Police in Taiwan found a creative way of getting a lost Nintendo Switch console to its owner – by using the game Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
The handheld console was handed into a local police station in Taipei, with no information about its owner attached.
But because it had Animal Crossing on it, officers were able to send a mass message to the owners’ friends, the police department wrote on Facebook.
The owner was then reunited with the device, local media report.
According to Taiwanese news outlet CTS, the owner – named as Mr Zheng – had kept the Switch on top of an ATM when he was getting cash out, and forgot to take it with him when he left.
Passers-by found the device and handed it into the police.
Animal Crossing involves cute versions of people and animals being dropped on their own deserted islands, where they can build homes and cultivate gardens.
Characters are also able to visit each other’s islands, and to send letters to each other using a virtual postal system.
This is how the police officers in Taipei’s Daan district were able to get in touch with the owner’s friends.
They wrote a postcard about the Switch being lost, included the address and phone number of the police station, and sent it to all of the people who had recently visited the owner’s island.
One of these friends was so impressed, they posted a screenshot of the message on a forum for Animal Crossing players – sparking a wave of praise for the officers online.
“Thank you Mr Police Officer for your resourcefulness,” the post said, the South China Morning Post reported. “[Because of] your quick alert my friend was able to regain his island.”
Animal Crossing became extremely popular globally as countries enforced lockdown restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year.