It's Eliza!

Josephine Vermeulen, Junior Journalist

Meet semi-professional gamer, devoted volunteer, IB student, bowler, and future Aggie, Eliza Lord (17), a recent graduate from Leander High School. Eliza is incredibly passionate about gaming and, more specifically, the game entitled "Animal Crossing" – it’s a video game in which you live in a town with fellow animal neighbors and aim to create a perfect town with friends, all within a budget.

Eliza is an exceptionally intelligent and dedicated student. She's an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma candidate, so don't let her passion for gaming fool you. While not occupied with classes, Eliza has been an active member of the National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society and has enjoyed donating to and dropping off her school’s food pantry contributions to a local church. In addition, Eliza was a member of the school bowling team and was awarded 6th Overall Female District Bowler with an average score of 181 in February of 2020 – what an accomplishment! 

Outside of school, Eliza enjoys spending time with her family. Whether that means seeing a movie, eating out, or cooking and baking at home, it’s important to her to share quality time with her parents before heading off to college in the fall. Eliza’s love for cooking and baking inspired her to study Nutrition at Texas A&M University as part of the Honors Program, as well.

Despite her busy schedule, Eliza’s devotion to the video game, Animal Crossing, has remained strong over the years. As an only child, Eliza spent many summer days at her cousin’s house while her parents were busy working. Together with her two closest cousins, Eliza played video, word, and board games all day long! One day, her older cousin introduced her to "Animal Crossing: Wild World" for the Nintendo DS. The game brought the kids closer together while also allowing her to broaden her vocabulary and improve her reading skills when she was younger. While the game was just a fun way to spend hot summer days at first, when the pandemic hit in 2020, "Animal Crossing" became somewhat of a sanctuary as Eliza logged on at least once a day! This past school year, she was still able to play once a week. Eliza has reached almost 1,000 hours on the latest version of her favorite childhood game, "Animal Crossing: New Horizons," for the Nintendo Switch.

Eliza explained that the game has been a part of her life for so long. She loves “interacting with the characters and working on making my town the best it can be for villagers and myself.” How fun! "Animal Crossing," and interacting with her favorite characters Flurry and Marina, simply make her happy. This definitely shows when looking at how many hours she’s spent playing each of the four games in the series: 980 hours on New Horizons, 500 on New Leaf, and even more on Wild World and City Folk (all variations of the game "Animal Crossing"). Her favorite part of each game is decorating her island or town, new homes, or even clothes – the game really allows her to let the creativity flow! 

She would say that with all of this experience, she’s developed “a better sense of decorating things … [and has] become more involved in online communities with other players. I often seek their advice for how to improve decorating my specific areas.” She has even started to share her designs and creations on social media platforms, such as VSCO and Discord, which allows her to receive praise and feedback on how to further improve the game. This passionate gamer has even thought about becoming a professional gamer, and her influence could really pay off!

In addition to serving as a relaxing, creative outlet over the years, the Nintendo video game has taught her many lessons in time, money, and resource management.  If Eliza were to encourage someone to get involved in "Animal Crossing," she would definitely play more often! She sees that the game is extremely social, and it’s always better and more entertaining to play with multiple people.  Assisting and inspiring newbies is the best way to encourage people to get involved in this video game!