Animal Crossing: New Horizons – a perfect world when ours isn’t

Credit: Nintendo

If you’re like me and live in the US, then you are more than likely in some sort of quarantine.

It’s not great. You can’t go anywhere, most places are closed and, as of right now, there’s no end in sight. 

I was in a world of despair when all of this started. Normal life as we know it is gone for a little while but, all hope is not lost. Shortly before I locked myself in my apartment, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Nintendo Switch which, in light of the quarantine, has become quite the hot commodity and nearly impossible to find in stock anywhere. 

Along with the Switch, I was able to get a copy of Nintendo’s wildly popular Animal Crossing: New Horizons and wow, this game couldn’t have come at a better time.

In the world of Animal Crossing, the possibilities are endless. You start off by selecting your own private island where you can build a house, design an entire city and create your own perfect oasis. On the Island, you’re greeted by Tom Nook, a raccoon who will be your guide while you scrounge around for wood to build your first fishing pole.

For the most part, things start off simple in the game. You make a few essential items and gather material that Tom Nook wants for the rest of the island. After you build your first house, the game really starts to take off. You can visit other uninhabited islands for more materials or for a different type of fruit that doesn’t grow on your island (foreign fruit sells for more money). 

You can play online with friends and visit their islands, or invite them to yours and spend time together fishing, hunting around for fossils, or catching bugs. All these you can bring to an impressive-sized museum to expand your island’s intellectual appeal. You can also just relax, design a whole new wardrobe, repaint your house, chat with animal friends, or do just about anything else you want.

The most interesting part of Animal Crossing to me is the fact that the game is tied to your system’s internal calendar. When Tom tells you that the museum you are helping build will be done “tomorrow,” he doesn’t mean in terms of Animal Crossing time — he means in real world hours. 

The entire game changes time with you. The seasons change in the game as they do in real life which adds a realistic element you won’t find in most games. The fact that you have to actually play the game, meaning you can’t just throw extra money to speed things up, is an added plus. You really have to play the game and invest time to create the perfect island. 

Yeah, you can change the dates on your Switch to “time travel,” but that defeats the point. The objective of Animal Crossing is just to enjoy the time you spend with it. You’re not racing to beat someone else, you don’t have to put more money into the game to make it fun. 

You can just enter your own little world and make it the best world you want it to be. In a time where we can’t leave our houses, spending a little time on a private island filled with talking animals sounds pretty nice to me.