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I’m the only one having fun on my Animal Crossing island

I am the tyrant of Nook’s domain

Animal Crossing - a pink haired villager stands in her home. Image: Nintendo via Polygon

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a cute game, but don’t be fooled. There are lots of options to cause chaos, and I’m seizing each and every one of them. Is this the most productive way to play the game? No. Am I creating things I can share with my friends to enrich their lives? Also no. I’m having an absolute blast, and making everyone else on the island miserable in the process.

First of all, I’m a force of ecological destruction. Every time I take a Dodo Airlines flight to another island, I end up ripping everything up from the ground and selling it. I leave the island completely bare, stripped to the roots.

Did you know that outdoor cats are a controversial topic among ecologists, because the little beasties roam out and just start murdering birds around them? They’re not doing it for food; it’s mostly for fun.

That’s me on Animal Crossing. I didn’t even know about the tarantula-spawn strategy! I was just ripping up tree trunks and smashing rocks while laughing, and then leaving the island behind forever. I can’t imagine how the innocent animal villagers on these islands felt as I razed their island paradise.

Am I more polite to the inhabitants of my island Hårga? Absolutely not.

As soon as I set up shop, I made sure to set the right tone with my new friends.

An Animal Crossing sign reading “Hello, villagers. I am your god now. If you see Aaron, make sure to treat him with scorn and derision” Image: Nintendo via Polygon

I make sure to regularly check in with my villagers, ensuring that we keep that early rapport going. Communication is important.

Animal Crossing - a bulletin reads “Hamlet, thank you for donating one iron nugget to the store. Aaron, Shuri, you’re on thin fucking ice.” Image: Nintendo via Polygon

In these early days, nearly every fish and bug I catch is of interest to the museum’s curator, Blathers. I donate the fish en masse, because they hold no interest to me. But I lovingly hand Blathers each bug, one by one, and relish in his squawking and panic. I make him tell me about every single insect. No exceptions. When I captured a Man-Faced Stink Bug, I cackled and immediately raced off to the museum to wake Blathers up. Hey, buddy, guess what I found? He hated it. It was fantastic.

Animal Crossing - Blathers the owl accepts a Man-Face Stink Bug from the player Image: Nintendo via Polygon

My first villager, Hamlet the hamster, is a pretty cool guy. Every time I go to chat him up, he wants to tell me about how much he’s been working out. He beat my husband Aaron at basketball, he brags. His muscles glisten with sweat. He’s going for a run. I humor him and his constant fitness-based chatter. We go for walks together and sit by the lake. He even taught me how to make a really sweet honeycomb floor! At Nook’s Cranny, I saw a gift that immediately brought him to mind. So, I bought the hamster cage and took it to my big hamster friend’s feet.

He put on a smile, but I knew he was shaken. I had exposed the Goofy and Pluto paradox of Animal Crossing. He wasn’t so far apart from that hamster, running on its little wheel. I make sure to remind all of my new villager friends of this grim fact. I picked up an aquarium for Jeremiah the Frog, dropped it in his lawn, and then stared meaningfully through his windows. I know your secret, Jeremiah. You’re only half a man, and the rest an animal.

Illustration - a villager walks away from Tom Nook in a parody of a popular Chick Tract panel Illustration: Cass Marshall/Polygon

I’m playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons with the mischief of a child. I’m not trying to be malicious. I’m just like a toddler who sees an awesome looking, clearly expensive and elaborate layer cake. And I want to put my hands all up in there. No, I don’t know why. Yes, I’m vaguely aware I’m making someone angry somewhere. No, I won’t stop. Yes, I’m already wrist deep and having a great time.

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