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Animal Crossing’s photo island is freakin’ creepy, man

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We need to talk about this

Harv’s island in Animal Crossing. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ photo mode is a blessing that brightens up my social media feed every day. Animal Crossing’s photo island, on the other hand, creeps me the hell out.

Harvey is a hippie dog who introduces campgrounds in an Animal Crossing: update, and as his appearance suggests, he’s a pretty chill character in that game. Harvey makes a return in New Horizons about a week into the game, and his vibe is completely different.

Harvey invites players to visit his island, which is actually a full-blown photography studio where players can set up scenes. Better yet, you can import Amiibo to see old friends — and who doesn’t want to have a fun time with pals? It’s an idea that sounds good on paper, until you see the actual execution.

The first thing you’ll note upon entering Harvey’s abode is that there’s nothing there except a couch, a camera, a spotlight, and a director’s chair. Unfortunately, it is a leather couch, which makes comparisons to the infamous pornography casting couch inevitable. This is not the sort of association I want in a slice-of-life Nintendo game, and upon seeing it, Harvey’s entire character changed for me. The pup went from being a laid-back character, to a sleaze ball with suspect motivations.

Why does he have this studio? Why does it reside in a remote place that you can only get to via helicopter? Something about it all doesn’t sit right with me.

I got out of there immediately, but the other studio set-ups aren’t much better. Somehow, being completely empty makes rooms feel worse — especially in the studio themed to look like a kid’s bedroom.

Harvey’s island in Animal Crossing. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon.

I have a slew of Amiibo cards, so the first thing I did was bring in Roald, my perfect round boy. I was happy to see him, until I noticed that you can’t interact with him at all. Characters in this mode will just stand there, with a blank look in their face, completely mute and waiting to be posed. Unless you tell them to do something, the characters are dead.

Harvey’s island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon.

It’s fucking weird. I felt bad for bringing Roald into this hell, and wondered if some malevolent, Yeerk-like force was preventing him from doing what he wanted. Was Roald trapped somewhere in this lifeless body? What have I done?

I’m sure that some people will be able to use Harv’s island to great effect, to tell stories and stage elaborate scenes that aren’t possible in the base game. Using Harv’s island will also net you special character posters that you can’t get anywhere else. I don’t care, though. I’d rather be stuck on tarantula island than ever step foot on Harvey’s studio ever again.