March 20 is the one-year anniversary of the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch. To celebrate, Adult Swim released a one-and-a-half minute video titled "Rick and Morty Crossing," a crossover between the hit video game and the animated series Rick and Morty.
Because it's one of the network's most popular shows and its multiverse structure allows the characters to be placed in any sort of situation, Rick and Morty has been the subject of many animated bumpers on Adult Swim, as well as two anime short films. "Rick and Morty Crossing," written and directed by kyttenjanae, isn't long enough to be a full-blown short but it's more substantial than most of Adult Swim's bumpers.
At the start of the video, Rick is inventing something in the Smith household garage as usual. Morty excitedly gets up from the couch to join his grandpa, grabbing an ax in anticipation. With the press of a button, Rick and Morty enter a gateway into the digital world of Animal Crossing.
Rick and Morty's village is rendered in the same cute art style as the Nintendo game, though its villagers are recognizable Rick and Morty aliens such as Meeseeks. Rick crafts a giant robot with a crystal and smashes Morty's tent, while Morty experiences the typical Animal Crossing misfortunes like falling in pitfalls and being stung by wasps.
The end of the video cuts back and forth between Rick and Morty relaxing on the virtual beach and them gaming on the couch in their own universe as explosions go off just outside the window behind them. The contrast between the comical joy and tranquility of the Animal Crossing world and abject terror in the real world is as powerful an illustration as any of why New Horizons became so important to so many people throughout 2020.
Rick and Morty have starred in a few advertisements for video games in the past, including Death Stranding and the PlayStation 5 console. The "Rick and Morty Crossing" video, in contrast, does not appear to have been made in connection with Nintendo -- it's purely a fan tribute to Animal Crossing that's just distinct and parodic enough to count as fair use.
Of course, as with the Nintendo 3DS scene in the episode "Total Rickall," there might also be an ulterior motive: give Nintendo enough free advertising that it will be compelled to give the Rick and Morty crew free stuff.