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I love and hate Animal Crossing’s new weeds

Messy or aesthetic?

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Animal Crossing human wearing sunglasses standing in front of weeds Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

The first thing I would normally do in an Animal Crossing game is start plucking weeds from the ground. I intended to do the same in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but when I flew into my island for the first time, something felt different. Oh no! The weeds are actually kind of pretty.

Nintendo redesigned the weeds in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. There’s always been a variety of different shapes and sizes, but these new weeds look a bit more realistic. Some of the weeds are very clearly clover, cropped close to the grass. Some are flowering, and others have sprouted tall.

And yet, they’re still a nuisance. These are the things I hate about weeds:

The problem is, these are the things I love about weeds:

  • routinely and methodically plucking them from the ground to save for projects
  • there are good memes
  • potentially lowering my island’s score
  • they look messy

The last two go together. Sure, I want me and my guests to enjoy my island, but it shouldn’t be too welcoming to others: Have you seen how long it takes to get your friends onto the island? The loading screen takes forever — then multiply that by seven people visiting at once.

Also, in general, messy is part of my aesthetic.

While I decide how I feel about the weeds on my island, I’ve come up with a plan. The weeds will live, in all their beautiful glory, on the top two tiers of my island, where they’re free to grow wildly for now. I also enjoy having a stash of weeds nearby at all times, in case I find a new recipe that incorporates them. (Weeds can be repurposed into decorations, like a mossy rock, a succulent plant, or a hanging flower pot.)

Animal Crossing human wearing a mask and jumpsuit standing in a lovely room full of plants (with a plant patterned rug, too)
Coconut hanging planters on the wall, with a succulent plant on the floor.
Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Heck, you can even make medicine out of weeds. They’re useful! They’re pretty! And yet, I’m encouraged to pick them straight from the ground. Reader, I’m confused. Will you let them flourish on your island, or rip those roots straight from the ground?

I will keep my current tiered weed setup until I’m able to build on the higher ground. At the rate I’m playing, I’ve got a few days to make up my mind. Weeds: Are they good or bad?

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