Animal Crossing, Three Months In
It's been just shy of three months to the day since I embarked on the Desert Island Getaway Package and became the Resident Representative for Goo Island, a once-barren tropical island sitting in the middle of some vibrant, unnamed ocean. From humble beginnings, Goo Island has been transformed into a bustling town, and has become home to a colourful cast of creatures. It even has its own economy, seemingly funded solely by three raccoons with an insatiable desire for as many fruit, bugs, fish and fossils that I can give them. I'll admit I've perhaps taken advantage of this insatiable desire, and made it my mission to make as much money as possible off them. It all ends up going back in the pocket of Tom Nook, anyway.
I've not spent this money selfishly, though. Far from it, in fact (aside from expanding my house from a modest tent to a mansion, complete with a basement and its own home office, of course). I've spent this money wisely, with the everyday inhabitant of the island in mind. I've built a Basketball Court, a Zen Garden, paved streets and adorned them with benches, streetlights and signage. I've worked tirelessly to encourage entrepreneurs from all walks of life to visit the island - Blathers has set up a museum here which has been expanded twice already. The Able Sisters have set up shop, selling all manner of fashion and clothing items. I even get visits from a shady fox in a rusty trawler, claiming to sell famous art. I'm not sure I trust him, but his appearances on my beach are welcome nonetheless. The world-famous K.K. Slider even shows up to perform live acoustic sets, which is pretty chill (I just wish he'd put some pants on though....). I've slaved away hacking at rocks and trees to gather enough materials to build water fountains, fences and swing sets. I've planted dozens of flower beds, kept weeds at bay and allowed all the ingredients in a fruit salad to grow on my beloved Goo Island. Simply put, almost every decision I've made has been for the good of the island.
On day one, I started my journey off alongside Tank the Rhino, and Tammy the Bear. Tank is obsessed with working out, although I've never actually seen him training, and Tammy won't stop sending me mail. Slowly, I invited more and more folk onto the island, and I like to think that we've all made some good friends along the way. I quickly became friends with Eugene the Koala, who literally always wears sunglasses - he's that cool. He also seems to live in an office, and I'm worried that he's maybe working too hard. I think though, that my best friend on the island might be Piper. I believe that she is a seagull, and she's convinced that she's going to become famous one day, and who am I to tell her otherwise? Goo Island may well be the home to future celebrities. Lately she's taken to calling me "Vitamin E" as an endearing nickname, and she also says I always look "perf", which I can't disagree with.
The island has even seen a little uptake in tourism of late. An airline service, Dodo Airlines, operates on the island, manned by a couple of dodos (Literally. I'm adamant that dodos went extinct, but I've not got the nerve to confront them about this). I'll often take short trips to other deserted islands, or go and visit the towns of my friends, who have also set up their own miniaturised paradises in this vibrant, unnamed ocean. I'll send and receive gifts from them, share photos or take a leisurely wander through their museum to check out what interesting critters they have donated. We're currently not charging entry for visits to Goo Island as I'm trying to get us some exposure before we hit the big bucks, but it's all good! Simply put, I'm something of a hero to Goo Island. Would the island exist in its current state without me? Well, who's to say? (It wouldn't.) Nevertheless, I have to say I've thoroughly enjoyed my tenure as Nook's appointed Resident Representative thus far, and I'm sure I'll continue to enjoy my post in future for a little while yet.
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Animal Crossing is a strange old game. There are plenty of games around nowadays that don't set the player specific goals, and instead offer you a series of tools to enable you to do pretty much whatever you want. Minecraft, Subnautica, Rust and Terraria are just the tip of the iceberg in this survival/crafting genre, but in many ways, I think the Animal Crossing series beat them to it by over a decade. It may not be quite as open-world or as crafting-heavy as some of these games, but it's always been a game about making your own plans and goals, doing your own thing and allowing your creativity to shine through. Each iteration of the franchise has expanded on this idea somehow, and New Horizons takes leaps and bounds in this regard.
I often struggle with games that don't give the player specific goals after a while. I'll no doubt return to Minecraft again every year or so after making a new world, but a lot of games that play this way struggle to keep my attention for long sustained periods of time. New Horizons, so far, has done an excellent job at retaining my attention, although I do sometimes fear that I have achieved much of what the game has to offer already. Thankfully, it looks like Nintendo have been hard at work, offering events and updates for the game to keep people interested in playing. We've already seen a bunch of seasonal events including Bunny Day (the less said about that, the better), May Day, Earth Day, Museum Day, and Wedding Season. In addition to this, they've added Redd and his art, as well as the gallery expansion of the museum. The florist Leif, along with bushes and hedge items, and a number of small new items and patches. I'm sure that there are more to come, and not only that - there's still plenty of seasonal content that I'm yet to come across simply because I haven't played the game in Summer, Autumn or Winter yet. There are fish and bugs that simply won't appear on my island yet, and no doubt a slew of Halloween, Harvest, Bonfire Night, Christmas or New Year-themed events to come.
I've had a blast with the game so far, and I've already written about how it came at the right time for the world right now. According to my Switch, I've racked up over 160 hours playtime. It already feels like I've achieved so much with the game, but I'm sure there's still enough new items, characters for me to meet, and things to do coming up on the horizon over the next three months, and beyond. New things, on the horizon. Heh. New Horizons. Get it? 'Cause it's the name of the game.
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And now, before you go, I'd like to share a load of photos that I've taken in-game. It's a feature that was technically in the 3DS version, but it was very barebones. New Horizons embraces the concept and goes significantly further, and I've been having a lot of fun with it.