The past week hasn’t been the easiest. After nearly a month in isolation, the positive effects of being homebound have started to wear off, leaving room for anxious thoughts and habits to take hold. Nevermind that the absence of an hour-long commute equates to enough time for eight full hours of sleep every night and some light experimentation with breakfast smoothies in the morning: I am shopping in binges, I have medication lost somewhere in the United States Postal System, and my household is running on a supply of two rolls of Scott toilet paper whose inadequacy I am forced to revere.
Fortunately, I have no desire to face those issues, or to do anything else beneficial for myself in any way, other than play Animal Crossing. As many people have been made acutely aware (certainly anyone who’s been within earshot of myself within the last six months) Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the brand new game from Nintendo that is magically making everyone forget about their billowing depression.
As the newly-anointed Resident Representative of my virtual island, Torbilund, I tell you it is all true. Over the last two weeks, Torbilund, its residents, and its landscape have consumed me in every way. I have found myself booting up the game multiple times throughout the day, craving the feeling of running through a rose-filled field or eating fresh fruit on a whim (It is incredible the amount of visceral pleasure one can derive from watching a digital character scarf down a pear in three crisp bites).
Animal Crossing, in addition to reminding me that there are things such as trees and places and words, has also provided me with a sense of financial comfort and responsibility. In all of the Animal Crossing games I’ve ever played, I have proven more than capable of fiscal responsibility. In Torbilund, for example, I efficiently allocating my money (Bells, if you will) between responsibilities like my home loan and town projects, while still having enough left over to buy every pink item in the entire game. Perhaps Nintendo’s failure to include crippling student debt and medical bills in the Animal Crossing universe is the reason why I can actually manage to have a sizeable-fake savings account.
Meanwhile, in real life, I am much less proud to announce a recent purchase on…