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Five Lessons Learned After Three Days of Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Nintendo's 5th installment into the animal crossing series

It has been three days since I decided to play the Nintendo game Animal Crossing: New Horizons in the hope that it would give me a break from the chaotic reality that has been my mind. So far, so good. The game is beautiful and even though I’m playing it with Switch Lite, I don’t feel as if I am losing anything by being on a smaller device.

I love getting to have manageable goals that take time but feel attainable. Despite some missteps, I don’t feel overwhelmed despite this being my first rodeo with the franchise. That being said: there have been some missteps, and so I want to just share some of the things I’ve learned so you don’t make the same mistakes.

(1)  DO NOT EAT ALL YOUR FRUIT!

Everyone starts out on their deserted island with a certain native fruit. My island (which I named Krypton) had cherries as a native fruit, but we have now expanded to include coconuts. When I was told by one of the capitalists tanukis (probably Timmy Nook) about how eating the cherries gave you strength—I ate the cherries. He didn’t tell me that it would take a long time for them to grow back and you needed to plant some. They are trees! Thankfully, I found out about this from a Twitter thread before I was able to explore the other parts of the island and end up completely out of cherries. I wish I’d know before I ate all the pears I got as a present …

(2) DO NOT BREAK ALL YOUR ROCKS!

So while I was hulked out on cherries I also found out that I now had the strength to break rocks. Yeah, you don’t want to do that because they also grow back slowly. If you break the rock you might also miss out on your money rock, which is a special kind of rock that gives you money when you hit it. The best kind of rock, if you ask me. Instead, just hit it with a stone axe, without eating any fruit, because it’ll make you too strong, and you’ll be able to get much more resources from it.

(3) KEEP ALL THE CREATURES YOU CATCH IN THE EARLY PART OF THE GAME

Because I wanted to pay off Tom Nook and build up a savings account, I was capturing every critter I could find to show to him so that Blathers could come and build his museum. However, when he stopped needing them I just thought—okay I’ll sell them now because what else am I gonna do. WRONG! What I did not know is that you can just place the items you catch outside of your tent, or by the site for the museum. This is important because you need to capture a certain amount of creatures before you can even get the museum open. Because I was under the capitalistic thrall of the tanuki, I was only focused on getting money. So instead of moving further ahead, I was half a day behind.

(4) DO NOT GET ANXIOUS SEEING EVERYONE HAVING COOLER HOUSES/STUFF THAN YOU!!!

I got this game because self-isolation has been hard and I wanted something that would make me feel at ease. Animal Crossing is doing that, but I’m not gonna lie seeing everyone online who has already managed to trick out their houses and clothes made me feel like I was playing the game wrong. I still can barely master custom designs, but some people out here recreating French sapphic masterpieces. I still have to pay off my house!

Thing is, you can’t play Animal Crossing wrong. You can make mistakes that set you back a little, but that’s part of the journey. There are no real consequences you just have to work a little harder. Enjoy the journey, because when you do unlock all the fun bits, you will be just in line with everyone else.

(5) WHEN IT DOUBT TAKE A NAP!

Despite the fact that you can’t “lose” the game, it can still be frustrating at times when you realize you’ve made a misstep. Now that I need to collect 30 iron nuggets for the capitalist tanuki, but I have destroyed all of my rocks, I know it’s gonna take me a while to get all the things I need right now. However, instead of freaking out, I’m just gonna go with it. When I feel I’ve done all I can for the moment, I just go lay down in my hay bed and take a nap, turn off the game and go do something else. Part of the fun is being able to take a break and not lose momentum.

Share your Animal Crossing adventures down below!

(image: Nintendo)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.