Like many other families during COVID, the Animal Crossing bug hit my family after we broke down and picked up a few Switch devices back in March. Our boys A and W (ages nine and six) were first, but my husband and I got ourselves a full-sized Switch as an anniversary gift and I jumped both feet first into Animal Crossing after seeing how many people talked about it being a soothing game for people with anxiety.
It’s probably now one of my favorite games ever.
It’s a game I can play with my kids, and I’ve loved catching bugs, fishing, finding new villagers (Poppy and Filbert bring me so much joy), hoarding clothing and furniture, and flipping turnips so that I can pay off Tom Nook. The best part of the game for me, though, is the other people.
Once I started playing, two friends I don’t get to see as much became my Jedi Masters of Animal Crossing. One is a previous fan of the franchise, the other is new to it like me. We have a lovely group chat where they’ve given me so much help and good advice (not to mention in-game items and Bells). It’s also been great just to chat with friends I don’t get to see as much and visit each other’s islands.
There’s been a definite wave of players among the other GeekMoms, and since we’re all spread out, it’s been another fun way to interact with each other. This was also how I got my first recommendation on an Animal Crossing social media community to join, and it’s been amazing. When you find a nice group of the kindest players, it absolutely enhances your playing experience and in such a high-stress period for everyone, it’s one of the best things to help. In the past month or so, I have seen the following kinds of actions in the Animal Crossing community.
New Player Gifts
A number of players who are well established like to come to visit new players with gifts including materials, Bells, and fruit assortments. It’s gotten to the point where when someone starts an intro post saying they’re new, these kind individuals are tagged so they can sweep in like the Fairy Godmothers of Animal Crossing. There is also a thread full of advice for new players that are offered up.
Random Loan Repayments
Some of these Fairy Godparents of Animal Crossing also like surprising players with bringing enough Bells to pay off current loans. Whenever I see a post where one of these players asks if they can bring by a gift to help another player who says they’re working hard to pay off Nook, it always brings a smile to my face because I know exactly what’s coming.
A newer trend has been players who load up on Nook Miles Tickets to look for favorite villagers (known as Dreamies), but this group has taken it a step further. They post update pictures of their hunts, and if they find someone else’s Dreamie, they temporarily host that Dreamie so that the other player can come to claim them. No fees or tips required, just bringing joy to other players. It also undercuts people that try to sell villagers for actual real-life money (a practice Nintendo does not support and is trying to crack down on).
Cataloging Events, Swap Events, Crafting Events, and Star Gazing Parties
There are certain events you just can’t do if you are playing on your own and never go to another player’s island.
I have gotten very fond of Swapping Events where players bring items (clothing, furniture, DIYs, fossils) that they don’t want and then swap them out with others left in designated areas. I love these so much that I no longer sell unwanted items, but save them up just for these events. (I hope to host one of my own soon too.) This is a great way to finish off fossil collections too, although I have also seen people just be gifted final fossils they needed (myself included).
Star Gazing Parties happen when someone lets you come to their island to get a Star Recipe from Celeste and then stay to wish on falling stars. Since stars are such a valued material that you can only get during meteor showers, this is super helpful.
I hope to attend a Cataloging Event soon where players are allowed to pick up items and then drop them again which saves them to their catalog so they can order those items through the Nook Shop later (although I’ve recently done a smaller scale one with a friend). I also want to host a Crafting Event where players come to your island with materials and you make things for them that you have the recipes for that they don’t.
Hunting Down Items and DIYs
This is my favorite example because it’s a personal one. A few weeks ago I found a picture on Pinterest of a library I wanted to recreate. I had found a number of the items, but not all. I asked the group if they could help me ID some of the items and if they were buyable or craftable items.
They went above and beyond.
Several players simply brought me the extra DIYS they had for the relevant items. Another player has extras of the buyable items she wasn’t using and gave them to me (along with other items she thought might help). Neither asked for anything in return, although I did inquire if there was anything they could use and found ways I could return the favor. A few other friends sent me some items. Within two days, I was down to just two more items I had not secured, but I’ve found substitutes that I might even like better. I had only asked for help IDing pieces, but they put actual copies in my hands and as soon as I can buy enough books from Nook shopping, it’ll be all nice and finished.
This list would not be complete without mentioning turnip prices. There are no ways to consistently make millions on a full inventory of turnips every week without other players sharing their islands. I’ve been on both ends. In my first three weeks as a turnip buyer, the kindness of other players meant I was selling turnips within the 500-600 bell range every week. Then my island hit in the 500s one afternoon (it was the first day of that final loan that’s just shy of 2.5 million bells) and I opened up my island to the community. Every player I had was nice and respectful—I know there are horror stories out there, but I was not on the receiving end of one of them—and there were lots of generous tippers. So many that my final loan was not only paid off that day but I had extra money to invest in turnip buying to help cover building moving costs.
My experiences with the Animal Crossing community has only made me love the game more. On top of that, it makes me want to set up nice events as a host to return the kindness that others have bestowed on me. So if you haven’t already, go find a few groups, and when you come across one of the good ones, you’ll certainly know it because you’ll see lots of other players discuss how that group makes them want to return the favor. If you’re worried about running into one of those mean players you sometimes hear about, my suggestion is to avoid groups that are so large that members feel anonymous. You want a group big enough for lots of helpers, but not so big that it’s easier for problematic players to hide in the crowds.
Have you been playing Animal Crossing? What’s been your favorite part of the community?