24

On The Outside

June 5, 2020 by Tim

I feel like I may be the only one on the planet, but I just don’t get Animal Crossing.

I’ve seen/read a lot about them over the years, but never actually played one. I told myself that this time, with the latest release, I was finally going to dive in and see what it was all about. I got as far as the checkout screen in the Nintendo store. I just couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger and spend $60 on something that looks so… dull.

Meanwhile, my personal social media becomes filled with talk about building things, and island visits, and turnip prices, and it sounds like I’m missing out on something amazing, like all of my friends see something I don’t. But none of the footage or reviews of these games offer me any insight into what’s so captivating. It all just looks grindy and boring to me.


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Roy Husebø
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Roy Husebø

I totally agree. it looks very booring…

foducool
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foducool

I don’t think AC is for everyone
my girlfriend loves it and tries to get me to buy it so we can play together
but I refuse because I just know I’ll drop it in a few days

Brick
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Brick

Word of warning (and apologies if you’re already aware): I actually bought it in an attempt to play the game with my girlfriend. I was dismayed when I realized that I couldn’t do anything because, as the creator of the island, she was the only one who could actually progress the (meager) storyline. That meant, early on, I couldn’t figure out how to cross over streams or dig or break up stones because she hadn’t gotten far enough to get the Shovel or Pole Vault recipes yet. So yeah, if you’re willing to help farm items for her, that’s great…… Read more »

Blathersisannoying
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Blathersisannoying

Totally agreed. My wife started the game before I did so she got to control the island. I kept harping her to get things done so we could progress together, but it just turned into an argument. Once I realized that you don’t actually get to do anything but kill time, I was over it. I just don’t see the point. Now her and my daughter are playing it and seem to be having a good time.

TuffMelon
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TuffMelon

To me, games like Stardew Valley do everything i’d want from that kind of game. All the villagers and the multiplayer elements in AC:NH feel more gimmicky than something that contributes to the game. Especially with the real time time gatekeeping of content.
Feels more like a game that’s slow and chill because you have no choice, more than because that’s how the gameplay functions best.
But alas. Probably just wasn’t a game designed for me.

Richard
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Richard

Yah agreed i love settlement management games and it has all the elements that you might want but they all feel light.Like the mechanics aren’t in depth which is fine but in that regard it feels designed for younger audiences and much more casual gamers. I think the main reason it boomed as much as it has is that they’re target audiences are now stuck at home and sink a lot more time into it than they normally would. On top of that I think a larger percentage of people on AC spend more time on social media getting others… Read more »

Bernie Margolis
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Bernie Margolis

Stardew Valley is probably the best $15 I ever spent. Weeks of enjoyment for one low price. As I saw on another forum once, Animal Crossing is the game you play *every* day. Stardew Valley is the game you play *all* day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ot7uXNQskhs

Darkening
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Darkening

Man, I saw AC:NH and spent like 30 seconds wondering what assassin’s creed game had villagers.

Nyzer
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Nyzer

Stardew Valley lets you actually progress through the game at a good clip, and if you run out of stuff to do in any particular day you can just put your character to bed. Animal Crossing is much more time gated, and has a bunch of weird restrictions like no way for multiple players on the same console to progress the same island, while ALSO not letting them have their own islands. In fact, most of its unique/appealing content is drowning in such restrictions – you have next to no control over the villagers on the island, it takes a… Read more »

Marth Koopa
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Marth Koopa

I regret buying it. The time it takes to do basic actions is really just so damn insufferable. Seeing the same stupid joke EVERY TIME that you catch something and going through the same unnecessary “YOU GOT THING!” animation OVER AND OVER, is so stupid. It would be fine if it that stuff only happened the FIRST time you caught something new, but EVERY GOD DAMN TIME it drives you freaking INSANE. Even the time to just pick up a basic material is drawn out when it could so easily be a quick little action. Shouldn’t have bought it digital.… Read more »

Shecky
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Shecky

You need to buy yourself the timer. The jokes stop and you can just catch fish/bugs to your hearts content.

no thanks nintendo
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no thanks nintendo

Having to buy an item to make the game stop wasting your time is probably the most obnoxious game “feature” I’ve heard since Pokemon Sword and Shield not giving you control over audio options until you find some NPC who gives you an item 3 hours into the game. I don’t know what it is with Nintendo lately, but they really need to remember that options belong in the options menu and should be accessible the moment you first start the game. This “you can’t have options until you find them in the game” trend needs to die and it… Read more »

Nyzer
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Nyzer

This is a thing? I had no idea. Not only should it not work this way, but the fact that it’s so obscure is insane in its own right.

Nyzer
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Nyzer

I noticed this, too. There’s a lot of just… wasted time. It’s kind of reminscient of the original Ocarina of Time text speed compared to games nowadays. If I want to go have fossils checked & donated, I just have to spend so fucking long slogging through Blathers’ dialog. It’s ridiculous. I could just be able to talk to him, immediately open up the choice to “check fossils” “donate stuff” “talk” or “leave”, have check fossils open up the inventory box, get my fossils checked, and then have Blathers ask “do you want to donate the new fossils” if there… Read more »

deveros
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deveros

I honestly thought this was going to be the first panel of analogue and d-pad with Ethan at his group counselling because of his sisters death.

Maligor
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Maligor

Right there with you. just does not look interesting to me.

Mike
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Mike

I never really got into Harvest Moon, and I’ve never played an Animal Crossing game, but I really like Stardew Valley. Why? Who knows. (It’s probably the sanctioned mods! And the fact it’s not a Nintendo product and is thus not ‘gentled’ in almost any way.)

Matt
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Matt

I think where I’ve played so many RPG’s and MMO’s and similar games where we try to find the best, or most efficient way to do something, and race against time, or players etc, that a game where there’s no urgency (that I’ve seen) or overwhelming reason to do anything other than because you can and it’s fun, seems… weird? Like I play WoW, to beat hard bosses and say yeah, I did that, I find it fun to group up and smash hard foes. There’s so much unfun grind (to get flying, to farm echos for corruptions (doing my… Read more »

Doc
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Doc

If given the chance, many of us would optimize the fun out of any game. I optimize. I like to optimize. I like to find all the boosts, the stat multipliers, cooldown reduction effects, cross synergies and situational advantages. It’s difficult sit back and watch my sister save 500 dollars in Stardew Valley “just in case she needs it later” instead of investing in the seeds which rake in levels and cash. Yet, it’s her mindset that is, in a way, more ‘correct’ – there’s no failure in Stardew Valley, or Animal Crossing, or many other games anyways, so taking… Read more »

leduk
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leduk

tbh I think wow is totally boring right now, with the endless grind

Mr. Casual
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Mr. Casual

For me at least, it’s kind of a hybrid casual/meditative game. There’s very light crafting, collecting, and farming elements, but it’s all very low-key and there’s really very little to screw up or do wrong. The animal characters can be cute and endearing, and the search to find the ones you like the best becomes a long-term quest. And especially with New Horizons, the ability to (eventually) terraform your island allows you to make something really creative, or really peaceful, or goofy things like horror islands or carnival islands, or numerous other silly stuff. It’s also very definitely not without… Read more »

Ocramot
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Ocramot

I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. You are not the only one experiencing these feelings.
*Hug*

Mephistofun
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Mephistofun

My son had me buy it for him. Tradition has it that I either play ahead of him or I’m with him when he plays. This is the first game I couldn’t do either of those things. It simulates the chores I do normally… or maybe or a parody of them. I don’t collect fish for a museum for example. But it ‘feels’ like I’m just doing busy work. I should have just given him a garden patch, made him to the dishes and paid him in vegetable seeds. That’s it! He could live in the garden!

GONFRASK
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GONFRASK

You are not alone, and in this group you are aafe

Scortch
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Scortch

Yeah I didnt really get the appeal either. I’m not sure why honestly. I love Stardew Valley, and how peaceful and relaxing it feels, but for whatever reason AC which seems very similar doesn’t grab me at all.

Nyzer
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Nyzer

AC is really time gated, whereas Stardew will usually give you more than enough to fill out any given game day right from the first week.

Wingers
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Wingers

Isn’t it just Sims with a different skin (and multiplayer)?

Soag
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Soag

There are so many games that a lot of people play, enjoy and in my eyes they are just not worth the time. Both expansions of AC game title abbreviation fall in that basket in my case. So don’t bother, reading through this comment section seems to prove you’re not the only one. Plus it sounds a bit like you have this feeling of not being part of the group, an outsider, and missing out on both experience they have and belonging to the pack. Don’t force yourself because of that. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you.… Read more »

Hunter
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Hunter

Yup. When an enthusiast attempted to win me over they succeeded in pushing me further away. They were so excited for a game that was busy work and endless grinding. It was scary how angry they got when I mentioned how it sounded like the boring aspects of real life. Go to work to pay for a seemingly never ending stream of bills…

Freddie
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Freddie

At least the loans are all interest-free …

Sanquin
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Sanquin

I completely get it my dude! People are having so much fun with it, spending hours a day making their perfect little island and visiting others. And pretty much everyone talks about it. But I just…don’t get it. I just don’t see me having fun with the game at all. Grindy and boring indeed. This coming from a guy that LOVES survival crafting/building games mostly for the building, and even spent a good 100 hours in NMS when it had just come out. (a few 100 hours by now.) But hey, I’m glad so many people got a game that… Read more »

Joel
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Joel

It’s a lot more fun and relaxing in practice than it is in theory. It’s still not going to be for everyone but when I say I have a lot more fun with it than I thought i would, I mean it.

I binged over 100 hours in it over 2 weeks. Haven’t touched it since but still got more than my money’s worth. Would pick it up again if I had friends to play with.

Evan Cole
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Evan Cole

Cocaine is a hell of a drug…. and Tom Nook is my dealer

GamerLEN
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GamerLEN

It was fun for a little bit, and during all the initial Covid19 chaos a game where I could just zen out and hang out with some villagers doing gardening and stuff was just what I’d needed… but yeah, I didn’t stay for long. Fun for a bit, but sooner or later you wanna go back to fighting monsters. Just a nice little island vacation for a while.

Shrek
Guest

Hey Tim.
XD
You are not alone. Not every gamer can play every game right?
I’m still playing Star Wars Galaxies on a PRE NGE server and HATE “The Old Republic”

Eldest Gruff
Guest

I’ve put, uh… *checks* 225 hours into the game in the last two and a half months. Which is staggering for me. I will agree that it’s not for everyone. But surprisingly, it’s also something that can be for anyone. I’ve seen my brother-in-law, a diehard XBox Halo/Gears/Madden/COD player, just sink into an AC title for months. It’s something you wouldn’t necessarily know you like, until you try it. And yeah, I get the ‘boring’ bit. It’s a game specifically without any of those rushing adrenaline highs; a game with many, many small rewards, that specifically works to make the… Read more »

Scott
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Scott

Thank you for writing. While it does not sound like I will purchase this, I appreciate hearing from someone who genuinely enjoys the game.

Pulse
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Pulse

im with you. every one thats come out ive wanted to try since they were so loved but with people calling the newest the best and streams of it are just day to day grind with no end in sight other then “look what i made” i really dont see the appeal for me.

Jenna
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Jenna

Animal Crossing is definitely not for everyone. I think Zero Punctuation has done the best reviews of Animal Crossing if you want an idea of what you’re getting into.

SuperIchi
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Same

Kenju
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Kenju

Trust me, you are not alone mate. I’ve tried it, and a few games like it, and I just don’t get the appeal. That’s coming from someone who LOVES to micromanage and has an entire library of Sim/Age of Empire games.

Deadly-Bagel
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Deadly-Bagel

I know exactly what you mean. All I see are random anthropomorphic critters getting you to do their chores, mundane time-locked tasks, and an “everything will go to hell” hook for if you stop playing (like an MMO where if you stop logging in to feed your pet it’ll die).

But then I absolutely love Factorio, while the sort of people who like Animal Crossing just don’t understand its majesty.(or have any idea how to play it at all).

Merendel
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Merendel

I’m with ya there. AC falls into the category of games I have little to no interest in. Its not that I’d refuse to ever play it. Its just so far down the list of what interests me that I’ll never have time to work through the backlog of games I’m more interested in. I’ve had a few games that were extremely popular that turned out that way for me. I don’t get the draw of pokemon for example. Got one to play because I had more free time back then and played through it. Found it OK but nothing… Read more »

Dan
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Dan

Squels and remakes have the advantage that, even if they don’t bring anything new to the table, or aren’t even that good, they’ll sell well. Star Wars, Marvel, Mario, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Animal Crossing…

Jesse
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Jesse

Hey now, what’s with Mario being included in that list? Out of all the Mario games, how many were not enjoyable? Two of them? All I can think of are maybe Mario 2, and Mario RPG. The latest ones (Odyssey, Galaxy 1 and 2 on Wii, even Mario Maker) are absolutely phenomenal games.

Merendel
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Merendel

Even Mario 2 and RPG barely count. Mario 2 was a totally different game that got reskinned as mario to be sold outside of japan. RPG was not really what one would consider a mario game. It was a generic cartoonie RPG that just happend to use mario as its theme. Could have slotted any other set of characters in there without changeing the story or mechanics much to make sense. That said one of the options on his list was didnt bring anything new to the table. There have been a couple that were basicly expansion packs to the… Read more »

no thanks nintendo
Guest
no thanks nintendo

Mario 2 doesn’t even count. That’s not a Mario game, that’s Doki Doki Panic. The real Mario 2 is a perfectly fine game.

Nyzer
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Nyzer

Plenty of people enjoyed Mario RPG, but it certainly wasn’t meant to appeal to the folks who wanted more of the platforming genre.

The New Super Mario Bros. games are generally considered to be weak, and the Paper Mario series went sharply downhill but still catches a lot of people’s interest because Mario.

Corieu
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Corieu

Its a worst Stardew Valley for people who misses playing FarmVille on Facebook. Thats my take on Animal Crossing.

Anon Y Mouse
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Anon Y Mouse

Not alone,

Leon
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Leon

I dont get it either. It looks like a cross between The Sims and Harvest Moon

NoksFilms
Guest

Its just a chore sim game. i get that plenty in real life. That said i did buy the new one to try it and only played it for 2 weeks. during that time you can really on play for 3 hours a day.

Reever
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Reever

i have no interest in Animal Crossing either. never have. i was having a semi-decent conversation with an employee at GameStop(root of all evil, i know…) and was there to preorder Cyberpunk. they asked if there was anything else i wanted and then started gushing about AC and were shocked when i said i’d never played it and looked at me like i was crazy when i said i had no interest in it either. they then started trying to tell me what the game was about and why they found it fun and why they thought i should buy… Read more »

Zach Strand
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Zach Strand

Don’t worry Tim, you’re DEFINITELY not alone on that front. I’ve tried a few times to get into AC, and it just can never hook me.

Swordust
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Swordust

Here’s a guide to know if you’ll like playing Animal Crossing:
Do you like cute things?
If yes, you’ll like it.

That’s it.

Rogerio
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Rogerio

I played it on Gamecube and enjoyed it but I haven’t played it since and from what I’ve heard about the latest iteration I don’t think I would enjoy it nearly as much.

Lily
Guest
Lily

I pretty much never buy games for the full $60 price. If you want to try it, just try it when it is like $20 or something.

Holly
Guest
Holly

Hi Ted.

I’m the same way, Tim. I even looked on the nintendo store for a demo and got nothin.

gct
Guest
gct

The country’s burning and the police are murdering people in the streets for daring to speak up about police brutality… but I guess Animal Crossing is lame, sure.

Merendel
Guest
Merendel

Believe it or not, the universe does not revolve around whatever has the 24h news cycle’s attention at this exact moment. While bad shit is happening in some places in others people wouldnt even know anything out of the ordinary was going on without the news/social media harping on it. Life goes on.

7eggert
Guest
CTOWN
Guest
CTOWN

I totally agree. I got one recent animal crossing game, was able to force myself into about 2 hours playing it. Its about as interesting as watching paint dry. If not for real-world-time-gating, it might have had a meager shot at being fun. But no.

Joseph C
Guest
Joseph C

You are far from alone.

Mich
Guest
Mich

I thought the same thing, and then my husband bought it to play with our (adult) daughter and now I’m hooked. I can’t explain it, but it might be the escapism, perhaps when the expansion for Sword/Shield is release it’ll break the spell

RiftWalker
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RiftWalker

Don’t feel alone, I too don’t see the appeal of Animal Crossing.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Im with you on this 🙂

Shecky
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Shecky

I always equated it to Minecraft… but it doesn’t look like c***. You have the mining and trying to shape the world to be your own. It’s about creating given the tools you have, and not necessarily a game to “beat”. Little different from Sims where you played as an overlord of sorts. Here you interact with other residents. It become a major grind only if you are trying to muster enough money to buy everything and “complete” the game. Now there are some major limitations. 2+ players is a joke, the “non-leaders” for some reason can’t pickup or do… Read more »

BakaGrappler
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BakaGrappler

My name is BakaG, and I think Animal Crossing looks boring as well. It’s like the Sims but with furries and no modding and fewer possible interactions, but with busywork crafting recipes thrown into the loop. Everything I don’t want to experience. When there is FF7Re, the Mana remake on Switch, P5Royal, a cell phone game I enjoy because it actually has content, Spider Man that I want to play again, and a host of other games that just… are fun right out the gate. Why does everyone think AC is the hot shit? I mean, good for Nintendo, but…… Read more »

Greg Weible
Guest
Greg Weible

100% agree with you. It looks inanely boring to me. My girlfriend plays it, and even watching her play is boring. There’s no challenge, no thrill, nothing to pull one in that I can see.

Urazz
Guest
Urazz

Nope, you aren’t alone Tim. I watched a friend play Animal Crossing found it boring as hell. Yes, a rift has formed between my family and friends and I like it that way to avoid the boring ass game that is Animal Crossing.

There is also a rift between us involving Minecraft as well. I just can’t stand the crappy graphics.

Randalf
Guest
Randalf

You’re not the only one.. I think it looks dull as well.

But that’s fine, people who like it can enjoy it, I’ll go do something else instead.