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Animal Crossing: New Horizons events require an internet connection now

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A curious but meaningful change

A group of eight residents gathered around a picnic table in Animal Crossing: New Horizons Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo

Time traveling,” the act of changing your console’s clock to fast forward through days in Animal Crossing, has long been a practice within the community. After all, folks can’t always log in during holiday events, or at the specific hours that certain characters appear or shops are open. Technically, you can still time travel in Animal Crossing: New Horizons — but it seems that some bigger events will check for potential tampering.

Those of you playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons may have been prompted to download an update. You should also get some goodies, such as an in-game model of a Nintendo Switch as a furniture item. The Nintendo Switch will even look different if you happen to be using the special Animal Crossing Joy-Con. But the patch notes also mention “a seasonal event.”

While information is scarce for us westerners, the Japanese Animal Crossing website reveals that the added event is Easter, which will be held from April 1-12.

The website also includes this nugget, via Google Translate — emphasis from the website:

Please note that even if the update data has been downloaded, the event will not start just by changing the main body date to the date of the Easter period. After April 1, 2020 in real time, it is necessary to start the software with the main unit connected to the Internet and set the version to “1.1.0a”. * In order to experience Easter, it is necessary to link the user with the Nintendo account and play the console in a place with Internet communication environment after the date.

So, you can’t just time travel to Easter while offline. It seems that the game will actually check when it is at first, and after that, it will let you experience the event regardless of internet connection. Reached for comment, Nintendo did not respond in time for press.

For most of us, this won’t be a problem — we need an internet connection to do things like visit other islands. But, it’s good to know what to expect, especially on the off chance the game might reprimand you in some way.