I’ve been playing Animal Crossing New Horizons for over a year … and I wasn’t expecting it. A retrospective of the trip

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I have never played the same video game continuously for so long. And I would never have imagined that Animal Crossing: New Horizons was going to be the work that carried that honor. Yes, I’ve been playing the latest installment of the franchise on Nintendo Switch for more than a year and I don’t think I’m going to stop doing it anytime soon. I will not deny that there is much to clarify in these words and that several factors have accumulated at the same time to reach this milestone, as if the stars of the universe had aligned to conspire against my habits, but I can’t detract from a product that I think is magnificent.

Like a good chunk of the game’s more than 30 million copies sold, mine arrived during its premiere days due to the lockdown situation. A good way to hang out at home, with my partner, with a relaxed game that we can both like. It was the first time that I entered a saga that I had always wanted to try but that seemed very far from my tastes; He was not prejudiced (unlike other players) but neither did he have a special predilection for his proposal. How wrong I was, going back now.

It was a quick romance. A few exchanges of words on the first date were enough to know that there was that complicated connection that is so difficult to find and that we often force out of need and desire. I was conquered by his use of time, that simple premise that went against all the works that seemed to be thrown at me without a parachute for a few years., of those that require you to play all day to complete them and have hundreds of hours of content “because it is what the public wants.” Animal Crossing New Horizons just kicked me out; “You have nothing more to do, come back tomorrow.” That pot-bellied raccoon was right. For the first time, I was running into a game that I didn’t want to keep playing because there were simply no more reasons to continue.

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Under those circumstances, locked up at home, it was easy to engender the routine of visiting the island once a day, sometimes even twice. Get used to its characteristics that, I insist, were totally new to me. I was fascinated by the conversations with my first neighbors, that the island began to feel more and more alive thanks to my small achievements, that it really pushed me to try to pay my debts (damn raccoon capitalism) and to collect all the bugs and fish that found. To enter my island, with which I was falling out of that virtual ocean, was to enter a necessary peace.

Little by little and thanks to sharing the improvement and evolution of the island with my partner, hand in hand, the routine took root more strongly in our lives. The months passed, our knowledge about the game expanded and we had already managed to reveal its biggest secrets. We knew how the neighbor “recruiting” system worked, what were the best methods to obtain new objects and recipes, we shared our experience with other virtual friends from time to time, we visited islands to “borrow” some design ideas … it became part of our day to day, and The beautiful thing is that he achieved it with such force that he managed to tear down the confinement wall that in so many islands of other shipwrecked people caused their abandonment.

We simply liked to enter the island and do a minimum daily maintenance, pulling out the weeds, removing the extra flowers, checking the new objects available in the stores, tidying up certain areas, gradually building new rooms … and to chat with the neighbors, who also became little friends from day to day. “Look Azulino, he’s already singing again“, “Cashew is crazy and that’s why I love it“, “I’d be like Moe if I were on the real island: eating and sleeping all day“That one of them told us that they wanted to leave the island felt like a small stab, despite knowing that they are simple furries with a few lines of dialogue in their code (which fortunately have been updated over time). Thus, like those who do not want the thing, a powerful nucleus of animal neighbors was present in our days. Chatting with them, giving them a gift from time to time and checking if they sat down or enjoyed the new built areas became a haven of peace after long days of chores..

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And so the months went by, enjoying the novelties that were incorporated on the island and trying to justify our stay there. Swimming to get the scallops that Pascal ruthlessly gobbled down, scrutinizing Ladino’s works of art so that he wouldn’t fool us with his forgeries (turned, despite this, into his favorite “cousins”) … Animal Crossing is undeniable. New Horizons, right now, Needs the arrival of new content or an expansion for its most common players, especially for those who dedicate many hours a week to their islands. It is a work that seeks tranquility as a way of life, tries not to complicate the player too much by facilitating the obtaining of resources and berries (it is very easy to get millions thanks to the sale of turnips to forget about needing money forever), but the celebration Special events and specific situations throughout the year become heavy when you have already experienced them a year before.

Despite this, and although there have been stages of abandonment, we always return to our island of Animal Crossing New Horizons. We continue taking care of the plants, going to the stores and trying to get all the objects and recipes in the game, although we do not use practically any. We continue talking to our neighbors and smiling with their occurrences, although we have already seen them several times, and we are shaken with joy when we discover that they have incorporated new dialogues. Playing with the tranquility that the game itself demands, we still have large areas on the island to improve, terraform and define as our own. There is always some little thing to do, and that is why it is worth entering this little paradise of happiness for a few minutes.

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No, I would never have imagined that more than a year later I would continue to come to my island of Animal Crossing: New Horizons assiduously. May it continue to be a beautiful routine as a couple that we enjoy, with small or big things, deciding if that new neighbor deserves a permanent place in our virtual paradise or if we will kindly invite her to move to other inhospitable territories as soon as she asks us to do so. We are excited by the clues and rumors that suggest the arrival of new spaces such as the Fígaro cafeteria or, simply, discovering that Estela is visiting that night and is going to give us one of her special recipes under the cloak of a beautiful rain of stars.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons, thanks to so many independent factors that have come together so well, has been part of my life as a player for over a year. It’s a magnificent game, which I recommend to everyone who can adapt to these particular ideas about time and that they collide so abruptly with what most video games currently propose.

There is nothing else to do, come back tomorrow. And yes, I will return.

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