Letter 16

June 20, 2019

This week, we thought we’d do something a little different with the newsletter. We’re both huge fans of Animal Crossing, so after Nintendo announced Animal Crossing: New Horizons, we knew we had to do something special. So we present to you: a super long conversation between the two of us about all things Animal Crossing—our favorite versions of the game, what we’re hoping to see in New Horizons, and more.

Jillian: let’s get started! before we get into checks notes Animal Crossing New Horizons, let’s take it back a little bit and talk about our first animal crossing experiences. what was the first animal crossing game you ever played?

Summer: I’m pretty sure I played my friend’s Gamecube version; but personally owned Wild World for DS! what about you?

Jillian: I had the gamecube version when I was a kid. I also played both DS versions (wild world and new leaf) but never really got into the wii game. do you have a favorite animal crossing?

Summer: i also had the Wii version but never really got into it—there’s something about handheld games that always worked better for me! I think new leaf is my favorite, to be honest. I really loved wild world and played it to death, but there was so much ease in new leaf in achieving goals that I don’t think was there with ACWW. I also really loved the new mayor mechanic in ACNL and new villagers, like the deer!

Jillian: one of the things I really love about animal crossing is how much better each game gets, and how well they adapt to each new platform—new leaf is definitely the best one right now! BUT, that said, I really miss the early days of playing animal crossing on the gamecube as a kid and learning what it was like to fall in love with a game. I used to spend hours just walking around talking to villagers after school.

Summer: that’s something I miss from ACWW, definitely—the chat options with villagers was more variant for sure. I’m really hoping ACNH brings some of that back.

Jillian: yesssss same! there’s so much more you can do in animal crossing now, which is great, but we definitely lost a lot of personality in the villagers as a result.

Summer: do you have a favorite villager?

Jillian: this is such a hard question lol. I had to look up villagers to remember my favorites.

Summer: honestly. fair.

Jillian: if I had to pick just one, I think it would be Kiki. I have a real soft spot for her because she was one of my favorite villagers in the og game and she’s stuck around for so long. but my favorite newer villager is Marshal, I think? he’s grumpy but soft. oh, sorry, his actual personality is “smug.”

Summer: I had to look up Kiki but I know Marshal right away! Big cutie. I think Poppy is my favorite, for a very similar reason. Sometimes I’m afraid to load up ACNL because what if she’s gone?

Jillian: I love just reading about villagers on the wiki.

Summer: The smug villagers are actually my favorite overall which is unfortunate about the rest of my personality.

Jillian: someone just give me a list of all the virgo villagers.

Summer: I think Animal Crossing wiki might have you covered.

Jillian: you’re right.

Summer: Wait, who is your villager birthday twin?

Jillian: ok I just looked it up and my birthday twin is GROUCHO, but they list him as a libra, not a scorpio.

Summer: omg. animal crossing….

Jillian: he is a cranky bear on the cusp. who’s yours?

Summer: mine is Purrl! glad it’s a cat. she’s snooty, which, mood.

Jillian: omg I love that for you. ok moving on. what does an average day in animal crossing look like for you? gimme the routine.

Summer: ok so imagine a day where you have no responsibilities in the real world. you turn on ACNL & your 3DS is fully charged. the day is yours. first things first: go check the shops! nook’s, abel sisters, recycle, all of it. identify that magic rock & collect your bells + find your gem. unearth all buried objects and get your fossils identified. gather fruit. sell what needs to be sold. catch bugs and fish on the mainland, do errands for your villagers, be basic until night fall, then go catch beetles on the island until you are very very rich.

Jillian: and that’s that!!!!!

Summer: tell me your routine!!!

Jillian: I haven’t played ACNL in a very long time, and I play it pretty much exactly the way you do, so INSTEAD, I will talk about my current animal crossing game of choice: Pocket Camp. the cool thing about pocket camp is that you can accomplish a lot in roughly 5 minutes, and then you can just swipe back over to twitter or email or whatever awful thing you were doing before you opened the app. so in that 5 minutes, here’s what I do: first, I check on all of the many notifications that pop up when you first open the game—annoying, but helpful. then, I check to see if I have any completed furniture, and if I do, I start crafting some more. then, I hit up Pete’s Parcel Service to take care of some animal requests. I check the Market Place for fortune cookies and cool shirts and stuff. I visit all the places on the map for bugs, fish, or fruit as needed. and then I head to my campsite to water some flowers and give all my friends snacks. fin.

Summer: Even though I don’t play pocket camp anymore, I think the model was really effective, despite it being a freemium kind of thing. animal crossing really is one of those games where you do a bundle of tasks then go on with the rest of your day.

Jillian: it’s soooo nice. that’s pretty much my ideal animal crossing scenario.

Summer: out of all mobile games, perhaps the one that pressured me the least to actually pay for anything.

Jillian: with ACNL it takes a little more commitment to get into the game, like you have to sit down and really play it—and that doesn’t always work for me. it’s really easy to get into a cycle of not having time to play and then feeling too guilty to play because you haven’t played in a long time! but pocket camp really kind of solves that also yeah, I’ve never paid real money for anything in pocket camp and I can’t imagine I ever will. it’s just as good of a game without the in-app purchases!

Summer: oh MOOD, like I haven’t played ACNL in well over a year and now I’m paralyzed by fear. It’s a really weird balance to regard this game as something so peaceful but also able to strike so much stress into me. the ordinances kind of helped, wit the promise that my town isn’t absolutely destroyed when I come back from a ghosting, but again—what if Poppy is gone? I cannot recover.

Jillian: secret: I tried to play ACNL last week and I was planning on erasing my town and starting over because it’s been so long since I played it, but Isabelle guilted me out of it! so I played in my old town for a few minutes and then quit without saving because I wasn’t into it.

Summer: oooo, get ready for that Resetti scream.

Jillian: I feel like it’s better if I just move on and never play it again. I have pocket camp to fill the void for now, and new horizons next year.

Summer: and I think that’s valid. it’s just march! isn’t that amazing? I’m sad it’s not this year, but that’s really still so soon.

Jillian: I know, I’m really happy. and I’m glad they’re taking the time to really make it good. I trust them.

Summer: I REALLY trust Nintendo. Maybe too much? But I really, really do. I feel cared for.

Jillian: speaking of new horizons, what are you hoping for in the new game?

Summer: WHEW. Like we said earlier, I want more variant villager (islander, now?) dialogue. I want new fruit. I’m deeply excited for the fact that furniture moves half a unit now, which is a silly thing to be happy about, but it’s good. I’m excited for maybe a new house-point-design scheme that’s not just about matching sets. What about you?

Jillian: NEW FRUIT. yes that is a big one. I’m deeply excited about a lot of the stuff we already know is coming—crafting, putting furniture outside, etc. I’m really excited to see what they do with older stuff like the museum, plus newer ideas from pocket camp that could get carried over, like daily goals. something I love about pocket camp is that it gets constant updates, so you know there will always be more coming even if you feel like you’ve done everything you can possibly do in the game. I hope that’s something we see with acnh too!

Summer: yes! the world of games + network connectivity is really interesting. we saw some of that with ACNL and it was sort of…revolutionary? they added those little goal things. it was really, REALLY cool. I’m thinking right now how much I love the Breath of the Wild DLC, and if something like that came with ACNH a year or two out…so good.

Jillian: yes!!! also remember how people would share clothing patterns with QR codes online? I hope that sort of thing still exists in acnh

Summer: YES. I loved that shit. I could have any design I wanted. I could be cute as heck. I had an Oshawott bedspread. It’s pretty important to me that I’m able to get Link’s uniform, too, so maybe something like the fortune cookies comes back, too.

Jillian: I feel like the switch is really the perfect platform for animal crossing right now.

Summer: YES! My biggest problem with city folk was the fact that it was on the wii. I wanted to take my town with me. My dumbest reason for not playing ACNL right now is that I’m spoiled by the size of the switch and my 3DS is a tiny baby size now.

Jillian: it’s mobile AND can be used on your TV. it connects to the internet so your games can be regularly updated. and makes couch co-op and multiplayer so much easier.

Summer: I can’t wait to visit each other! And the co-op seems more purposeful, too.

Jillian: omg yes! we’re going to play so much animal crossing together.

Summer: Do you wanna close out with maybe giving one of your favorite memories playing an animal crossing game?

Jillian: oooh ok yes. the best moments of animal crossing are when you discover something by accident, or do something cool for the first time—like the first time you make a hybrid flower, or the first time you catch a rare fish or something. but I love the small details of the game that have nothing to do with you, too. like the music when you’re playing late at night or early in the morning, or the cute letters the villagers send you. or when you see two villagers talking to each other and eavesdrop on their conversation.

Summer: Oh I LOVE eavesdropping.

Jillian: tell me about your favorite animal crossing memories!

Summer: Okay, so related to catching a rare fish. Two things: I have a lot of sleep problems, and the only thing I never caught in ACWW was a Coelecanth before I lost my original save file. There was one night I was just having a monster-pile of anxiety dreams that I was too afraid to go back to sleep. It was like, 2AM and this was in high school when I would go to sleep at 11PM every night. I decided to play ACNL because I was honestly too afraid to go back to sleep and thought it would calm me down. I considered time jumping a few hours so shops would be open or something, but decided against it and stayed with my 2AM real-time. It was raining. I went fishing. I thought I was catching a sea bass, but it was a coelecanth! My first one! 2AM on a bad night! And then I caught another, and another! I do feel like ACNL made it a little easier, but after so many sea bass in ACWW thwarting me, literally the only thing keeping my lowkey completion-ist mission from being complete…and I did it! It was magical. A really sweet accomplishment when I really needed it.

Jillian: that’s amazing!!! what a perfect story.

Summer: :’) a beautiful game

Jillian: thank you animal crossing. summer, I cannot wait to play new horizons with you

Summer: I KNOW. thank you animal crossing. thank you nintendo. maybe by the time the game comes out it will be easier to stream via switch, too.

Jillian: 👀 maybe…….

Summer: maybe………………………….

Jillian: lol ok let’s call it a night. love u. ❤️❤️❤️

Summer: yes! have a good night my friend i love you! i’m gonna go watch the bachelorette now.

Jillian: byyye!