Just as I’ve felt about some neighbors everywhere I’ve ever lived, there are some Animal Crossing residents I would prefer up and move off my island.
The residents fall into one of 8 personality types, and whole groups of animals are classified as either “snooty” or “cranky”. I am not a fan of those, and when a snooty resident tells me she’s moving my response is “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Sometimes a resident will annoy me because I don’t like their catchphrase, or how they refer to me. I have one resident, Cashmere, who I wanted out because we just didn’t click. Her house was decorated with grandma Laura Ingalls vibe. She seemed to me to be a little old lady, walking around with her purse and glasses on the end of her nose, giving me advice I didn’t ask for. I think what annoyed me the most is constantly telling me anyone staying inside was wasting the day. During this pandemic, when staying inside saves lives, this was unusually grating.
One night I noticed she was in her house, so I went in. In AC, when a resident in in their house crafting something, they offer you a copy of the recipe so you can make it too. When first I went in I thought, “What kind of item could someone like grandma Cashmere possibly be crafting?”
What I should probably mention for context is that at some point since I started playing, I decided to dedicate one room of my home as a toilet room. Not a bathroom (though it is) but a room full of toilets. At the time I went into Cashmere’s house, I had 7 toilets including a standing toilet, a urinal and a litter box.
Imagine my utter surprise when Cashmere told me she was crafting a gold toilet, and would I like the recipe? A solid gold toilet, the Trump Tower-esque potty of my dreams, a thing I knew existed but didn’t possess. I had completely misjudged Cashmere, and weirdly (because it’s just a video game) I was embarrassed by it. That is how Cashmere helped me add a rare toilet to my toilet room, and I suddenly had newfound respect for her.
Later that night, after all my friends had stopped by to get their own copies of the recipe, I went back into Cashmere’s house to see if she was still crafting. While I stood there she went over to her record player and started to sing along with the music that was playing, something I don’t think I had ever seen before. It was so lovely and sweet that I realized if Cashmere ever tells me she’s thinking of leaving, I’m going to tell her to stay.
I have been playing Animal Crossing since it was first available for the GameCube in 2002. I still have the memory card with my saved game on it, and Animal Crossing (along with Ty the Tasmanian Tiger) is the reason I still have my GameCube.
I have owned every version – Wild World (Nintendo DS), City Folk (Wii) and New Leaf, for which I had to buy a 3DS. I got my Switch early on and just kept waiting for news of a new Animal Crossing.
My experience playing this version of Animal Crossing is fairly different – not because of changes (and improvements) to the game’s structure/design, which has happened with every release to date, but because online play has changed it completely from my previous experiences, which were very solitary single-player games. Sure, with the 3DS my son and his friend could visit my island, but that only happened when we were all in the same place. The other versions were mostly just me doing chores, paying off my mortgage and running errands for my neighbors. Yes, Bob, I can get you an orange but you are LITERALLY standing under an orange tree. Just reach up and pick one!
What is different about New Horizons? I no longer play the game by myself. A group of fellow JocoCruise-ers created an Animal Crossing FaceBook group and now very day we all check in, and post if there are things of interest happening on our islands. Typical info shared is the going rate for turnips, or the limited purchase item at Nooks. We let each other know when our gates are open for visitors. I now have dozens of AC friends from my cruise (who I may or may not have ever met on the boat) who I can visit or have visit me. You need a specific fossil to finish your collection? Just post to the group and someone either stop by to drop it off, or they will mail one to you. Sets and tasks that would have taken me months or years to complete in previous versions of the game are near completion because of the wild volume of co-op play happening in the game.
While I do worry this new way of playing will burn me out faster than any other version of Animal Crossing because we’ll start to lack specific goals, what I don’t think I’ll burn out on is the community we created. In my case, I am a member of the JocoCruise/AC community, and also a community of fans of the My Brother, My Brother and Me (MBMBaM) podcast. And other folks belong to other similar communities all over the world. People are throwing weddings, birthday parties and graduations, all online, all simulated in Animal Crossing. The “Graduation Together” TV special shown on all four broadcast networks featured Kumail Nanjiami’s giving an Animal Crossing graduation address.
Even if you can’t afford or choose to not purchase the online option required to play with other humans, you still have 10 animal friends living in your village. Some may be crankier than others, but every single one of them is delighted to talk to you. Even the crankiest residents randomly compliment you, or provide positive and uplifting messages. For anyone who might have a hard time connecting with other people in real life, especially now that we are all forced into a type of solitary confinement, there is always a resident in the game who is happy to know you, who will mail you letters and gifts, and who will stand with you on the beach while you make wishes on shooting stars.
Even the most jaded among us needs friends like that right now, and Animal Crossing provides them.
This one is less my song than The Big W – I came up with the concept and provided only about 6% of the lyrics. My son [OutLyer] really wrote and performed the whole thing himself. I just like to call it “our” song. I did the weirdly crappy video, though!
I just hit the one-year anniversary of my podcast, Adventures in Jodysitting, and I’m shocked.. SHOCKED… that I didn’t give up on it the way I have so many other things. Now if only the 11 listeners could each pony up a hundred thousand dollars, we’d be talking wild success.
If you haven’t listened to the podcast recently, or at all, I think episodes 26 and 27 are pretty good. If you listen to them, the numbers will bump up, and I will be a happy girl. I mean, it’s up to you, but don’t you like happy girls?