From catching bees to chopping trees, these students look to Animal Crossing for enjoyment and relaxation


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An island-wide celebration for the construction of a new bridge, all gameplay features in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Junior Lani Quach has a personal vendetta towards athletes, but not in the way that one may think. 

Though she has nothing against the pursuits of fitness and recreation in the real world, it is in Animal Crossing that sporty villagers get on her last nerve.

Lani began playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons—ACNH—last spring a mere three weeks after it dropped, and since then, she has been hooked. Whether it be ringing in bells or crafting her perfect deserted isle aesthetic, Lani has found enough of an outlet in ACNH to spend nearly 200 hours playing the game.

And though it is easy to love the adorable and charismatic villagers that join players along the ride, one sporty little guy has royally ruined Lani’s vibe. 

But also, just have fun; this isn’t a serious game.”

— Lani Quach

“I cannot get Scoot to move off my island,” said Lani, who has been dealing with the wrath of this tiny green duck since her early days in-game. “He still has his very basic home, and I have no idea what to do.”

Besides the fact that Scoot and his energetic friends frankly degrade the ambiance of PeekABoo—the name Lani picked for her island home—it is still just that: a home. From her friendly neighborhood octopus and sheep duo, Sherb and Marina, to the Able Sisters and their infinite supply of chic and adorable clothing, Lani has found a reason to stay on PeekABoo.

However, her beloved island would be nothing without her constant decorative efforts, sprucing up the atmosphere being her favorite part of ACNH. 

“I hate fishing and getting the money to do things,” Lani said, “but once I have those, all I need is to place stuff down and make everything look really cute. I absolutely love it.”

All the while, decorating one’s island from stream to sea requires one nearly unattainable aspect, that being heaps of bells. Bells are the currency of Animal Crossing and act as a ploy for the monopolistic raccoon Tom Nook to extort players out of all their time and effort. However, Lani has found her way around this overall fraudulent in-game system. 

“Always pick the fruit,” Lani said. “That’s like the one thing I do. Whenever the fruit is new, I pick it.”

By selling her assortments of oranges, peaches, cherries, and more, Lani has managed to form her own monopoly. She uses this money to pay for the adornments that have pushed her island to four-stars, no matter how much this rating may fluctuate due to Isabelle and her strict island-evaluations.

I actually like all my villagers. I appreciate them for who they are, even some of them that are a little annoying.”

— Josh Treichel

Yet, Lani maintains her wish to keep ACNH a light and entertaining experience through the commonality of acceptance. 

“But also, just have fun; this isn’t a serious game,” Lani said. “So do whatever you want; if you want a trashy island, go for it.”

Though he doesn’t have a patent-pending method of success like Lani, junior Josh Treichel also plays ACNH for creative, and even meditative purposes. Whether it be collecting all the creatures and donating them to the owl, Blathers—the museum curator—or growing wide varieties of fruit, Josh participates in the world of Animal Crossing to retreat.

“A lot of people don’t like Animal Crossing,” Josh said. “They think it’s too boring, but I actually really like it. I think it’s relaxing.”

Furthermore, Josh’s relaxed attitude about his island carries over into his opinions on the villagers he shares it with. Residents such as Leopold the lion, Egbert the chicken, and Coco the gyroid-like rabbit make up the community on Joshland, the island that Josh creatively named after himself. 

“I actually like all my villagers,” Josh said. “I appreciate them for who they are, even some of them that are a little annoying.  I’ve got some lame villagers, but I don’t let them go.”

Despite his positive attitude about player-villager relationships, there is more than just alacrity pushing Josh towards a haven within Animal Crossing. From his time spent playing early editions on his game cube to hours shaking fruit from his trees during quarantine, Josh has created a solid five-star island that he is proud to call his own.

However, similar to his attitude about most ACNH-related undertakings, he continues to stress that mitigation and inspiration are the best tonics for any prospective player.

It has a little bit of a mental boost too, because it gives you something to do every day, just going back to your island [and] talking to your villager friends.”

— Lydia Meek

“If you try and deliberately get five stars, you’re never going to get it, but if you just start building stuff, [you’ll] get five stars,” Josh said. “You have to have patience while playing, and you also need to be creative.”

On another island far from Joshland and PeekABoo, there is most certainly not a shortage of creativity. Senior Lydia Meek has cultivated an Animal Crossing paradise on Crystarium, a name she copied from one of her brother’s ulterior video games. With villagers such as Deirdra, Mac, and Ketchup occupying this oasis, Lydia has established some refreshing ways to spruce up her area. 

“Decorating does a lot [to improve your island],” Lydia said, “and putting out paths and terra-forming. I haven’t sat down and terra-formed my entire island, but I know that there are some really cool five-star islands [that use this feature].”

Yet, overall, Lydia finds what most resident-representatives look for within the world of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and that’s companionship and entertainment. From catching bees to chopping trees, it is a universe that provides diversion and inclusion, no matter who you are.

“I think really sticking with it and playing even just 15 minutes every day really helps,” Lydia said. “It has a little bit of a mental boost too, because it gives you something to do every day, just going back to your island [and] talking to your villager friends.”