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Let’s Have a Word About ‘Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp’

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I’ve played Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp just as much as the rest of you for the last week or so. OK, that’s not entirely true. I was a holdout for a little while, but then my social feeds were flooded with friend codes, and my Animal Crossing-loving kids were into it, and I gave in. Then I was playing just as much as the rest of you, leveling up by gathering fish and fruit and bugs for strange animals while I ate lunch. (Tip: that’s how you stay ahead of your kids who can’t have phones at school in a mobile game.)

But let’s be honest. These animals are not smart. They’re definitely not fit to live in the wild. I’m not sure they’re fit to live in their usual village either, but for some reason, these critters decided to go camping entirely unprepared.

And folding a map is the least of their problems. I assume most of them don’t even have maps. Or even a lick of common sense. Some of them stand right in front of the water and ask you to get them some fish.

Look, cat, there’s a fish right there. See its shadow? How about you grab yourself a fishing pole and catch it? I’d say he probably didn’t even pack a fishing pole, but I think as much as they’re unprepared, it’s also simply that they’re lazy. Evidence 1: The same cat asked me for seashells. While standing on the beach where you get seashells.

Lazy! Although to be fair, if I could make some friendly human do my bidding, I don’t think I’d do anything for myself either. I guess we should expect this behavior from a cat, huh? But it’s not just the cat. Beau (a deer, a la-zy deer ♪♫♬) straight up admits it.

Yeah, we’ve all had that coworker. At least they give you rewards for answering their constant demands. And occasionally show some verbal appreciation.

But as to the rest of their social skills, these anthropomorphized creatures are pretty representative of people you encounter all the time. There’s the Crossfit Guy:

And the guy who you just met, but you know he is going to you a LinkedIn request after the party:

There’s the Oversharer (even though you just met ten seconds ago):

You’ve got Nervous Nellie, who is pretty sure you secretly hate her no matter how long you’ve been friends, and even though you keep talking to her, letting her hang out at your campsite, and bringing her endless piles of goodies:

And of course, no group is complete without the Gossiper.

I was actually pretty excited to have an animal come up with a topic of conversation that wasn’t about where to buy clothes or how to get my camper tricked out, all of which I already know. Maybe we’re going to talk about Antonio’s freaky tail or how those seashell necklaces Bud is making went out of fashion decades ago. But no. Bluebear is pretty terrible at this. Here’s what she considers gossip:

Sigh. So much for gossip. Cherry seemed like the next best hope for conversation. She looks like a chatty type, right? So I tried engaging her in a little chitchat around the campsite. You know, the place where she hangs out on my furniture and eats my food. At least let’s have a little banter! What does she say?

Yeah, probably lunch I caught and cooked. You could at least take five seconds to ask how the weather was at the beach where I tap-tap-tapped your fish into my inventory.

Which brings me to the next point about what kind of friends these animals are. If you struck up a friendship with someone and became close enough to that person to invite them into your home, what would you say if their answer to your invitation was, “Sure! But only if you buy a new sofa, rug, and dresser that don’t match your decor, and make sure that my preferred beverages in my preferred drinking vessels are available”? I’m pretty sure you’d skip that friendship. But in Animal Crossing, those sorts of requests are practically the entire basis for building “friendship.”

Of course, once they’ve come over, they’ll be super polite, right? Probably cook for you and do the dishes and stuff.

Nope. Every time you return from gathering more fish and fruit and bugs for their demands, they’re sleeping on the sofa or lounging around and mostly ignore you unless you have something they want. Oh, and if you happen to see them hanging out at somebody else’s campsite? They will straight up refuse to talk to you while pretending you can’t see them shopping around for better places to mooch.

Sometimes, Beau. Sometimes. And yet I keep opening up the app to bring you more butterflies. That probably says more about me than it does about you.

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