I almost didn’t have a blog post this week, and I think you’ll probably laugh at me when I tell you why.
It’s because on Friday afternoon, Shane showed up at home with a copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons for me. He’d seen my post on Instagram about it, and decided it would be a lovely surprise. I was pretty excited, so I plugged in my Switch to charge and download the update so I could play.
The next thing I knew, it was Monday morning.
I had spent the vast majority of the weekend in my ugliest pajamas, happily curled up on the couch and lost on my own private island with talking trash pandas in Hawaiian shirts.
It’s worth noting that I’d never played an Animal Crossing game before. It was always one of those things that I’d see on Instagram every now and again, think to myself that it looked cute and maybe I should check it out, and then promptly forget about.
I actually don’t even remember doing that much research on the most recent one, but as it turns out, Shane knows me better than I know myself because I honestly don’t know the last time I got so caught up in a game that I lost track of time for days.
So with only four days clocked in my new game, I thought I’d take today to share why I’m so suddenly obsessed with it!
It’s like a less-tedious Harvest Moon.
One thing most of you will know about me by this point is how much I love Harvest Moon.
The most difficult part of my beloved games, though, is the fact that I know there are chores. Sometimes, there are things I just want to go out and do, and it drives me crazy that I have to do my chores before I can do the fun things.
It’s just too much like real life, you know?
I think the biggest difference for me learning about Animal Crossing for the first time was the realization that there really are no obligatory things to do. Sure, there are quests and things to do for the development of your island, but for the most part you’re free to do what you want.
It tried—and failed—to gate my progress.
Rather like the Pokémon games post-Gen II, Animal Crossing: New Horizons works on a real-world clock.
At first, I liked it, because I didn’t have to worry about running out of time like I always did in my Harvest Moon games. But then I realized that when Tom Nook says stuff will be ready tomorrow, he means I have to wait an entire real-world day.
How about nope.
Now, because Nintendo had been smart enough to fix the date-changing exploit we all used to use in Pokémon (I believe it was X and Y when they finally fixed that, but correct me if I’m wrong), it didn’t even occur to me that the same thing would work again on the Switch.
But lo and behold, it does.
Out of sheer impatience, I could transform myself into a time-traveling progress addict with zero regard of how I was affecting the timelines, and I’m pretty sure I made a week’s worth of construction happen in two days. Whoops.
It lets me do whatever I want with my house.
I would say that a good 80% of the time I spend in games is figuring out how to get a house, and then figuring out how to make that house look nice.
If you don’t believe me, know this: I’ve run out of plots in my game of the Sims 4 and consistently only play Sims long enough for them to move into the houses I’ve built for them.
The reason this particular game appeals to me so much is that there’s a lot of freedom with it. As you learn new recipes, you can make new things and customize them for your home.
I’m actually really excited to see how it progresses; I’ve seen so many photos of what people design in Animal Crossing games, and I can’t wait to try my hand at it.
It’s full of terrible puns and Easter eggs.
A relatively unknown fact about me on my blog is how much I love puns. I’m known for it at work, and my boss hates it because I make the same face as the bad pun dog meme.
One of the first things I noticed (right about when I caught my first fish) was that this game is absolutely packed with terrible puns, and I love all of them. It’s just so clever.
There are also a lot of funny Easter eggs throughout, like the pair of dodos named Wilbur and Orville who run the airport.
Things like that just make my heart happy in ways I can’t describe.
It’s a console game that actually encourages user-made content.
I’m a real sucker for any game that allows me to customize things, and although most games will have options and whatnot, it’s usually relatively limited. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a console game before that actually allows and encourages users to make their own content in the game, let alone share it with others.
That was one of the most surprising things to learn; that through the now-kind-of-archaic technology of QR codes, anyone anywhere in the world can create designs and upload them for others to try.
It’s actually incredibly cool, especially because it seems like you design in pixels and the game automatically smooths the lines when it’s applied to an item. I’ve already spent way too much time on Pinterest looking for textures to use for my growing house!