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Animal Crossing fans are torturing villagers to get them to move out

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That’s what they get for ... being ugly?

A locked-in villager in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

You get 10 residents on your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island, so chances are pretty good that you won’t jive with all of them. Most of us will suck this up and bide our time until, hopefully, our disliked character leaves. Then there are the players who are, shall we say, getting a little more creative about their hatred.

Before I continue I need to make clear that my hands are not clean in this regard. I have, in the past, tried to move heaven and earth to destroy my mortal Animal Crossing enemy, Gwen the penguin. But my methods pale in comparison to some of what I’ve seen folks do in New Horizons.

On social media, and especially on TikTok, some fed-up fans are sharing videos and screenshots of them harassing their villagers, often in an attempt to compel them to move out. Some folks believe that smacking their residents with a net, pushing them endlessly, or not talking to them at all will motivate that islander to leave, though these tactics don’t actually work. Complaining to Isabelle about a villager also won’t move characters out, it’ll simply reset them.

Some folks must realize this, but it isn’t stopping them from doing all sorts of things to their villagers. Characters get ganged up on; they’ll get trapped; angry signs plead for their departure; moats will be erected. My favorite horrible idea is to put a gong outside of someone’s house and bang it endlessly to annoy the denizen. Some will even send their New Horizons rivals angry letters, urging them to get lost.

The reasons vary — sometimes it’s as simple as thinking a character is ugly or weird. Other times, players dislike a villager’s personality, or the way that character interacts with other residents. Fair enough!

Perhaps the most outstanding example of villager torture I’ve seen comes via my pal Nea, who has spent over a week trying to rid herself of “incel Hamtaro” in increasingly elaborate ways, all to no avail.

It may not be working, but it sure is hilarious to watch unfold.

So, what can you do to get an undesirable out of your perfect utopia? The only thing I've seen work is when you have a full island, get a camper, convince them to move in, and then give them a suggestion for who they should swap with. But you may not have the right conditions to make this happen, and the folks they’ll suggest swapping with may not be the specific characters you’re looking to get rid of. You also need amiibo cards to make this happen, as you can read in our guide here. Adopting a friend’s villager that’s been forced out this way, meanwhile, may result in a big glitch.

Basically, if you dislike a villager, you might just have to ride it out. But for some, that won’t be nearly as fun as making their villagers life a living hell.