I never did a post about games, did I? And here I am, totally hooked on the perfect game for this time: Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Both of us love playing video games and board games. My guy may have a different preference, but mostly we can play a lot of the same games. Animal Crossing is one of those games we play together. It’s cute, simple and yet challenging in a way. The ultimate collecting game, a chance for limited design and oh, the cutest creatures! Let me show you.

Our Village: Full of Fun Creatures

We have played Animal Crossing before on the original Nintendo DS. So when we started playing we understood the concept. We knew the village on the island would end up having lots of cute, crude, funny, sporty, snobby, sweet, grumpy and lovely neighbours. The neighbours are cute versions of creatures such as deer, cats, hippo’s, gorilla’s and octopu, octopi … octopuses? Each has a distinct personality, more or less. We like some more than others. There are some we would love to stay forever (Flurry! Fiona! Fuchsia!) and some we would like to see leave as soon as possible ( … Gigi. Move.). I am sure we will get fed up at some point with the weird chitchat and odd behaviour, but for now it is a joy to see Fuchsia sing on the beach whenever she feels like it.

Then there are the visitors, each with a mission. Sahara to sell you rugs, Flick who buys your bugs at an insane price, Label who helps you get fashionable. There is weather – rain or sunshine. There are chores to do: weeding, fishing, chopping wood. You can craft your own furniture for your own house (or to give as gifts) and there is an intricate way to grow and breed flowers to get rare colours. Not my thing, but my guy is really into that. I mostly run to the Able sisters (hedgehogs) and the Nook twins (raccoons) to get clothes and furniture. It is basically all about making money to spend money. Even if money is called ‘Bells’.

The Fun of Grinding

What is grinding? It is when you repeat a thing in a game that gives you resources, purely to get those resources. It’s usually not fun, being repetitive and boring. But you do it to gain in-game currency, experience points, levels, whatever your aim is to enhance your enjoyment of the game. ACNH is a grinding game.

We run around in the morning, afternoon, evening, hitting rocks for money, shaking trees for money, hunting bugs for money, fishing for money. Then we use that money (Bells) to buy virtual, pixel clothes for our little villager and furniture for its little virtual house. It sounds … dreadful! However, this game is too cute! Even when you are shaking trees, you hope for some furniture to fall out of it: it’s a lottery, because you may already have it, or not like it or not need it. But the chance it will be something cute and amazing is just delightful! Yay! I found a rattan wardrobe in this tree! Woohoo! Look at this cute radio! Aww, it even plays music if you activate it! Awww!

And it works. We keep coming back to the game, doing the same things, and still finding new objects. But mostly we bear the grinding because there are special events. Some of these events are more special than others. We were not a fan of Bunny day, but Earth day allowed for a whole new set of plants and flowers to be planted, to decorate our little island village. We love it.

What is the goal of the game?

I … am not sure. I guess it is to extend your virtual house (done that). To fill up the museum (that’ll take a year at least). To collect all the things (ha. I think I will never get all the things). To keep decorating and re-decorating the island and the village, at a price of course. It all comes down to spending lots of Bells.

I guess as long as there is enough to explore, we will keep coming back. It’s a charming game, we love the neighbours and we enjoy running around hitting rocks and shaking trees. It feels like we get to go away for a bit, even when we arejust sitting on our sofa. Again. And still. And we’re still here. In our real house. Which is just getting to be a bit boring, day after day. At least on our island we can change and redecorate anytime we want to. If we have the Bells. So, I am off to shake some trees and do some fishing!

Who is your favourite island neighbour on Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

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