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Animal Crossing’s hottest item? ‘Illegal fences’

We want Harv’s fence and we’ll do anything to get it

Animal Crossing human sitting on a bench on Harv’s island 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.

There are plenty of ways to decorate your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island. Nintendo has, helpfully, provided players with hundreds of items: everyday stuff like tables and chairs to more adventurous collectibles like a giant (and expensive) robot. There are fantastic and random items like sewing machines and gym equipment, but none of these are New Horizons’ most prized possessions — at least, to a certain segment of players. Sometimes the most desirable items are the ones juuust out of reach. Like Harv’s fence.

Harvey, New Horizons’ hippie dog, lives alone on an island called Photopia. Most of his island in inaccessible. Everything’s fenced off with an item dubbed “Harv’s fence” by the community — leaving only his home-slash-photo studio available.

The fence is simple; it looks to be made out of tree branches. If it were actually available in New Horizons, I might just overlook it. But it’s not — it’s illegal, an item technically in the game (on Harv’s island) but not designated for players. It feels like everyone wants the fence: Anytime I see a post on social media with ’em, it’s the first thing anyone comments on. “I love how everyone only notices the illegal fences and not the fuhking illegal houses,” one Twitter user joked.

Like star fragment trees before it, Harv’s fence is being accessed by modders who twist code to change an item’s status. Those hackers then duplicate the fence stacks and pass them out to the community via trades, giveaways, and sales. Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen plenty of giveaways for Harv’s fences, but the most common way of nabbing them is on the New Horizons black market, trading Nook Miles Tickets via Discord or paying real money on eBay. You don’t have to have a modified Nintendo Switch to get these items, but there’s always a risk with hacked items — so purchase at your own risk.

Prices vary, but Harv’s fences will typically run you a couple hundred Nook Miles Tickets. Some folks are selling other items on Harv’s island, too, like his clothesline, wash bucket, and oven. But the real star? It’s Harv’s illegal fence.

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