Animal Crossing New Horizons – Version 2.0

I’m back gaming, like I was in dim and distant lockdown days; like my life depends on it; like my cartoon island is Reality and this Covid jabbing, government meandering, NHS overwhelming, virus mutating nightmare belongs in an alternate universe somewhere far, far away.

Nook Stop has blessed me with items I now actually want, after I’d previously shunned the rubbish on offer.  I mean who actually wants a giant red Godzilla?  I tried. Believe me. I rattled my brain for design ideas which could incorporate Godzilla into my twee, country cottagey island theme and realised that only in Dr Who could such a mad juxtaposition ever work. But then, does Dr Who ever really work?

My shopping joy now knows no bounds.  After carefully saving throughout 20 months of game play, I had amassed 10 million bells in my Nook bank account and 350,000 Nook miles.  Oft were the times when you would have found me sitting on a garden bench, or a stone stool; or standing on my seashore staring cinematically off into the middle distance, a permanent lunatic smile on my animated and yet strangely unanimated face; my cartoon mask hiding the wistful contemplation going on in my oversized noggin, as I wondered if my HUGE Nook fortunes would ever come into play.

Well, clearly Nintendo took note and has now showered upon me so many sparkling new goods, in a riot of consumerism, that I’m spending like there’s no tomorrow.  Like saving for a rainy day is the worst possible advice. I mean I now have a yacht!  Cost me 240,000 bells that did. Did I need a yacht?  No, I did not. Especially one that can’t go anywhere and just sits there looking nautical and nifty.  But it’s a YACHT.

I’ve forked out 700,000 hard earned bells on setting up a co-operative on hippy Harv’s Island. Yes, Harv’s Island which I’d previously shunned at all costs, apart from the occasional foray to visit that insufferably lovey-dovey twosome, Reese and Cyrus, whereupon I’d been forced to organise their icky wedding ceremonies and move their icky furniture around.

My co-operative features Leif, Kicks, Redd, Reece and Cyrus, Saharah and two frightening newbies – Katrina and Cornimer.  They all operate from caravans so cute I’d trade one in for my Go Pod in an instant.  I now have daily access to Leif’s plants; Kicks’ bags and shoes (which I have zero interest in); Redd’s Art (which I’m massively interested in); Saharah’s wallpapers, flooring and rugs, usually exhibiting appalling taste and proving to be a complete waste of the bells I earned running around doing routine, ‘what am I doing with my life?’ kinds of tasks.  There has however been a brilliant interior design update – accent walls!  Nintendo clearly noted my daring and brilliant use of accent colours and, unlike the HHA, who regularly dropped me notes reminding me that furniture of the same colour should always be placed together (like birds of a feather) recognised that accents are just marvellous darling.

My garishly red spotted wall nicely offsetting the pink. I was sporting my retro green ensemble here.

And lastly there’s Reese and Cyrus who provide me with new customisations.  But on with the newbies. Katrina is a fortune telling panther (I mistook her for your bog-standard cat.)  When I first consulted her (and I was strangely loathe to) she screamed that something terrible would befall me on my island, that very day, and the only way to avert disaster was to hand over 10,000 bells. I also screamed, after taking a second to double check I’d read 10,000 bells correctly.  EXTORTION! BLACKMAIL! I cried. Surely, this sort of thing shouldn’t be going on in a family game.  What kind of an example is that to set?  Such is my nature, however, that I decided to pay Katrina so she would ‘purify’ me and went on my terrified way.

Back home nothing untoward happened, if you discount Moose yet again palming me off with a wrestling suit and Tipper pestering me to change my catchphrase. (I still don’t get the difference between a greeting, a nickname and a catchphrase, so I lump them all together.)  I went with petit chou. I’m currently handing out catchphrases en Francais.  Not that the coding giants will ever know. I could probably type xxxxxxxxx!! (or YEEeeeeee! a la Katrina) and Tipper would pronounce that it trips lightly off her posh tongue.  Anyway, the next day a gift arrived from Katrina in the mail.  Turns out I’d handed over 10k for a tiny crystal ball which lights up when I press A.   Being the ACNH nut that I am, I immediately placed it on my bedroom fireplace and wasted a minute of my life pressing A to bask in its enchanting glow.  The next time Katrina predicted my Doom, I shouted HURRAY! BRING IT ON!  NOTHING WRONG WITH TEACHING KIDDIWINKS DODGY BUSINESS PRACTICES! and willingly forked out 10k, getting a horseshoe in the mail the next day, which I hung on my door.  Lucky me.

Katrina also divines my friendship rating with my villagers. It came as no surprise to learn that I have the strongest possible of all bonds with each and every nutty villager. Not for nothing have I continually called in at my villagers’ houses; or continually shoved my face into theirs for a vacuous chinwag; or showered them with multiple second-hand wrestling outfits; or repeatedly refused their offers to leave my island by demanding that they stay because I can’t possibly live without them.   Yes, long-nosed Olaf, this even means you.

The second newbie, Cornimer, is an old crone of a tortoise with a multicoloured shell and a manky looking Halloween pumpkin for a head.  He’s eyeless and toothless and holds himself up with a stick.  The first time he shoved his ‘face’ up close to mine I nearly keeled over in horror; in my head of course as my alter ego lacks the ability to keel over in horror. I do have a massive selection of ‘reactions’ but it’s such a faff to pull them up I can’t be bothered.  After I’d got over the shock, Cornimer went on to gently offer me (of all things) an acorn.  And now I think he’s the cutest manky old personage I’ve ever known.  Never question the ways of Nintendo is my motto.

On Harv’s island I can get my hair cut by Harriet, a putridly pink poodle. I plonk myself down on a tree trunk stool and go through an accurate re-enactment of what goes on at my own hairdressers.  Harriet attacks my locks in clouds of fury, as I rock from side to side, a look of terror on my cartoon face.  Couldn’t be more realistic. The upshot being I get new hairstyles to add to my ‘change up your looks’ thingy when I stand in front of a mirror.  Harriet’s last hair ‘do’ was of the pudding bowl variety.  ‘WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!’ I screamed at her but didn’t have the courage to tell her she was a crap hairdresser when she enquired if I was happy with the result.  Again, couldn’t be truer to life.

My island now has a fairground.  Nook Stop provided me with an enchanting merry go round, a train, a cart of balloons, to go with the red and black teacup ride I got aeons ago.  Only now they’re all resplendent in pastel colours (thanks to Cyrus) and go perfectly within a mermaid wall.  And I finally got to customise my lighthouse, one of my first cherished items from long, long ago.  Not completely cherished however, owing to its horrid black and white colour scheme. But now it’s blue and white and delightfully seasidey. Who knew the lovesick Cyrus would ever be of any actual use? But now he’s my best friend. I also just discovered he’s an alpaca, after looking him up.  I’ve spent 20 months of gameplay thinking Reese and Cyrus were psychedelic sheep.

My Haven is also littered with delightful mums flowers, making it a pastel wonderland.  My island can adapt easily to whatever items Nintendo throws at it.  I have created a microcosm wherein any plot of landscaped land can be easily substituted for another use, another colour scheme.  I have created the best of all possible worlds. The following unfortunately angled photo is to show off my lovely mums (and not the statue of David’s most obvious focal point.)  I’d not realised how massive Michelangelo’s statue of David is, so plonked him next to a cliff and planted lovely mums in front of him to sort of make him recede into the distance. It didn’t work. 

Speaking of Cyrus again. He’s now customising furniture I’ve had for ages, giving a new twist to my existing colour schemes.  It cost me roughly 5000 bells an item but who cares. In ACNH I must always have more, more, more. I must update, update, update.  Funny that. How I’m never satisfied with what I’ve got.  Oh, how the game mirrors Life.  Here’s my new bathroom featuring one of Saharah’s walls that was actually worth the bells. Who doesn’t want to go to the bog completely surrounded by giant uncovered windows?

There’s a boat moored on my island now. What a jolly addition to the game ol’ Kapp’n is. He’s a mythical turtle known as a Kappa who drives you off to surprise islands in his cute little speed boat.  I thought he was a frog until I looked him up. I can never tell what the animals are in ACNH. I spent ages thinking Moose was a stunted big eared moose until I realised he’s a mouse. Why would you call a mouse a moose?  For months I thought Olive was a cat and was gobsmacked to discover she’s a bear. I still have no idea what Hazel is.  Beatrix Potter Nintendo ain’t.

Kapp’n takes me to islands not available via your bog-standard Nook miles air ticket.  With Kapp’n I do use reactions just by pressing A or X. I clapped along to his looney tunes, I laughed at his loopy lyrics before finding out that by repeatedly pressing B I can shut the silly Kappa up, which makes him pretty angry by ACNH standards.  Which is good for a laugh reaction in itself.

Here I am enjoying the sea air in my visual-punk dress which I daringly teamed with a pirate bandanna.

On his islands I found wheat and sugar cane and tomatoes and glowing moss and food recipes and, one magical day, day turned into a magical night as we arrived at a star island, its beach littered with stars, its land filled with rocks that spilled stars when I gave them a bashing.  Thanks Nintendo.

Another 2.0 update is the change in DIY recipes. I’m now cooking up a storm. I’ve planted my wheat, sugar cane, tomatoes (found on islands) carrots (which Leif supplied me with) and potatoes (again supplied by Leif.)  I’ve harvested them and turned them into dishes via my new stoneware kitchen (Oh my delightful looking stoneware kitchen hob).  I’ve caught my bog-standard fish only to find that I can now turn them into fishy dishes.  I’ve built myself a food market.

And then there’s the addition of Brewster’s café in the museum. I had to find Brewster (a big fat pigeon) on one of Kapp’n’s islands.  He was on the first one I visited. There he was sort of loitering behind a tree in a highly suspicious manner.  He’s now in his café. I visit Brewster every day for a cup of coffee. I first drank my coffee boiling hot, something like 176 degrees, which Brewster tells me is when it’s at its very best. Admittedly I hesitated to drink my first cup at this terrifying temperature, even though my coffee isn’t real, but downed it in one go upon which my alter ego pronounced it perfect. Good thing her mouth is animated.  I now repeatedly tell Brewster that my coffee must cool.  How strange when the coffee is not real.

My villagers now come to visit me and not vice versa, as it’s been for aeons of gameplay. I’ll be pottering about at home, turning lights on and off; sitting on the bog so I can hear it flush; opening and closing my curtains, moving furniture around, when suddenly a villager’s unintelligible voice will trill at me through the door to let them in.  Once in, we play a card game called higher or lower. If I win, I get a piece of tat that I immediately flog or give away. But the visitations have given me an opportunity to snap photos of my villagers in my own home!  My camera app now allows me to get up close and personal with anybody and anything. What an unexpected joy this is, as close ups of various objects in my home reveal details I’d never noticed before. For instance, I have no idea who’s in the photo on my mantlepiece. Neither did I know my candles are decorated with lovely leaves. Or what a perfect replica of my own laptop, my ACNH one is.

And then there’s the gyroids. Weird clay, half broken objects I dig up on Kapp’n’s islands and then bury back home and then water them. The next day a fully repaired gyroid can be dug from the ground. They’re little colourful ceramic (?) sculpted pots that move about and make funny noises. And if you play one of KK’s interminable jingles at them they all synchronise and move in rhythm to the song.  That’s a bonus at least, for I’ve now found a use for my gigantic library of awful KK songs.

There’s more to version 2.0 I’m sure but I’ve run out of steam. It’s now snowing on my island, so time to get on with the Christmas decorating on my Covid-free virtual home.  There, at least, I run around mask free, chatting up close with my neighbours and don’t ever have to worry about getting never ending shots in the arm.

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