It’s been, what, 18 years or so since the launch of the original Xbox Live service, right? The internet fundamentally transformed how gaming has worked in the years since. So much so that we can barely imagine what an Xbox, PC, or PlayStation console would be like without it. And then there’s Nintendo. It took Nintendo until 2017 to launch a decent online service, and I’m actually feeling kind of glad about that. It’s as if I get to re-live the magic of those early online days, and it’s all thanks to Animal Crossing: New Horizons finally getting a real online function. Seriously, it’s incredible!
I touched on this a little bit in my post from last week, but I think the online portion of Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the absolute best part of the game. Everything about the game is enhanced by plugging into the online Animal Crossing community. Ever since the game came out, I’ve been on there discovering all new possibilities for the game and enjoying interactions I never thought I’d have!
I’ve made piles of bells trading turnips on other people’s islands; I’ve found inspiration for my home and island by basking in the creativity of my fellow islanders, and I’ve even found a reliable way to acquire basically any piece of furniture I could ever want. It’s all done though connecting with other fans and working out the best way to help each other out, and I absolutely love it!
Now there’s definitely a cynical side to the online community; a quality best represented by those demanding the most outrageous fees possible for their services and trades. Thankfully though, they’re in the minority. Most people I’ve seen on the main Animal Crossing: New Horizons discord are just trying to make modest, good-natured deals. Some are even just looking to have people visit their town for a bit, and doing so is almost always worth while. I’ve seen many a beautiful island hosted by someone keen to show it off.
More than any of this though, it’s just fun meeting other Animal Crossing fans and learning a little tidbits about who they are outside of the game. I’ve met people who turned out to also be Mass Effect fans, people who knew about books I was certain had faded from public awareness, and people who just had really clever stories behind their island names. The point is that there’s plenty of in-game benefits to be had by interacting with other fans online and visiting their islands, but the best part might just be the connections themselves (brief though they may be). If you haven’t already, I heartily recommend giving it a try. I’m sure you’ll meet some cool people out there in the Animal Crossing archipelago!