In the past, Animal Crossing has never quite clicked with me.
I’ve played all of them since the GameCube game, although not quite in order. In general, I will enjoy them at first, then I’ll fall off once I get more into the regular cycle: I start up the game, run around and gather fossils that appeared overnight, get them checked, sell ones that aren’t in the museum, and maybe go to the island (in New Leaf) to make some money. In the end, it never felt all that important or enjoyable to me. Goal-less games didn’t click with me when I was younger; I was 16 when New Leaf came out and I feel like I’ve lived an entire lifetime since then.
Now I’m 23 and Animal Crossing: New Horizons is out and I’ve been playing it for about a week. I have enjoyed how many things I’ve had to do this week, as it’s felt mostly goal-oriented. I’ve been gathering resources, making furniture for new villagers, etc, and it’s been really fun and different. After a couple days though, things started to get back into that usual routine and I began feeling unfulfilled again.
When I was younger, my houses in Animal Crossing were rooms filled with things on the outer rim, with not much in between. In New Leaf, I started trying to theme my rooms a bit, but I never put much effort into it. It felt difficult waiting to find all the pieces to a set I needed with how random the shopping selection could be. My house felt boring and bland, as I never felt much need to make it anything beautiful.
That all changed with Twitter.
When I played New Leaf back when it came out in 2013, I was still in high school. I used Facebook and Tumblr, but never religiously. I now have a Twitter, and when I’m on it I am barraged by images of people’s elegant Animal Crossing houses and towns. The game has only been out for a week, so there hasn’t been much for everyone to work with. Even with limited resources, people are still making beautiful outside areas and homes. One that struck me as simple but beautiful was Austin Walker’s area outside his house in game:
All it is is fencing and a couple decorations, but it’s so pleasing to look at.
So by seeing others creations, I finally felt a need to make my own. Maybe it came out of a want for social media likes, but I like to think it came from a togetherness I wanted to feel with others while isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being able to share my cute house and town seemed like a good idea to me. The next day I decided to decorate the outside of my house. I didn’t need to wait on certain items to appear in-store, as I could just craft them with resources.
It felt good.
The new decorating abilities I had in New Horizons made it so much more appealing to me. The crafting system managed to removed waiting for items I liked to appear. The ability to place items outside and on walls (and on top of tall wardrobes even) was constrained to the side installations in the franchise that came out after New Leaf. Now that I’m able to place items in most places it has open up decorating for me. We were destined to get these updates put into the next main game installation, but we just haven’t had one since they’ve been included until now.
I even designed a fruit tree grove for fruit that wasn’t native to my island. In the picture below I have rows of peach and cherry trees growing. My native fruit was pears which are hated by the fandom right now. I messed up a couple times, but now you can dig up a sapling immediately after planting to move it elsewhere which has made organizing things like a fruit orchard much more enjoyable. When the game allows you to fix things you mess up easily, it becomes more relaxing and pleasing to decorate.
I’m looking forward to getting more clothing items, decorations, and DIY recipes to craft more decorations. I was never into changing up my look in the games either, so the freedom to drastically change your style by downloading patterns online or buying the more diverse range of options they have in game is an exciting prospect to me. I’m even getting motivated to make cool clothing patterns because I keep seeing them on Twitter.
As for now, I am wearing a baby hat because that is one of the few hats I’ve had access to. The baby hat also borders on cute and funny, which is very good to me. It is definitely staying in my outfit rotation. Past that I’m trying to find new clothing, but I’ve only been able to shop from Mable once.
Going forward, I’m excited to make my island-become-town more beautiful as time goes on. If you’re interested in following my town, check out my twitter, and if you’re interested in just seeing really pretty islands of anyone, check out the hashtag on twitter. If you have the game, feel free to send me pics of your island’s decorations! I will gladly take inspiration from you for decorating. And remember: even if you worry that your decorations or town look bad, as long as you like it, it is still good and okay. Everyone deserves to be proud of their creations and decorating abilities in New Horizons, even if it takes awhile for them to snag you an A rank from the Happy Home Academy.
Originally published at http://www.zoramikau.com on March 28, 2020.