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I spent a month away from Animal Crossing and now everything is different

Back in April, I felt like I’d never get sick of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. There’s just so much to do, collect, and create — my island was (and still is) an ongoing project, always something to do or a design to tweak. I was in the midst of an island renovation when I started going days — then weeks — between play sessions. I’d successfully moved all villager houses, created a new setup for the museum, and planted a field of yellow flowers in front of my house.

Eventually, more than a month passed since the last time I’d played New Horizons, save a quick check-in to grab a screenshot for work. Every time I’d think about playing the game, I felt sort of guilty; when I returned, my island was certainly going to be covered in weeds. I wasn’t sure if I could handle my villagers passively aggressively shaming me. The wedding update wasn’t enough to pull me back into the game, to face the judgement of my villagers. But you know what is? Swimming!


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In preparation for the first wave of summer updates, I’ve sheepishly returned to Sears (my island). And, indeed, each one of my villagers took it upon themselves to tell me how much I’d disappointed them. For one, I missed Marina’s birthday. Lionel absolutely roasted me: “So, the famous Nicole has finally decided to grace me with an appearance!” Even Samson, who I’m disappointed to say hasn’t moved out, had a quip for me: “It’s been a while! Did you go back to the mainland?” He asked. “Huh? You haven’t left the island? But I’ve been swim training for weeks to come visit you.” (Ugh.)

Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

There are sticks and weeds everywhere. (New summer weeds, though!) I don’t recognize any of the bugs or fish. Sears has changed, man. But I think it’s a good thing, for me, at least. I played so frantically over the first few months that Nintendo’s slow drip of content wasn’t enough to keep me interested. Now that things have cooled down, it feels like I can play New Horizons at a manageable pace, slowly discovering the new creatures around the island and indulging in the new seasonal activities.

On Friday, Nintendo’s releasing its first wave of summer content — including swimming, Pascal, and new recipes to create. Gulliver, too, is getting a seasonal makeover. I’m eager to dive head first into the update, but I think I’ll try to have some self-control. After all, I’m not sure I could handle disappointing Marina again.

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