By Carla Bumstead
— It’s Henry. I’m sure. I loved him from the moment we met while I was visiting someone’s island to water their flowers. He’s a frog. I love frogs. He is short, he is green and he will be mine. I know Kelly would much rather I had fallen in love with Rolf the tiger/ snow leopard, but he just didn’t do anything for me.
In case you have absolutely no idea what I am talking about, I am referring to villagers on Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” — the video game that is literally sweeping across the world almost as fast as COVID-19. Heck, it might be even more contagious judging from how hard it is to locate a Switch console (or even a Switch Lite). I could go into a long explanation of what Animal Crossing is, but you could just look it up. Go to Google and type in “ani” and chances are the first result you get will be it. It is that popular.
Animal Crossing features islands that players build up into an animal-villager populated community. You can have an island all to yourself (and just the animals) or you can share an island with members of your family with access to the same Switch device. You can play the game without an internet connection, but the ability to be able to connect with other players on the internet ocean is an extremely fun part of the entire experience. So far, I have made friends with a few people, including a lovely young lady who lives in Seoul, South Korea. Her in-game name is Annie, and she is very close to achieving the highly elusive, self-bred, blue rose. (You can do it girl, water, water, water!) We chat briefly every morning/ evening over coffee.
Now I know some of you may still be under the mistaken impression that video gamers are virtually all teenagers, or immature young adults, shooting their way through armies of zombie robots. (And thus you are wondering what kind of freak I am to be wasting my time on such craziness.) But you are just plain wrong.
The world of video games has changed a lot over the past few years, and many are extremely sophisticated and appeal to a wide range of ages. Most are not violent. Many are highly creative and challenging. Animal Crossing, in my opinion, is nothing short of brilliant. I am having a great deal of fun playing it with both my daughter and my son. I am also trying to talk as many real-life friends as possible into getting the game so they can play with us.
I share my island with my daughter Kelly. This presents both challenges and opportunities. Sometimes we disagree on development and landscaping issues. But we discuss, debate and compromise. For example, she wanted the red Zen bridges, and I wanted to breed every type of flower. I don’t like the red bridges. She is not a flower fan (because she knows I can’t contain myself and the island would soon be overrun with blooms if left to my own devices). So we compromised. She gets the bridges, and I get to breed lilies to my heart’s content. However, only the pink lilies will decorate our island. I’ll sell the other hybrid colors.
But back to the whole frog issue. Our island has an Asian/ Zen theme. Most of our villagers have a similar Asian aesthetic (Drago, June, Pekoe and Genji). We have selected all but one of the ten villagers that will eventually join us. I get the last pick. Kelly would like to see me choose someone who will match our color scheme etc., and apparently Rolf “would look awesome.” But I fell in love with Henry the frog, and he is coming to stay. End of story.
Carla Bumstead’s switch code is 7371-9428-4023. You can find her on the Animal Crossing Discord server via her email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will be offering NMTs for Henry, so if you happen to have him in boxes, let her know asap.