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Oh no, Animal Crossing’s sea grapes are the new sea bass

I’ve dived for hours and all I’ve got are these sea grapes

Animal Crossing avatar wearing a wetsuit and holding sea grapes Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Animal Crossing: New Horizonssea bass is infamous: “I caught a sea bass! No, wait — it’s at least a C+!” For generations of Animal Crossing games, the sea bass has been a running joke, one that even New Horizons writer Rob Heiret is sick of.

Sea bass are still as present as ever, but they’ve got competition for its unrelenting presence: sea grapes. The first wave of summer updates for New Horizons added swimming and diving to the Nintendo Switch game. Players, donning wetsuits, can hop into the ocean and explore the sea floor, picking up stuff like mussels, scallops, seawood — and sea grapes. So many sea grapes.

Like sea bass before it, sea grapes have a groan-worthy pun attached to ’em: “I got some sea grapes! Can’t let these go sour.” The jokes, of course, are part of the appeal of the game, but wow I think a lot about sea grapes now. After each diving session — I am trying to get a large crab — my pockets are stuffed with sea grapes.

It’s not quite on the same level as sea bass yet — but it’s certainly getting there. Give it time, folks.

Because of the closeness of the names, too, sea bass and sea grapes are starting to merge in my mind: “Sea grapes? It’s at least a C+!” The good news is, I have learned something from the presence of sea grapes in New Horizons — that sea grapes exist at all! Sea grapes are officially called Caulerpa lentillifera; they look like grapes, but they’re actually a kind of seaweed ... and, apparently, a very delicious variety, sometimes called sea caviar.

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