The last couple blog entries were really cathartic and I thought I’d keep doing them, but, well, here we are. A lot’s happened in the last few months. And not happened. But I’m going to elide all that and talk about Animal Crossing.
Animal Crossing: New Horizon came out almost the exact same time everything shut down and I held out a week or so, but seeing as a bunch of my friends were getting into it and I had a switch, I figured why not?
I hadn’t played the previous Animal Crossing games, mostly because I was turned off by the idea that it was a real-time world and the animals would get mad at you if you didn’t show up all the time and clean up the weeds. Buddy, I got a job. Nobody’s got time for your weeds.
I have time for weeds now.
And really, they removed pretty much all of that in New Horizon. There’s pretty much no negative consequence to abandoning your village. This, however, has not been an issue for me. According to my switch profile, I’ve logged something like 700 hours in this game. Mind you, I’ll just kind of leave it running sometimes to have the music playing in the background (the soundtrack is awesome). But I do check it every day. What prices are turnips selling for? Who can I give gifts to? Who’s visiting my island today? How are my hybrid roses coming?
The ridiculous animal neighbours with their cookie-cutter mad lib dialog actually brighten my day. They’ll say funny things. They’ll tell me they appreciate me. They’ll get really excited about things I did. You’ll catch them talking to one another and they’ll ask you for advice. They’ll throw me a birthday party. It’s very sweet.
What’s more, it feels like being part of a society that cares about you. In a way that’s difficult to find in the real world right now. I can do the trivial little jobs it gives me to do and feel better about myself, and make my virtual fantasy island a little bit better along the way, one day at a time.