Animal Crossing Struggles

My 'Animal Crossing' Struggles


When I was younger, I religiously played a wide variety of video games on my light pink Nintendo DS. I dabbled in Nintendogs, Cooking Mama and Imagine: Figure Skater, but one game reigned supreme: Animal Crossing


I don’t remember when or why my brother decided to buy Animal Crossing: Wild World. I remember we were in Target once, and he had saved up money to buy one new video game. He chose Animal Crossing: Wild World.


My 10-year-old self was intrigued. 


From that day on, we were hooked. I’m not sure how exactly we made this work, but we shared one copy of the game and took turns playing it on our respective consoles (his DS was silver, since pink is obviously not a masculine color). 


I hope my villagers from Animal Crossing: Wild World are doing okay, since I have not played the game in ten years. My brother and I also eventually progressed to Animal Crossing: City Folk for the Wii. We later formed the sophisticated opinion that “Wild World” was clearly better. 


Somehow though, here I am, 21-years-old, and still playing Animal Crossing after a brief ten-year hiatus. 

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

In March, Animal Crossing: New Horizons launched. During this early era of the coronavirus, many people experienced the same feeling of being instantly hooked on the game, as I had experienced with Wild World. I watched others play New Horizons with envy. I even watched my own brother — who I once shared a copy of the game with — smugly play the game in front of me. 


I couldn’t justify spending so much money on a Nintendo Switch just to play a game I loved as a ten-year-old. The whole world seemed engrossed in Animal Crossing. It is an easy way to return to nostalgic childhood memories — especially during a time period that has been so difficult for most of us. 


Over two months ago, I decided I couldn’t take the agony any longer. I caved and bought a Switch — this time in blue, unlike my old DS — and once again returned to Animal Crossing. Before I started playing again, I watched plenty of five-star island tours. I was unimpressed, and assumed my island would quickly look much better than any of these. 


I was unbelievably wrong. 


I am now two months into the game, and my island looks like garbage. 


I have maybe one small section of my island I’m proud of, and I play almost every day. Obviously, I have to make time for Animal Crossing each day, even with a time-intensive leadership position in a student organization, a job, an internship and a full-time course load. 


My island may be a three-star island, but if I were Isabelle, I would give it zero stars. I would give my island negative stars if that were an option. My island has absolutely no theme. I originally wanted a cottage-core vibe with a lot of pink, but it is now just utter garbage with a few random pink flowers. This may sound self-deprecating, but I promise none of it is an exaggeration.


I am incredibly self-aware about the level of trash my island radiates. 


Moreover, I hate the vast majority of my villagers. I like Sherb, Merengue and sometimes I like Audie. The rest of my villagers fit the trash-vibe of my island. Each time a new villager moves to my island, it seems like someone working for Nintendo is trying to personally choose the ugliest villager possible to move to my island. And Sherb — my absolute favorite villager — still has the audacity to try to leave the island. 

Photo by Felipe Vieira on Unsplash

This may sound like I hate Animal Crossing, but that’s so far from the truth. This game, and my piece of garbage island, live rent-free in my mind. I literally had a dream about Animal Crossing the other night. What level of ridiculousness is that?


Someday, I guess I’ll get tired of New Horizons and abandon my ugly villagers. This island will disappear into the abyss of video-game-past just like my creations in Wild World and City Folk - but that day is absolutely not coming any time soon. 


I, too, am whipped by Animal Crossing: New Horizons for now.