Animal Crossing: New Horizons released into this banana pants time as a balm for our souls. It was a space we could still go outside and be social, there were fish to catch, flowers to plant, neighbors to hassle. It's provided a sense of normalcy for so many — so I've been more consistent about changing my clothes in a video game than in real life, everything's fine. We're all fine.
All that said: There are times when this game — with a painfully, and frustratingly bell-based economy — gets, um, too real.
A banking monopoly
One man, er, I mean, one raccoon owns basically everything. Tom Nook is your banker, your landlord, your source of information (until his employee Isabelle comes along). So when his bank, Nook Bank, sends you a letter to say they're lowering interest rates, there's not really much you can do. Getting owned by the Big Banks once again. Alas.
Everyone has had the experience of walking into a store and being immediately bombarded by salespeople trying to "help" you with whatever you need. Maybe you do in fact need help, but if you're like me and prefer to meander your way around a store until you find exactly what you're looking for, the stores of Animal Crossing are not for you. Immediately upon entering, Mabel or Timmy and Tommy will greet you and proceed to follow you around until you talk to them. Some may call it customer service, but I just say it's annoying.
People pulling you into their interpersonal drama
Pango, you have been on my island for three days. Why did you date Billy, why did your relationship get so sour that he is moving, and why are you dragging ME into this mess? I barely know you! Leave me alone!
Too many clothes
Do you ever look at your closet and realize maybe you completely forgot about that checkered shirt you never wear and bought ANOTHER shirt just like it thus wasting your bells... ehhh dollars... not once but twice? My Animal Crossing clothes-buying problem simply reminds me I need to clean out my IRL closets as Eminem suggested.
That friend who is too passive-aggressive to tell it to your face
Chevre has something to say to me, but God forbid she come to my house and have a conversation — no, I have to wake up and get this letter to get the hint.
Your building manager tells you to clean up the junk in the yard
Sure, my real-life building manager is probably totally fine with the pumpkin that's been in my yard since last September but Isabelle, my Animal Crossing Home Association Overlord, complains that I leave too many turnips laying around my yard like the trash human I am.
Your neighbors encourage your worst instincts
Excuse me, Pango — you want me to do what?
There are no quick fixes
Growing up, we always had turtles as pets. They would just show up in the back yard and voila! You didn't really have to look for them, they just were. But ever since I grew up and became an adult, I realized turtles aren't always that easy to come by. In fact, for years I've been trying to just find a turtle in the wild. And it turns out the same is true on my Animal Crossing island.
My search for a turtle on AC was proving to be nearly as difficult as my actual turtle search. Two friends tried to "gift" me their turtles they easily found. But no it was not possible. Clearly, I needed to find this turtle on my own. I waited. I fished. I stayed up later than my bedtime. And finally, after days (weeks? months? years?) of searching, I caught a turtle… in Animal Crossing.
Now if only my real-life turtle would show up.