazoned with the Nook family, is the ultimate expression of fandom. It releases on March 13th but doesn’t include the game. You’ll be able to buy the physical cartridge of the game just about anywhere or download it from the Nintendo eShop.
Nintendo Switch - Animal Crossing: New Horizons Edition - Switch
This special edition Switch console is perfect for the ultimate Animal Crossing fan.
Unfortunately, while DOOM Eternal is coming to the Switch eventually, it won’t be available on the same launch day as the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC version. So, you’ll need at least one other current console, or a gaming PC, to play it. Doom Eternal will be available from all major retailers, plus the digital Xbox and PlayStation stores, and on Steam or direct from Bethesda for digital download on PC. It will also be available on Google Stadia.
DOOM Eternal: Standard Edition - PlayStation 4
It's the DOOM game. DOOM Eternal. You wanna play the game, you gotta buy it.
If DOOM is on your schedule, there’s only one thing on your menu for an entree: steak. Bust out the grill and light that charcoal, sulfur optional. We think the DOOMguy probably likes his beef rare, but we’d recommend medium-rare at least for puny mortals who might lose a few health points to E. coli. If you’re vegetarian, a mushroom steak is an acceptable substitute. For either, we love California Pepper Plant sauce.
The Pepper Plant Hot Sauce, Original, 10 Oz (Pack of 2)
This hot sauce is fantastic on almost any kind of meat dish.
“Potatoes” are the only acceptable side dish for someone as cartoonishly masculine as DOOMguy, but if you’re looking for something a little lighter, we recommend roasted broccoli (not to be confused with a certain blue mouse) or carrots. Classically, one pairs a deep red wine like a Cabernet Sauvignon with steak, but in keeping with our “opposites attract” theme, we’ll recommend a sweet white Riesling. If you’re too young to drink or simply don’t want to, substitute Welch’s Sparkling Sangria (which is non-alcoholic).
Because Isabelle is partial to sweet fruits, we recommend a selection of them for dessert. A bouquet from Edible Arrangements (or a cheaper substitute from your local grocery store) is great for this—and it makes for perfect no-mess snacking during a night of extended video games, too.
You can’t play video games all the time, at least not while you have bills to pay. But you can decorate your home and office so that you can look at video games all the time. To that end, McFarlane’s 6-inch DOOM Slayer action figure (with included base) is an excellent way to go about it. The DOOM Marauder, presumably an Eternal boss, is a good companion.
McFarlane Toys Doom - Doom Slayer 7" Premium Action Figure Bronze Edition Limited
This six-inch figure gives your desktop that authentic "fighting for survival in the pits of Hell" feeling.
If price is no object, there’s also a downright ludicrous 1:6 DOOM Marine figure from ThreeZero. Standing 13 inches tall and costing $250 (if you can find it), this ultimate toy comes with a rifle, combat shotgun, super shotgun, and three interchangeable hands to hold them all.
Animal Crossing characters aren’t exactly brimming with detail, but you still have a few options for figures. Good Smile offers a wonderfully posable Isabelle, complete with a real bell in her hair and game-authentic floating exclamations. She’s available in standard or winter variants.
Good Smile Animal Crossing New Leaf: Shizue Isabelle Nendoroid Action Figure, Multicolor
This adorable Isabelle figure is imminently pose-able.
If Nenadroid’s figures are outside your price range, Nintendo sells sixteen different Animal Crossing Amiibo figures, including the standard Villager (as seen in Smash Bros.), Digby, KK Slider, Mabel, Mr. Resetti, Timmy and Tommy, and of course, Tom Nook. All of them should unlock bonuses in New Horizons.
But if you’re looking for an Animal Crossing toy you can hug (and who wouldn’t?), look no further than the officially licensed Little Buddy New Leaf series, with fan favorites available in 7″ and 16″ varieties.
Because we’re going for a combined aesthetics theme, there’s one more figure you really must own to make your night complete: the DOOM Slayer Stubbins. Based vaguely on the in-game figures from the 2016 game, this little guy looks like he could have waddled out of any one of the towns from Animal Crossing. Sadly, it looks like he won’t quite be ready for launch day.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons is all about camping out on a desert island, at least at the beginning of the game. So what better way to get into the spirit than playing in your own indoor tent? At a little less than 4′ to a side and 6′ tall, it should be big enough for one adult (or two who don’t mind sharing a lot of personal space). Unlike some cheaper offerings, this one uses real wooden tent pegs and fabric sides.
small boy Sturdy Children Playhouse Canopy Tent Over The Family Game House Cotton Canvas (Bottom Blue)
This cloth indoor tent is perfect for getting in the New Horizons mood.
But what to wear when you’re inside it? The only answer is an authentic DOOMguy helmet, which comes included with the extravagant $200 Collector’s Edition of DOOM Eternal. Other goodies in the box include an exclusive lithograph, lossless soundtracks for DOOM Eternal and DOOM 2016 (plus a cassette tape version), a lore and art book, and exclusive skins and tools for the game itself. Rip and tear, indeed—anything except the tent.
DOOM Eternal: Collector's Edition - PC
This collector's edition of Doom Eternal includes a full sized replica Doom Slayer helmet.
All of the above is fun, but some of it is pretty expensive—and that’s on top of a game combo that’s a $100+ one-two punch to your wallet. If all you want to do is make some adorable villager friends and some nightmarish demon enemies, feel free to skip the trimmings.
But if possible, enjoy DOOM Eternal and New Horizons with a real-life friend: that way you can swap off the single-player modes for some lovely contrasting gameplay. And, whatever you do, have fun.