If you're like many people (at least those with a Nintendo Switch) "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" has pretty much replaced your real life.

Between the ability to terraform your island and visit friends, there is no question this is the best Animal Crossing game yet. But to make the most of your new tropical home, you need Bells (the form of currency in Animal Crossing) and lots of them. As your island grows, items worth having become more and more expensive, and various improvements—including house expansions—begin to cost thousands of bells. While you're sure to know all the obvious ways to make bells (selling fruit, fish, and bugs), there are some quick and easy ways to make a lot of bells at once that you may not know about.

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Culture Feature

Is It Possible to Defeat Tom Nook?

How do you defeat an invincible tanuki?

Nintendo

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Culture News

People Are Going on Dates in the "Animal Crossing: New Horizons" Museum While Stuck in Quarantine

Animal Crossing holds the potential to bring people closer to one another much more intimately than even similar life simulator games.

nintendo

While most players have spent their first few days in Animal Crossing: New Horizons upgrading their homes, hoarding fish, and customizing outfits, some people have taken Nintendo's flagship life sim game in an unexpectedly romantic route.

Yes, people are using Animal Crossing to go on virtual dates while stuck in quarantine.

Considering the real-world circumstances surrounding Animal Crossing's release, a peaceful game centered around relaxation, decorating, and talking to cute animals could not have arrived at a better time. But as it turns out, Animal Crossing's multiplayer social elements—long considered a tertiary feature in a mostly single-player franchise—are proving to be the real star during a time when many people are unable to socialize face-to-face.

"We can't see each other rn so we had an in-game date. Sat like this for an hour just talking," reads a post on the r/AnimalCrossing subreddit, coupled with a picture of two player characters sitting across from one another in the game's museum.

animal crossing date Nintendo/ u/meireneketo

A quick scroll through the rest of the subreddit proves that this couple is hardly alone.

One post is titled, "My friend and I went on a cute little museum date!" Another reads, "Our Aquarium date before he had to move back to his home country :')" There are friend group dates and even dates between strangers who randomly met in-game.

Most of these dates seem to take place in Animal Crossing's museum, a fan-favorite location wherein players can donate fish, bugs, and fossils for bowtie-wearing owl-curator Blathers to put on display. While the museum has appeared in every Animal Crossing game so far, Nintendo really outdid themselves with the New Horizons museum, which features over ten intricate, multi-tiered rooms and navigates just like a real museum. Silly as it sounds, walking through the Animal Crossing museum with your friend or partner feels just about as close to the real thing as you can get right now.

Moreover, the Nintendo Switch Online mobile app's new Nooklink feature makes chatting much smoother than any prior Animal Crossing game, allowing players to both voice chat and text on their real phone with the messages appearing in-game. The resulting experience is one where people can create the feeling of an experiential hangout with friends, despite the fact that their activities are virtual.

Perhaps Animal Crossing's greatest asset is its ability to allow players to fully integrate themselves into its world. The series has an incredibly distinct, uber-cute aesthetic, but the customization options are limitless. This gives players the opportunity to make their in-game character and island entirely their own, from designing clothing and murals to terraforming the landscape. The character isn't just an avatar. It's them. As such, when you visit someone else's space in Animal Crossing, you really are interacting with a personal extension of that person.

In this regard, Animal Crossing holds the potential to bring people closer to one another much more intimately than even similar life simulator games.

animal crossing wedding Nintendo/ u/ashmush

What other game would allow family members from across the country to come together and camp out beneath the stars? What other game would support the best friends of a couple forced to cancel their wedding during a global pandemic to hold a surprise, custom wedding ceremony on the beach? What other game would facilitate the visual memorialization of a lost father?

As the world suffers, Animal Crossing has emerged as a niche full of catharsis. Here, in a virtual space populated by cuddly animals and bright skies, real people can come together to lick their wounds and ease their loneliness.

CULTURE

"Animal Crossing" Is a Blueprint for Functional Socialism

Animal Crossing New Horizons is sure to push the series' socialist ideology to an even wider audience.

Nintendo

Animal Crossing isn't a game people play for a few hours or days and then set aside; it's a game that people spend months or even years on, tweaking flower beds, rearranging furniture, and doing everything in their power to get Bitty to move out of town.

But when so many people dedicate so much time to a game that essentially boils down to a "living-in-a-town" simulator, it begs the question: What do people get from Animal Crossing that they don't get in the real world?

In the world of Animal Crossing, everyone just kind of exists. The society is clearly not lacking for basic living essentials. Everyone has food and clothes and the means to create more of it whenever necessary. When you want fruit, you go get fruit from a tree. When you want fish, you catch it in the river. Everyone has a shovel for digging, a rod for fishing, and an axe for chopping trees. The world's bounty is at the characters' fingertips, and they realize that for a community to function, they must all strive together for the communal good. Animal Crossing offers more than just simple video game escapism; it's a blueprint for a functional socialist utopia.

Most townsfolk spend their days just like the main character does: hanging out, tending to their flowers, and talking to their neighbors. With their most basic needs presumably taken care of through the efforts of the larger community, they are free to pursue their interests and creative endeavors. Some, like Goose the jock chicken, provide communal services like offering fitness advice to help keep everyone in great shape. Others, like Bob the lazy cat, are fundamentally incapable of working hard, and that's okay, too. Everyone is free to spend their time as they wish.

animal crossing bob Bobgyfcat

Of course, the system allows those with extra motivation to work for monetary gain. If the Able sisters want to run a textile business, more power to them. If Kapp'n wants to charge villagers for the opportunity to go out on his boat, he's more than welcome to. Just because bartering is the primary exchange method in society doesn't mean coin can't exist to handle transactions that go above and beyond the essentials. The community doesn't need to share everything––just the basics to allow every villager food, clothes, and a roof over their heads.

Government exists within Animal Crossing, too, but it works towards the greater good of the community. For instance, there's a police station, but its primary directive is to operate the lost and found. As far as we've seen, Copper the police dog holds no punitive power. Similarly, the town has "laws," such as zoning restrictions for where you can build your house, but they're almost entirely practical, designed to prevent your home from abutting the local parade grounds or opening your door into the river. The Animal Crossing political bodies truly function by and for the animals they govern.

But what discussion of Animal Crossing politics could truly be complete without analyzing Tom Nook, the real estating/shopkeeping/money lending tanuki who serves as the player character's primary benefactor in every game? Isn't Tom Nook the very definition of capitalist greed, trapping the player in an endless cycle of debt and home improvements? Well, not really. Tom Nook has no power, whatsoever. There's no government backing him, no corporatist structure for him to thrive off.

tom nook Tom NookNintendo


Tom Nook gives you a house, upfront, for nothing. Sure, he asks you to pay him back, but he can't enforce those debts outside of refusing to build you a bigger house until you do. There's no time frame for his loan and no interest. In other words, Tom Nook literally just lends you money for nonessential home improvements, and he takes 100% of the risk on his own shoulders knowing full well that you might never pay him back. He's the wealthiest animal in the entire community, and he spends all his time and resources donating those funds in exchange for little-to-no personal gain. If anything, Tom Nook is a shining beacon of the core socialist structure of Animal Crossing's society.

In essence, Animal Crossing paints a picture of a friendly, functional society wherein different species co-exist peacefully with their every basic need provided for in full. The government is run by and for the community, ensuring that the needs of the townsfolk are properly met without ever overstepping or interfering with their private lives. From there, animals have the freedom to pursue their interests, provide communal services, or consolidate wealth. Those who do consolidate wealth tend to invest much of that profit back into the community. It's a system that works and everyone is happy—except Bitty, because she sucks and needs to move.

In the real world, we're stuck in a capitalist nightmare, riddled with government-enforced debt, corrupt politicians, and corporations as people. White supremacism is on the rise. In Animal Crossing, we never need to worry about having fresh food, clean water, or a roof over our heads. A duck and a wolf can be next-door neighbors and everything is totally fine. Both of these options are possible in real life, too (at least if we substitute the duck and wolf for people from different walks of life). Which do you prefer?