a number of things i’ve messed up so far in animal crossing

I am not and have never been someone who devotes much time to the time-honored tradition of playing video games. Growing up, we weren’t really a video game family—the furthest we got was a number of Sims extension packs; a short-lived fling with a Wii/Wii Fit situation; and a Guitar Hero phase sometime in the mid-2000s.

However. These are not normal times. I’m privileged to be stuck inside indefinitely. So it occurred to me when I saw some not-video-game-playing friends suddenly picking up the habit of playing Animal Crossing that perhaps I would also like this game, which seemed inconsequential and soothing, and that maybe it was time to give video games a shot. Of course, by the time I thought about ordering a Nintendo Switch, they were sold out. I rectified this issue this week when a friend DMed me to tell me they were selling a Switch Lite and Animal Crossing after buying two for some reason, and did I want them? They were in my possession by Friday afternoon. Finally, I thought, reflecting on my belated adoption of other trends including the television show Succession, the restaurant Lucien, and those wide-legged pants from Madewell and Everlane that every woman I know had like two years ago, I will understand something in the cultural zeitgeist as it is happening.

You’ve probably ascertained this by now because of the headline of this newsletter and I don’t know how this happened but I am NOT having a good time in Animal Crossing!!! It’s only been about 24 hours and I’ve already managed to do everything wrong in the game. A brief list of everything that’s gone wrong:

  • Unbeknownst to me at the time I named it, you cannot change the name of the island you establish. I now live, figuratively and in Animal Crossing, on an island called Bozoville.

  • The first thing I did on the island was to weed the ENTIRE expanse of the island that I have access to. And then, because I need money to buy denim cutoffs and to pay back Tom Nook, for whom I am an indentured servant, I sold them all for bells. I didn’t realize when I did this that you actually NEED the weeds in some DIY projects you can put together that in turn become useful, if not imperative, to life on the island. Don’t try to be a good Bozoville citizen by weeding the whole island like me!!!! It will get you nowhere.

  • I did the same thing with the little rocks on the island. You know what you need for the DIY project where you make an axe? A little rock.

  • I felt like a frickin genius when I learned that you can shake the trees. I did this zealously, finding tree branches and the occasional coin worth 100 bells. However, do this too much and you may inadvertently loosen a wasp’s nest, which will sting you and make you look horribly disfigured, which happened to me at the same exact time I was learning about IRL murder hornets

  • What did I do immediately after I got stung? Collected the empty wasp’s nest and sold it. Fortunately you can make medicine for wasp stings in the game at Tom Nook’s workbench. But what does the recipe require of you? An empty wasp’s nest, for some reason.

  • A guy I had a crush on literally five years ago asked if he could come to my island and bring me fruit so I let him and he also really nicely brought me a ton of money and some outfits but then both of our internet connections collapsed before the game saved so I am doomed to be poor, hungry, and badly dressed for the rest of my life.

If anyone has some tips for redeeming myself and having a nice time playing Animal Crossing without accidentally self-sabotaging, please let me know!!! TYSM!