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WELCOME TO PARADISE: YEAR END IN ANIMAL CROSSING

As 2020 has come and gone, it is amazing to look back at all that has happened on the islands of Animal Crossing during the past year. There have been countless holiday events, visits from seasonal and routine island pop up characters, increased island exploration tools, and more things to do for the sake of Nook Miles than you could ever imagine.

Let’s look back at some of the highlights of the year in Animal Crossing New Horizons:

March 20, 2020 — was the day that Animal Crossing New Horizons came to life in households across many nations. A simplistic game where you are jetted off to a paradise island where you must establish your home and learn the DIY recipes and skills needed to improve your life on the island. This involved crafting your own tools, planting trees for growing fruit, pulling weeds, finding fossils, catching bugs, and going for long strolls on the beach (along with some steady-handed fishing). To start – this game had everything needed to be a relaxing and entertaining game for gamers of all types.

To keep the game interesting, throughout the year, various special events would occur based on monthly “free upgrade patches” that would have a unique character visit the island allowing for fun new recipes for crafting, unique items to grow/plant, and fashionable costumes/body modifications to be obtained. These include seasonal favorites such as Bunny Day, Nature Day, Wedding Season, Turkey Day, and Toy Day. It was always a challenge to find all the recipes and the right amount of materials needed to craft them.

But I am sure most can agree – the weeks of searching for eggs for Bunny Day was ANNOYING!!!!

Also, how exciting was it receiving a surprise party, gifts and a cake on your birthday!

Along with the special events, the game had an ever-growing rotation of NPCs that would show up on the island that would serve different storyline purposes. The main storyline includes Tom Nook, Isabelle, and Timmy/Tommy for your everyday tasks and needs – and ultimately leads to K.K Slider visiting the island for a concert (which afterward he will show up to perform every Saturday). Beyond that, you will have some characters such as Blathers and Mabel/Label/Sable who will establish themselves on the island and set up shop for you to constantly interact and grow your collection with. Others such as Sahara, C.J, Wisp, Celeste, and Redd will randomly show up to provide their services for a limited time. I got so many neat mystery carpets and wallpapers from Sahara – was worth every bell!

One part of the game I found exciting is that the natural environment changed alongside real-time weather. It always seemed to be raining whenever it was stormy season outside, when the fall leaves began to change so did the in-game ones – and the biggest highlight was when snow fell on the island and little tiny lights could be found decorating the pine trees. I mean there was no ice to be found, but having actual snow on the island to make SnowBoys and catch snowflakes while delivering presents for Jingle was just the most perfect experience.

Just when players were getting bored of the same daily chores of chopping wood, picking fruit, fishing, and completing tasks for Nook Miles – the summer season brought the ability to dive into the waters surrounding the island and go swimming – and on a hunt for various sea creatures to add to the museum and add to the Bell balances. Each day you would run into Pascal, a Philosopher type Otter who will want to trade you a Scallop for special items (Mermaid series DIY, pearls, or clothing). All of this gave players something more to do in the game.

Later on, the ability to reshape your island came available where you could add physical pathways (instead of dropping pictures on the ground to simulate) or build and reduce land/cliffs/water paths. It allowed players to take a preset island that they could up to that point only decorate with fences, flowers, trees, etc… and actually take control and make their island unique.

The travel capabilities of the game were a fundamental feature this year, being able to travel to various islands using a Nook Miles ticket, checking out Harv’s Island for a fun photoshoot, or going to a friend’s (or strangers) personal island made it a full experience. I know many people were excited to get to another island in hunt of the fruits that were not native to their islands to fill up the Nook Miles pass – but also to activate new DIY recipes and fill their own island with a wide variety of fruit trees. Many companies even held special events for special travel access to their islands to gather players’ interest in a cause or an activity to keep the energy high. Honestly, there were lots of people who got super excited when they traveled and found Spider-Island or Scorpion Island – I found the latter and I will be honest I got right back on that plane and left!

All in all, Animal Crossing New Horizons provided something for every kind of gamer that gave their time and energy to the game. The constant changes in residents of the island, the new updates providing new content, every growing way to change up the island, the many ways to enjoy your time in the game – it kept the experience always fresh and exciting.

I look forward to what happens on the island in 2021!

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