I wasn’t planning to get Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I skipped New Leaf, and figured playing Wild World back in the day was enough for me. Despite my complete lack of interest in the game and my busy day-to-day life, I still ended up with it downloaded on my switch and my little Island of R’Lyeh quickly became my second home. In fact, I’m quite addicted to this game now.
New Horizon’s is a game that seems to have come about at the perfect time; we may all be in lockdown, or at least have our social lives limited, but in this game we can go out and play with our virtual friends as much as we want. Animal Crossing is a game where we pay off a home loan, furnish our houses, interact with the neighbours, and contribute to our community by building island infrastructure and donating items to the museum. Except everyone we meet is a cute animal, and we don’t need a job, since our income is generated by selling natural resources, buying and selling turnips (the stalk market) or planting sacks of money to grow money trees or hitting rocks until they spit out cash. Basically, it’s a colourful and wholesome rich philanthropist simulator. I think it’s what we all need right now.
Since I usually talk about books, I’m going to add that as I was getting into this game I read Ted Chiang’s excellent Hugo Award Winning Novella The Lifecycle of Software Objects. It’s a great story, and everyone should just go out now and read it. It follows a pair of software designers who are raising digients – Tamogotchi-like A.Is that are programmed to learn through interaction with humans. The story follows the growth of the digients over twenty years as they become more mature, and they and their human parents navigate many of the issues A.Is and pets face. From people losing interest in the fad, to the operating system they live on becoming obsolete. There is also a look at the legal issues facing A.I, and questions of when they are advanced enough to make their own decisions regarding their lives. Really great story.
I’m not throwing that micro-review in just to stay on topic. I feel reading a story about sentient digital pets while playing a game with cute animal friends may have made me more attached to the animal crossing villagers, as I love them all. On the other hand, that feeling seems quite common.
I decide it could be fun to share some pictures from my island. Like most homes, it is currently full of unfinished projects. The most complete though is my marketplace. Originally I just wanted a stall to put my repeat DIYs on for when my friends came over, but customising and decorating stalls has turned out to be quite addictive.
Likewise, when I dropped a few fossils after filling my pockets, it quickly turned into this graveyard. Except, no graves. I guess boneyard would be a better term? I found that skeleton in the community recycle bin by the way, so I think that Tom Nook must have killed someone.
There are a lot of other projects I’m working on, but might hold off on showing them off until they’re done. Which might take a while, because there is a lot of stuff to do in this game. Like Harv’s Island. I took my crew there for a beach party yesterday. I’ve been collecting items like crazy lately. Not because I want to use them on my island, but because they may be useful for a photo shoot.
The cute animal villagers that I share my island with are such a highlight of the game. Currently I have nine: Ursala the Bear, Tybalt the Tiger, Maple the Cub, Peanut the Squirrel, Rex the Lion, Henry the Frog, Raymond the Business Cat, Erik the Deer (don’t know if it would be more accurate to call him a moose or an elk though) and Merengue the Rhino/Strawberry Shortcake Hybrid. I have room for one more person on my island and no-one in mind. I think going for a bird of some sort would do wonders for the biodiversity of R’lyeh. An alligator or marsupial would also be a nice addition. Considering the name I chose for my island, I should probably be on the lookout for an octopus too.
I’m going to build that last plot of land and go hunting for a new friend by the end of the week. And then I really better get back to my reviews. I’ve been reading the latest Hugo Nominees. But right now I stopped to read the latest Murderbot story. Is anyone else playing Animal Crossing? Who are your favourite villagers and what projects are you working on around the island?
Happy Reading, and Gaming,