in an article about animal crossing, illustration of isabelle on an island

Why You Should Give Animal Crossing Another Try

Your villagers miss you.
December 19, 2022
7 mins read

Animal Crossing: New Horizons became insanely popular during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the franchise turning 19 years old at the time. People didn’t have a lot to do when businesses shut their doors, so the game became an escape, especially for college students who felt overburdened by student loans. Instead of paying their real bills, they took the time to earn enough bells to pay their debts to Tom Nook, the raccoon who controls the game’s economy.

With life returning to a semblance of normalcy, it seems that people don’t care to play Animal Crossing anymore, most likely because they are no longer able to play it all day, every day, for weeks on end. However, gamers can and should still integrate the video game into their lives in one of three different ways: by watching other people play, by playing with an existing save or, the most time-consuming option, by starting their island over.

Side note: If gamers cannot afford Animal Crossing: New Horizons, they can play Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, a free mobile version of the game that is just as fun as the original. Instead of running an island, Pocket Camp players run a campsite where they can meet every single character they would while playing on a Nintendo Switch.

Watching Other People Play

If starting another island or trying to remember their old villagers is too uninspiring, gamers can instead watch streamers play Animal Crossing. Sparksby made a great video on tips and tricks that players should know, including how to set up the game, as well as cheats that make gameplay easier and more worthwhile.

Although YouTuber   @lilsimsee typically specializes in Sims 4 gameplay and building, she still has some great videos showcasing her Animal Crossing: New Horizons island.  This tour of their island reminds viewers of the different things that they can do within the game. Many other Animal Crossing enthusiasts make videos on YouTube; this list is by no means exhaustive.

Playing With An Existing Save

Revisiting an old island is the easiest option to get back into the game. Animal Crossing can be very simple if you let it be. If a player has an existing save with a fully developed island, then they can possibly get away with playing to maintain it. For instance, they can talk to their villagers, who will probably say something along the lines of: “Oh, it’s been six months since I’ve last seen you. I thought you didn’t want to see me.” Interestingly enough, after two or three interactions, the animals start to seem annoyed. They may start to say things like, “Isn’t the island big enough for the two of us?” or “Can’t get enough of me, can you?” The attitude coming from these cute little creatures can be jarring at first, but their cutesy facades do a lot to soften their blows.

Animal Crossing gamers can also decorate their existing houses and islands. The home decor options are truly endless; you just have to be patient when it comes to getting furniture, artwork, wallpapers and rugs. Gamers can have sleek modern houses, or more cartoonish abodes; it just depends on their preferences. The island decor is endless as well, but players must first earn certain tools to make pathways, bridges, gardens, hills, museums and more.

If you don’t have the Happy Home Paradise downloadable content, many players recommend it. The expansion pack allows for further gameplay: Your character can start a new job as an island home decorator, which unlocks the option to buy new goods that aren’t available in the base game. In the expanded game, players can build schools, cafes, restaurants and hospitals. The add-on’s gameplay is very cute. Players have uniforms and furry coworkers, and there are even more animals to meet. It adds so much life to the already-loved game.

Starting Your Island Over

Starting a new Animal Crossing: New Horizons island can be exhausting. It is rewarding for players to see their efforts pay off, but the process does take time. At the game’s start, players live in a tent alongside two animals who will later become their villagers. Then, they must decide what they will name their island, and they are assigned a fruit. My first island had pears, and my second (and current) one has cherries.

Every day, gamers work on a new goal. The first goal is to pay off their initial loan for moving to their island. This goal can be easily achieved just by playing the game how one normally would. Then, the game slowly picks up speed as you build your first house. Later, players can catch bugs and fish to build a museum, after which they are able to open a store. Soon enough, the island will be rated 3 stars and K.K. Slider, who is one of the most famous animals in the game, will arrive and perform live music every weekend. Who knows, maybe gamers will earn 5-star island ratings.

Animal Crossing is a great way for students to get their minds off the stressors that come along with a busy semester. Instead of being memorialized as a pandemic game, it can be brought back to life and become a much needed-escape from everyday life.

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