“Animal Crossing” is taking over my life

Don’t play a game called Animal Crossing: New Leaf. You will fall behind in school, you will lose touch with the outside world, you will lose contact with your friends, your social life will deteriorate. And you will love it.

Instead of doing my homework, I spend my time doing mundane tasks for my villagers such as getting fruit from a tree or delivering packages from one anthropomorphic life-sucker to the next.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released for the 3DS in June of 2013, and it was the only reason I even bought a 3DS. I spent about three months from the beginning of June until the end of August playing the game religiously. And then I lost the cartridge.

It was a tragedy, except maybe it wasn’t. I spent the rest of my summer doing more productive and grown-up things like taking out the garbage and growing a beard.

I found it again after cleaning out my room in April. I took a look under the long- forgotten underside of my bed and there it was, in all of its glory: the game that ruined my life. I picked it up and stared at it for a few seconds. My grown-up self had left, and all I could think was, “Oh no, here
we go again” and “Clear my schedule, Barbara, I’ve got important business to attend to.”

It was 11 p.m. on a Sunday; there was loads of homework piled up next to my computer, I had yet to eat dinner and the phone had been ringing for like an hour, but I didn’t care. I was playing Animal Crossing. 

Now for those who have never played this game, it begins with you becoming the mayor of a town you’ve just arrived in. A charming dog named Isabelle greets you as soon as you step off your train and hands you the title. There is no refusing. You are the mayor now and you will like it.

Being the mayor of a town full of lazy animals who can’t seem to shake a fruit tree to save their lives comes with many responsibilities, including raising the funds for town improvement projects on your own.

To fundraise, you have to catch beetles on the newly introduced tropical island. This would be relatively easy if it weren’t for the fact that these beetles are equipped with state of the art motion sensors (and probably laser eyes) and will fly away if you try to get anywhere in their vicinity while walking any faster than two steps per minute. Oh, you were running and you didn’t see hat beetle until it flew away? Too bad, it’s gone and you’ve just lost 12,000 bells and most likely your firstborn child.

The problem with this game is that it’s fun even when you don’t have any money. Your villagers don’t care if you’re broke; all they care about is if you have the fruit they asked you for.

The villagers will invite you over and even invite themselves over to your house at all hours. Your villagers don’t care that you’ve got soccer practice in 10 minutes, all they care about is making sure that you have as little time as possible to do anything but talk to them. I often find myself saying things like, “No, I can’t empty the dishwasher, Molly just invited me over to her house and I can’t just leave her alone like this, Mom,” or “I’ve been underwater for 20 seconds chasing this lobster, Mom, I’m not giving up now.”

On top of all this, the villagers even have the gall to ask if you’re okay if you’ve been playing for “too long.”

Am I okay? Am I okay? I’ve been playing this game for two hours, I’ve caught 300,000 bells worth of beetles, paid off two of my mortgages and you’re asking me if I’m “okay?”

The answer is always yes.

– By Sawyer Davis