Tom Nook's mortgage holiday

The Five Ws of Animal Crossing

Hi again 👋

Enjoying my seaside cafe (it’s a work in progress, OK) with Pancetti

Hope you’re doing well and you are keeping well in spite of your lockdown/quarantine/social distancing situation. Damn, rona.

For a lot of people — and I mean A LOT of people — one thing has been helping them get through, a game for the Nintendo Switch called Animal Crossing: New Horizons..

🍃 What’s the whole idea?

If you’ve played the Sims at all, then you should be able to follow along pretty easily. Animal Crossing is a social simultation game that’s been pretty heavily cut down, no worrying about your sim’s pesky ‘needs’ or ‘wants’ here.

The series has had five games so far - all for Nintendo consoles or smartphones (let’s not go there) but the latest and greatest is Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch.

The concept is broadly the same, you — a human — have moved to a brand new place where you are joined by a group of animal neighbours, and it’s your job as the main character to develop the town, your house and yourself from humble beginnings into whatever you want them to be.

It’s unsurprising that a game set on a remote, idyllic island would gain popularity when many people are marooned at home, maybe even in just one or two rooms, by the coronavirus.

But the big selling point — like Fortnite, Valorant, Minecraft or even Discord — is that remote socialising is baked in. You can visit other people’s islands, and they can visit you in turn… You can send your friends presents or kit your character out with their custom clothes designs (read to the end for a couple that I’ve made).

And you won’t be surprised to hear that ’s a huge online community built up around the title — the game’s main subreddit is just hovering outside the top 100 most popular on the site, according to Redditlist while websites like Turnip Exchange have become the defacto phone book for island visits when you want to get hold of rare items or get paid big money for turnips (more about turnips in a minute).

🍏 Getting started — a few tips from me to you

  • Take it slow to start because there’s never more than a couple of hours worth of gameplay per day as you get going.

  • If you don’t know what to do next, go ask Tom Nook, “What can I do”.

  • Be a bit of a hoarder when it comes to raw materials like wood, soft wood, hard wood, sticks and stones. You’ll end up needing them to make more tools and you’ll have plenty of storage available inside your house.

  • Once you’ve paid off the first or second home upgrade, don’t sweat it too much unless you desperately need more rooms. Your storage is generous even without the top upgrade.

  • Get into the turnip trading game ASAP, i.e. the first Sunday morning after you start playing. In a nutshell, a boar called Daisy-Mae will visit your island each Sunday morning to sell turnips — an item that sells at Nook’s Cranny for different prices each morning and afternoon and will rot (become unsellable) by the next Sunday. After you’ve bought as much as you’re comfortable with, use an app or website like Turnip Prophet, Turnip Predictor (iOS) or Turnip Price Calculator to work out the right time to sell… or head to a friend’s island (or a friend-to-be via Turnip Exchange) to sell if they’ve got a good price going.

  • Don’t worry if you can’t get around your island much to start with because more tools become available.

  • When you start developing villagers’ houses, bear in mind where they’ll be most accessible. If you aren’t happy though, you will be able to move them later for a price.

🖋 Cool takes on AC and gaming in quarantine

You won’t be surprised to know that there’s been a lot of a great writing about Animal Crossing since it was released about a month and a half ago.

“Plenty of games let you pick an outfit, but Animal Crossing lets you pick all the elements of an outfit, from socks and hats and shoes to dresses, turn-ups, shorts, parkas … that makes an Animal Crossing outfit feel unique,”

— 'It’s a way to live out fantasies': how Animal Crossing became fashion's new catwalk, The Guardian

Real, actual couture and designer clothing is turning up inside the game, thanks to hardcore fashion fans.

Or how about meeting up to celebrate Eid in game (via Sophia Smith Galer)

“Recovery from Covid-19 was lonely. Playing the game with Kevin and his girlfriend helped me feel connected to my family,” says Dawn. “We have shared a lot of laughs these past few weeks and it has been the closest I’ve felt to my son in a long time.”

— Quarantine is creating brand-new gamers, Polygon

An adorable article about how people are connecting with video games for the first time while stuck inside because of the virus.

I’ve been trying to get a brand new gamer of my own — my girlfriend — on board with Animal Crossing. I’ll let you know how it goes.

TV is finding it tough to put on its regular programming, especially the US late night shows which are mostly being produced from the host’s home, if at all. Well, so is this late night show which is filmed in front of a live animal audience, inside Animal Crossing:

T-Pain was on Animal Talking. Elijah Wood appeared on Animal Talking. It’s just been the season finale, but don’t worry if you get into it because it’s back in June every week.

Extras for your island

As I mentioned, here’s a few designs I’ve come up with in the game — so feel free to boot up your Custom Design Kiosk in Able Sisters and download them:

If you can’t make out the codes, they’re all on my Twitter too

A few more non-AC links to peruse

  • Don’t know about you but I’ve become an avid consumer of TikToks during all this. Here’s a primer on why the next big celebrity probably isn’t going to be everyone’s celebrity… we’re all going to have our own ones.

  • Amazon’s looking to invest in local podcasts about news and sport and getting them to people using smart speakers and devices with Alexa built-in, reports Axios.

  • Oh - and just because I ended up reminicing about this moment from a month ago, the story of a man and a women who allegedly broke up because she refused to reveal the location of her secret stash of beans.

  • rise up step chickens

That’s all for this week.

Thanks for checking in - hit me up with your favourite custom designs, or any questions you have about Animal Crossing and I’ll try to answer them.