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Animal Crossing has an A button problem

This weekend’s Fishing Tourney was rough

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Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon
Russ Frushtick is the director of special projects, and he has been covering the world of video games and technology for over 15 years. He co-founded Polygon in 2012.

This past Saturday, Animal Crossing: New Horizons hosted its very first Fishing Tourney. Fishing Tourneys have long been Animal Crossing staples, and their inclusion in New Horizons was exciting, bringing with them a fish-themed furniture set and trophies to earn. But man, this latest tourney was rough.

The actual competition was simple: Catch as many fish as you can in a three-minute span to earn points, then turn those points in for prizes. But the process of starting and finishing each round was comically terrible.

In the gallery below, I screencapped every time I needed to hit the A button to progress the game’s dialog. If you’re too busy to count, it’s 29 times. For every round. I’m not even counting the number of times you have to hit A while catching fish. No, this is just for the dialog.

It would be one thing if the Fishing Tourney was a short event, requiring five or six rounds to complete. But no. Completionists lookin to earn the Gold Fishing Trophy had to run the event around 50 times to earn the 300 points required for the highest prize.

50 rounds works out to having to hit the A button 1,450 times to scrub through the same tutorial explainers and lame jokes that haven’t changed since the first round.

(It should be noted that there’s a way to earn more points in a shorter span of time by fishing with other friends, but this is never communicated in the innumerable pages of dialog between each round.)

Now granted, I could have easily stopped. Obtaining the complete set of furniture, minus the silver and gold trophies, would have only taken around 20 rounds. But 20 rounds is still 580 presses of the A button. And honestly, once I was committed, I just wanted to power through the end of it just so I never had to do the Fishing Tourney again.

No part of me wants to strip the cutesy characterizations or dialog from Animal Crossing: New Horizons. But after seeing the same wisecracks for the 700th time — whether from C.J. the otter or the dodos in the airport as you frantically try to set up a multiplayer game — it’s easy to get a little tetchy. Given how quick the team at Nintendo have been with patching out some of the game’s most glaring issues, perhaps they wouldn’t mind tossing in some brevity as well.

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