What a wild month it’s been in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Entire industries have been birthed, crimes have been committed, empires have risen and fallen. We all got through that week with the eggs. The amount of creativity and self-expression, both within Animal Crossing and across its community, has been staggering. And all the while, all I’ve really done is clock up 160 hours in pursuit of the perfect bathroom.
If you can’t tell by the look on my face, I am so immensely proud of this thing. As I bloody well should be: the bath mat, acquired from Saharah, is just the right shade of blue, the pile of books by the basinless toilet positioned to help while away the moments when I’m flushing any excess fruit away, the hanging terrariums and mini cactus just the thing to ease any tension as I unwind at the end of a long day. Even the incidental soundtrack is spot on; coming home from a damp evening spent running some chores, it’s bliss to stand and listen to the washing machine softly churn while raindrops beat against the window and the hot water gently hisses from the taps. This is my happy place, and it’s worth every single one of the hours I put into its creation.
There have been times, though, when I’ve looked up from the Switch screen at the wider world of Animal Crossing and wondered whether I’m missing the point. I’d never insist there’s only one way to play a game, but I have been frequently baffled by the extremes people have gone to in Animal Crossing: New Horizon this past month. Min-maxing fruit farms is one thing, and the tarantula island exploit was cute, even if I never had the nerve to try it myself, but trafficking villagers? It’s astounding – actually, make that deeply depressing – what the free market can inspire.