Decorating has become a chore in ‘Animal Crossing’

October 28, 2020 — by Christopher Chen
Screen Shot 2020-10-28 at 1

An Animal Crossing player falling into a pitfall trap.

Seasonal updates are OK, but a quality of life update is what the game really needs.

It’s October, which means my social media feed is filled with picture-perfect virtual pumpkin patches and fall decorations filtered in sepia. More importantly, however, it also meant that the fall update for “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” released Sept. 30, was out. Excited to get started decorating my island, I booted up the game after waiting for the update to install.

Released in March this year, “Animal Crossing” centers around building and decorating an island inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. It was massively successful, becoming one of the best sellers on the Nintendo Switch.

Right off the bat, there was a laundry list of things that I needed to get done in-game in order to achieve my primary goal of decorating an area. Unfortunately, I ran into pitfalls in every step of the process.

It all started with a nearly empty wallet. I couldn’t buy any furniture or any pumpkin starters without currency, so I had to sidetrack and earn some money. I decided to accomplish this through the stalk market, which is similar to the stock market but with turnips being traded instead of stocks. And so, I spent all of my remaining currency on turnips.

Selling my turnips online was far from painless. I spent most of my Wednesday night looking for an island to join, and clicking through what seemed like endless confirmations. 

“Would you like to connect to someone else’s island?”

“Are you sure?

“How would you like to connect to someone’s island?”

When I did manage to join, I had to stop every 30 seconds to watch a short cinematic of another player joining or leaving. I inched myself forward as I prayed that I would not have to wait through the same cutscene yet another time. It was an arduous journey, but I finally managed to make my sale.

With my newfound riches, I stockpiled a ton of furniture to decorate with — mostly spooky pumpkin arches or scarecrows and as well as a whole ton of paper lanterns. The aesthetics were certainly much more appealing than the disgusting egg furniture featured around Easter.

My next task was to actually begin decorating. I would think this would be the fun part after all that preparation, but I was  evidently wrong. I constantly planted pumpkins on the wrong tiles, leaving me with a mess of plants that I had to clean up. My shovel accuracy was also pretty disappointing — I managed to miss the tile I wanted to pave with dirt almost 100% of the time.

What started as excitement to play the update quickly turned to boredom. I was able to decorate to a point that I was satisfied with at the end — but the fact remains that the game desperately needs an update to not just be “Animal Crossing: New Ways to Buttonmash.”


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