It is pretty protected to say that we have been all fairly depressed in the beginning of 2020, what with all of the *gestures at all the things*, and in March, I used to be in the identical boat. I had simply come again from a visit to Boston for PAX, a gaming expo, and the entire COVID factor began occurring for actual about midway via the week-long conference. It was bizarre – everybody out of the blue began changing handshakes with elbow bumps, as if that will cease the unfold of a extremely contagious illness in a conference centre crammed with hundreds of individuals.
Fortunately, there was Animal Crossing: New Horizons ready for me again at dwelling. I spent roughly 300 hours on New Leaf, so with my 14 million Bells within the financial institution and my absolutely upgraded dwelling, I used to be able to beat Animal Crossing once more.
When it got here out, I had a five-hour headstart over all my pals, as a result of my account was primarily based within the UK and I used to be dwelling in Montreal, Canada – a five-hour time distinction from London. I used these 5 hours to blast via the intro and begin unlocking friendships, fishing, and FUN. It was wonderful: a lightweight of happiness on the finish of the coronavirus tunnel.
Solely, it wasn’t the top of the tunnel, was it? It wasn’t even actually the beginning. Keep in mind when folks tweeted issues like “Day 6 of lockdown!” as if we would nonetheless be counting? Yeah, I ended counting after I stopped caring about carrying trousers.
I am an extrovert, you see. I thrive on firm, and being manner too stuffed with vitality at events and gatherings. Now we will not have events and gatherings, so I am left with out anybody to hassle. Animal Crossing was a godsend – out of the blue, I used to be connecting with folks I hadn’t talked to in years, visiting the islands of individuals on Twitter that I might at all times wished to be pals with. I used to be having these big events on my island, which is called “egg” (in lowercase and all the things), the place everybody would congratulate me on my glorious island, and I might showcase my cute home, beaming with satisfaction (and, sure, okay, somewhat little bit of smugness).
However, finally, the shine wore off. Someplace in mid-summer, the truth of the entire thing began actually setting in. I used to be in a protracted distance relationship, and though I pressured him to purchase New Horizons, too, it wasn’t the identical. I used to be dwelling in Canada, hundreds of miles and a complete dang ocean away from my household and a few of my closest pals. Animal Crossing was like placing a tiny Thomas the Tank Engine plaster on a lacking leg.
I ended taking part in Animal Crossing round June, after I was most likely at my saddest level. I went from taking part in for hours each single evening to not even touching the Change. Isabelle’s sunny face not lit up my evenings; Blathers’ Museum gathered mud; and the updates that got here after that – diving, Turkey Day, all the things winter-themed – went totally unacknowledged. I might see folks tweeting about Snowboy and there can be naught however a hole ring within the place the place my coronary heart was once.
Yeah, yeah, I am being dramatic. However the actuality is that this: it is laborious to search out pleasure in a joyful factor while you’ve squeezed all of it out, and there is nothing left. Animal Crossing can’t be used as a flotation gadget while you’re drowning within the ocean.
For the previous few months, I have been higher – however I nonetheless have not gone again to Animal Crossing. Simply as a tune can remind you of a breakup, I am afraid that strolling round my island will deliver again recollections of a worse time. Perhaps it will be speaking to a personality with a catchphrase that I discovered humorous on the time; perhaps it will be within the gigantic pile of turnips which might be little question rotting in my makeshift yard. Maybe it will be the reminder that I typically used redecorating my island and residential as a method to stifle the rising panic and fear in me. Perhaps it will be the villagers chastising me for my 8-month absence. The thought makes me really feel somewhat unhealthy. What is going to Sherb do with out my each day items?! He’ll be so unhappy!
I am somewhat afraid that I have been left behind, that my completely embarrassing lack of pine cones and snowflakes will mark me as an Animal Crossing noob after I labored so laborious to make my island lovely. I do not know how you can dive! I have never been shopping for Redd’s work! I’ve missed all the Autumn stuff!
I do know that lots of people have most likely already come to the conclusion that Animal Crossing does not should be a catch-em-all, collectathon, leaderboard-topping sort of recreation. It definitely has the construction to be that, in order for you it to, but when that is inflicting you undue stress, then perhaps it is time to take a step again and bear in mind why you liked this recreation within the first place, proper? It is laborious to remind your self that not all the things must be a contest to show how worthy you might be. It definitely feels that manner, sure, particularly when our solely human contact is social media, the place the place everybody is continually attempting to make their lives appear excellent.
However I wish to return to egg. I wish to hang around with Sherb once more. I wish to be taught to dive, to make a wonky Snowboy, to make gradual progress on my home – so this time, I’ll do it for me, and me alone. No screenshots on social media. I am not even going to attempt to impress the Blissful Residence Academy. My return might be quiet, and completely mine.
Nicely, aside from this text, I assume. However you already know what I imply.