Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, much like the entire franchise, is all about spending time in a game while doing your own thing at your own pace. While, sure, some may take the experience as something goal-oriented in that every play session accomplishes something. But, for the most part, the entire series is all about finding an escape in a virtual space.
For a game that is seemingly chill, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is still a game that has dichotomy to player actions. Specifically, by being an abundant source of reward to active players and being slightly punitive to those who are not. The latter of which makes for a special interest as it concerns players who may or may not return to the game.
At nearly five months old since its release back in March, seeing players suddenly going MIA is nothing surprising now. Hardly, after all, is there a game that could last people’s attention that long. That is, without them ever entertaining the idea of taking a break or leaving for good. However, those who do the former are in for a “special treat” upon their return.
Where have you been?
Being a semi-simulation game, New Horizons features a system where certain dynamics apply even in the absence of the player. Returning players after some time of hiatus should be witness to this notion as the gnarly changes are laid bare to them.
One of the most visible changes with the island would be the presence of weeds, especially in the undeveloped areas. Which, intuitively enough, unlike other plants, is not dependent on personal tending. Hence, their inevitable presence after the player got absent for a little too long.
The trees would also appear to be burgeoning with fruits or, in the case of money trees, bags of cash hanging from the branches. While this is not technically punitive, but rather the opposite is still worth mentioning.
Going into the beach, one can also expect a litter of seashells that almost matches the number of the grain of sands—obviously, an exaggeration.
Dig spots, marked by the presence of dozens of cross-hatches, are also popping more in the island, too.
Yet, More Changes
Other notable alterations take place in the player’s abode. Particularly, with the presence of unwanted guests who seemingly made their way into the hall of the home—the cockroaches. This, in addition to the equally visible knotty bedhead.
If those modifications were not pressing enough, then probably the majority of villagers whom you missed on for so long would be. What for their statements that boil down to a single, common theme—your “long” absence in the game.
Then, let us also not forget the always watching Happy Home Academy whose undying task of overseeing your island’s progress is enough to warrant you a C-rating. Fortunately, not going lower than a grade C if you left your island in a well enough disposition.
Overall, the repercussion of abandoning your island is not that destructive so as to push people to continue playing beyond personal will.
Image used courtesy of Chiken Crossing/YouTube Screenshot