There’s one habit that I’ve acquired during this pandemic that I’d like to keep: drinking more beverages throughout my day. Specifically, drinking several cups of herbal tea a day. I’ll always have a cup of coffee to start my day, but the rest of my day now belongs to tea.
This piece was written by Emily Mozzone, one of GeekGirlCon’s Marketing Designers. If you’d like to pitch a guest post, contact us at email@example.com!
There’s no doubt that Animal Crossing has come far as a Nintendo IP. For those of us who have played since the beginning, Animal Crossing has metamorphosed from an odd, obscure game that none of your friends played into the worldwide phenomenon it is today. The data backs this up: Animal Crossing for the GameCube sold a little over 2 million copies worldwide, while Animal Crossing: New Horizons “sold some 1.88 million copies in its first 3 days on sale in Japan” only, and that’s not even including digital copies.
A lot has changed in the Animal Crossing universe since its launch 19 years ago, and overall I think these changes are for the better. The game is generally more accessible and friendly to players: I’m thankful that I live in a world where I can just fly to my friends’ islands over the internet rather than try to find another kid who owns Animal Crossing on the GameCube and then trust them enough to physically swap our memory cards. I’m glad that kids don’t have to get constantly berated and teased by their villagers (let’s be real, GameCube NPCs were savages).
But as the series has progressed and strived to be even more fun and enjoyable, I think a little bit of the magic and freedom has been lost. f
Historically, Animal Crossing has been about taking your time. We live in a world that constantly asks you to rush, be productive, make money. In video games, we fight, we level up, and we try to win. Animal Crossing throws all this out the window. There is no way to win: Animal Crossing simply asks you to value “family, friendship, and community.”
So what’s changed in the Animal Crossing world? Why do I feel like the game has strayed from these original values?
The Commodification of Villagers
With the introduction of smooth online play, it’s easier than ever for players to get their favorite, ideal villagers, known in the community as “dreamies.” Historically, getting your dreamies was simply pure luck. You had to wait for one of your current villagers to move out, then pray that one of your dreamies moved in. Just like everything in Animal Crossing, good things came to those who waited.
Beginning in Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the 3DS, players are now able to easily “adopt” villagers from other players’ towns. This was implemented so your friends could invite your villagers to live in their towns.
In practice, it’s resulted in villagers being sold like property in internet forums. A quick scroll through the r/AdoptMyVillager Reddit reveals bidding wars for popular dreamies, with villagers selling for 5 million+ Bells (in-game currency) or dozens of Nook Mile Tickets (NMT).
Villagers can also be obtained in the game via physical Amiibo cards, which have been out of print for years. For popular villagers, these cards sell for more than the value of the game.
In the Animal Crossing community, having undesirable or “ugly” villagers is no longer acceptable. Instead of living harmoniously with your island’s animals, players often push, bully, or hit villagers until they eventually move out.
Time Traveling: A Race for the Best Island
Time travel, also known as time skipping, is a hotly debated act in the Animal Crossing community. Put simply, the player can change the in-game clock forward or backward to make days go by faster. As Animal Crossing gameplay is tied to the real date and time, players can manipulate the clock to make holidays last for longer, skip around seasons, or jump ahead in time hoping one of their “ugly” villagers moves out. Many older players (myself included) consider it cheating and not in the spirit of the game. Historically, there wasn’t much reason to time travel. It made weeds grow in your town, gave you bedhead and put roaches in your house, and it made flowers die. Oftentimes, it just wasn’t worth it.
But as the game has grown in popularity, players feel pressured to have the “best” island.
In New Horizons, the “tutorial,” which unlocks all the tools and key buildings for your island, takes over a week to fully complete. The game staggers these events over real days to fully immerse the player in the island and give the player a sense of delayed gratification. Unfortunately, many players feel an urgency to immediately try and get the “best” villagers, have the coolest island layout, and the most impressive furniture to show off to their friends. The only way to do this quickly is to time travel. By doing this, players can burn through weeks (even months) of gameplay in just a few hours in the pursuit of perfection and “keeping up with the Joneses.”
Overall, I can’t complain too much about Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The game is a worldwide phenomenon for a reason, and undoubtedly the most fun of the series. The greater ease to get your dreamies, the ability to change the landscape of your town to make it just how you’d like, the new achievement-based gameplay involving Nook Miles…these are all fun new additions that many players, myself included, find engaging and exciting. It seems like I’ll just have to get used to the new Animal Crossing world that focuses less on the values of “family, friendship, and community” with your NPC villagers and more on connecting with your real-life friends.
Because of your support, we were able to make $4,668 during GiveBIG!
As you know, GeekGirlCon is a volunteer-powered nonprofit organization that exists because of people like you who believe in our mission to celebrate and honor the legacies of under-represented groups in science, technology, comics, arts, literature, gameplay, and game design. We know the last few months have been unexpectedly difficult, and now more than ever we appreciate your dedication to helping GGC achieve its mission and expand its impact in ways we could have never imagined when we were first starting out ten years ago.
First and foremost, GeekGirlCon is a community. Despite these trying times, we will continue to push forward and persevere. We wouldn’t be here today without the love and support of all of you, helping us expand and reach new heights with every passing year. We know that the last few months have been uncertain and challenging, but your continued support and dedication to our cause is what pushes us to barrel forward. We have a goal to accomplish, and that mission is to make sure that everyone feels supported, welcomed, and encouraged to express what they love and celebrate their unique self.
Whether or not you are able to donate this year, your support means the world to us. While we lean on the love and dedication of our community to guide us forward—we absolutely want you to lean on us too.
Beyond the scope of the convention, we want to help foster this community through trying times. We want to be a place where you can share your passions and learn, educate, and grow. Together, we can get through this. Seattle, GeekGirlCon—everyone, everywhere. This is a time to gather together (while practicing social distancing, of course).
Just a little reminder from us to y’all that GiveBIG starts tomorrow, and GeekGirlCon needs your support as much as ever.
GeekGirlCon works all year to create physical and virtual spaces for us to come together and honor the contributions of everyone who’s been under-invited in traditional geek culture, and we have no intention of slowing down.
Running out of things to watch while you social distance? Wanting to branch out and explore something new? Here’s a few of the movies, shows & YouTube offerings I’ve been enjoying over the past couple months that I think you might like, too.
Hi everyone! We are quickly coming upon one of GeekGirlCon’s biggest fundraisers of the year: GiveBIG, hosted by 501 Commons on May 5-6. We are so excited to be able to offer a con that promotes underrepresented communities in science, art, comics, and so much more, but we are only able to do so with the generous donations and support of our community.
So why should you support GeekGirlCon? GGC is an organization made up of a community of passionate people who come together to promote the belief that everyone deserves a safe space to express themselves. The 100% volunteer staff of GGC works year-round to bring the best possible programming, vendors, and activities to GGC for people of all genders, ethnicities, and sexualities to enjoy and to help spread the spirit of our labor of love throughout our community. If that sounds like a cool thing that you want to support, then you should GiveBIG! If you want to learn more, check out our Mission Statement.
Our mission is only possibly with your support, and every contribution counts (and is also tax deductible). You can even schedule your donation early if you just don’t want to wait. Be sure to check back in with us on May 5-6 to see how we are doing!
And from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your continued support of GeekGrilCon. It truly means the world to us!
Hey, fellow procrastinators—do you have an idea for a panel, workshop, performance, or event that would be a great addition to GeekGirlCon 2020? Or are you interested in being a panelist, moderator, or tabletop game host at the con?
If so, good news: We’re extending our programming submission deadline to May 14, so there’s still time to get your application in!
While we’re all staying at home, you may be trying to come up with a fun and engaging way to channel your creativity. One option is to make your own video game to share with friends and then distribute to a wider audience. The opportunities are endless, and the challenges can expand your knowledge. There are many advantages of making your own video game, including those mentioned below.
You Already Possess Most of the Skills
If creating a video game from home has crossed your mind, the chances are you have some knowledge. You know how to use code, you can create assets, and you are familiar with the framework you have chosen. In addition to your skills, you can find free models and art online, or you can create your own styles. One of the most significant aspects of creating a video game is learning how to work with tools and keeping things fun, which are abilities most people already possess.
We all have friends who seem to have already organized their closets, deep-cleaned their apartments, and picked up a new hobby or ten while stuck at home. But if you’re finding yourself in the opposite boat—the one where you keep meaning to get things done but you end up sitting on the couch scrolling through Facebook instead—me and my ADHD brain can empathize.
Here are a few systems I use to help me get from wanting to do something to actually doing the thing.