Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Animal Crossing is a series that I’ve had very very little to do with over the years. Apart from the mobile game that I got bored of quite quickly, I’ve never really given it a chance.

I know that people that are into it, are really really into it. I know the bells are a currency, and that a dude called Tom Nook is a bit of a prick.

That’s it though.

Enter Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Released just over a week ago, it’s taking Twitter by storm, and everyone seems to be playing it. But why?

With no clue what the appeal is, or what to expect. I decided that it might be the perfect game to play in short bursts whilst we take care of our newborn son Jack. Hopefully not too grindy or taxing, and as friendly as it looks?

Animal Crossing

Here goes nothing….

So, I’ve played Animal Crossing: New Horizons daily since the day we got home from the hospital.

Initially, I hated it. I was, admittetdly quite tired, but the “speaking” by the characters is grating, and there’s literally no real aim to the game. This is not a good start.

However, I broke my vow to buy no games for six months, on this, so I had to pursue it and see if I made a big mistake. Surely all of these people going nuts for it can’t be wrong? Even a couple of the guys from FullSync were talking about it.

What am I missing?

So, I took the night off it (desperate for sleep, and a new feeding routine to tackle, anyway), and gave it a go later the next day.

Learning the ropes, and as far as I can tell, moving away from it all to set-up home on a deserted island.

How do you win? What’s the end game?

I think that’s it, though. You don’t really win, or ever really finish. Animal Crossing is more of a life simulator than anything else. Ugh.


Life simulator

Honestly, of the things that just don’t do it for me in gaming, life simulators and games that rely on crafting etc to make the world your own, are at the top.

I don’t have the patience, I like a clear end-goal and I cannot be bothered with the to-and-fro of mining, crafting, finding new recipes and doing the same over and over again.

I get a bit of joy from it in a game like No Man’s Sky, because the universe is so massive and explorable. You don’t have to exclusively do that stuff, but you can if you so desire. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a game that is built around that core gameplay, and that’s it.

The cutesy presentation doesn’t really do anything for me, either. Although I think there’s some resentment because my wife uses “Villager” in Super Smash Bros. and has taken me down more than I’d like to admit.

So here I am, £40 down, a promise to myself broken, and stuck with a game that revolves around everything I don’t like in gaming.

Why the hell am I still playing it then? On paper, it’s a massive no. Initially, in practice, it was a massive no, too.


A sign of the times

The thing with life, is that it changes. And with change in circumstance can come change of pace, tastes and need.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has seemingly come out at the perfect time for the world. Whilst we’re all in chaos admist the Covid-19 pandemic, and seemingly out of control of basic things like going out.

A chilled-out, bright little world that isn’t too taxing on your mind, and gives you control of everything, then, doesn’t sound so bad does it?

I can dip in and out of the game at my leisure. I put Jack down after a feed, do a few bits around the house,a nd then I can just casually deck-out my new house, or go farming for animals to help build a museum.

There’s very little grind, there’s no urgency and there’s nothing stopping you coming back in a few days to pick up right where you left off.

Sure, that Tom Nook dude has got me over a barrel with a debt from moving me out there, and building a house. Damn, he’ll likely get me in further debt. But as dark as it sounds, I’m finding that Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the perfect remedy to my new and out-of-control life.


New Horizons

So, I have very little idea about what’s going on. The subreddit and discord server are little-to-no help, because everyone is so deeply into it.

That leaves me to just kind of work out what I’m doing. I get to take my head out of the real world for a little while. Wonder why people are mental for turnips of all things, and eventually learn about this universe.

I’m happy just pottering about in my little virtual home. No fuss, no drama and no real aim.

There’s no chance I’ll write about Animal Crossing: New Horizons again, because I doubt I’ll ever truly “get” it. But for now, it’s a decent game to relax with.

If you’re on the fence about it, and don’t really understand the hype. Don’t waste £40-£50 on it, wait for a sale (good luck with that…….Nintendo pricing is steep!!). If you’re a fan of the series, then I hope it’s the best yet and you’re living your best Animal Crossing life.

I don’t get it, but it’s doing something for me and I’m enjoying my little lazt life on a deserted island. Crippled by debt to a raccoon, but farming oranges, fishing, and sitting by my own little campfire.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons isn’t for everyone. Hell, it’s not really for me. But when you can’t go out too much, and the world around us is so far out of our own control, dipping in here and seeing the changes you make, is a little bit of bliss.

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