The 21st is the first

Screenshot of Amazon order page. "Now expected 21 March - 23 March"

Today is the 21st of March — my first day in Animal Crossing: New Horizons! I didn’t start on the 20th because my Amazon order was delayed by a day, presumably due to the coronavirus pandemic. Understandable.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons game box.

To much joy, my copy of the game did arrive nice and early on the 21st (well, before I awoke…) and in fine condition.

I will not be time-travelling in my town, as I don’t believe that is how Animal Crossing is supposed to be played, even if time-travelling can skip past some of the frustrating waiting around near the start, such as buildings taking a day to be built. So I guess I’ll lag a little behind everyone who started on the 20th (especially those who started playing at midnight), and way behind reviewers who received early copies. But that’s okay — it just means I know what’s ahead!

My experience began the same way as everyone’s, so I won’t go into tremendous detail with it. About the only interesting part of this was I initially told Timmy and Tommy I live elsewhere (as opposed to Europe — the other option). To my knowledge, this question only exists for deciding whether your island is in the northern hemisphere or the southern hemisphere, but maybe it also affects events and the likes. I think they’re onto the fact I’m an outlaw!

"Oh! Ha ha! Seems like a lot of folks live 'elsewhere.'"

When given the choice of which island I’ll pick, I had to choose the fourth and final option. Which map you choose doesn’t make the greatest amount of difference, as they are all generated from the same criteria. Notice how each choice has three areas split by rivers and two ponds. The terraforming option that unlocks later in the game also makes this decision a little less important. However, I chose this one because of the fact the plaza is most centred.

"Choose your island" selection screen.

When asked what I would bring to a deserted island, I chose “a lamp”. I know the definition can be a bit vague, but I typically think of a lamp as requiring a power source, as opposed more portable solutions — a torch or lantern. As we know, deserted islands have no electricity. It is my goal with this playthrough to try and convince all the animals that I am retarded.

Timmy asks "If you could only bring ONE thing to a deserted island, what would it be?" - I answer with "A lamp."

However, it was revealed this was only a hypothetical question! It was soon time for boarding. Fun Fact: You can skip the opening video by pressing the + button. It’s not much more than a minute long, so I’m not sure why you’d want to.

"Oh! I'm sorry, that was just a hypothetical question."

I was greeted at this deserted island’s airport by two bizarre creatures. I’m reluctant to call them animals. Speaking of which, why does this island have an airport? What kind of deserted island has an airport?! C’mon!

Sterling says "We gotta get a move on! C'mon"

I proceeded to wander around my island a bit, but there’s not much you can do before attending the meeting at the plaza other than shake trees. You can’t even pick up items. So, I attended the plaza meeting and was welcomed to deserted island life by Tom Nook, Timmy and Tommy.

Tom Nook welcomes everyone to their new island.

I was tasked with setting up my tent, and helping the two other villagers find their ideal location. I personally went with just south of the plaza for the sake of convenience. For the two villagers, I just let them set up their tents where they were thinking of doing so. It’s none of my business to go telling people where to go!

"I set up my tent! That's a big first step!"

After that was all sorted, Tom Nook wanted me to fetch 10 tree branches for the campfire. This didn’t even really involve any running around, as I was playing on version 1.0.0 of the game. I avoided updating, because I heard this version allows you to get infinite branches per tree, unlike version 1.1.0. I put this to the test by giving a single tree the shaking of a lifetime, and it seems to hold up. However, later in the day I updated to version 1.1.0, which behaved exactly the same way. This is what happens when you trust random internet people.

A tree being shaken, with many branches underneath it.

I also decided to scavenge all the resources on my island I could find. This mostly involved picking weeds, and boy were there a lot of them!

My inventory, containing almost 500 weeds, among other things.

Tom Nook was happy with my tree branches. He was convinced the cherries on this island are cherries, and wanted me to fetch some. However, thanks to my valiant gathering efforts, I was already kitted with plenty of cherries!

"...Oh, what's this? You've already collected enough cherries for everyone, have you?"

After this was said and done, we enjoyed some cherry juice. Fine, at least it’s not pear juice. It was time to name the town. I chose “NX Land”. I get a fair amount of flak for my town naming conventions, as I roll with the system I’m playing on, plus “Land”. “Switch Land” would have been over the 10 character limit. “SwitchLand” would have worked, but looks a little cramped. As such, I went with “NX Land”, NX being the codename for the Nintendo Switch before it was announced. My suggestion was so fantastic that it won.

Everyone shouts their island name suggestions.

After being made Resident Representative of NX Land, it was time to return to my act (it’s just an act, right?) of being a birdbrain by quite literally saying “a word or two”.

Tom Nook says "James, could you please say a word or two as the new spokesperson for your neighbors?" I reply "A word or two."

Once that was all said and done, it was time to catch some Zs. Tom Nook very generously provided me with an uncomfortable-looking camping cot, which was comfortable enough to immediately fall asleep on after a long day’s work. Though I could have done with a duvet and pyjamas!

"I'm getting sleepy..."

In fact, I was so tired after a long day’s work that I dreamt about K.K. Slider. That sounds about right. I got some serious GameCube vibes from this, even if K.K. Slider’s design has been tweaked a little since then.

K.K. Slider in a dark room with spotlight. "That's all the way right, daddio. You don't need to live by anyone's rules but your own."

After awaking from an incredibly deep (but somewhat disturbing) sleep, I was greeted by none other than the man himself: Tom Nook, of course. He provided me with a NookPhone, which somehow gets fine reception despite there not being a cell tower in sight. He asked if I’ve ever used a smartphone before, to which I replied that I haven’t. I only just spawned into existence today, Mr Nook!

"Is that so? How wonderful of you! I daresay, you seem especially well suited for life on this rustic island."

That cheeky blighter then dared to bill me for the whole deserted island getaway package! However, I am completely bankrupt. 0 Bells. Fortunately, he was kind enough to let me pay with 5,000 Nook Miles instead of 49,800 Bells, which I also have none of.

"Would you believe it? It only comes to...5,000 miles!"

I realised I’d received a letter from Nintendo, which unfortunately will not have been written by Reggie Fils-Aimé. They sent me a DIY recipe for a simple DIY workbench, which is much appreciated. Not that I could remember it, of course. I’m too thick to just refer to the card the recipe is written on whenever I want to craft a workbench.

"Is this a DIY recipe? I wonder how I can memorize it..."

I got a little distracted with the shiny new NookPhone. Lots of apps and presumably no privacy.

I tested the Rescue Service, which normally costs 100 Nook Miles, but it’s free if you don’t have the Miles to cover the cost. It dumps you at the plaza.

Rescue Service Operator says over the phone "Sheesh! Ain't you a piece of work? OK... Seeing as this is an emergency, I'll cover ya. No charge!"

The Passport was mildly interesting, seeing as you can take a passport photo anytime, anywhere. Naturally, I chose to update my passport photo by standing behind a tree. I don’t think this meets passport regulations, somehow!

My Animal Crossing: New Horizons passport.

I won’t drag out this blog entry too much with all the other apps. The Map was a map. I looked at Custom Designs, and was pleased to see you can have 50 designs (with transparency, unlike previous entries), but I’m no artist. The Camera is what it is. Probably the Nook Miles objectives will be most useful going forward.

Before ending for the day, I decided it was time to pay Resident Services a visit. Inside, Tom Nook offered to sign me up to his DIY workshop. I made a fishing rod, and just like that he installed an app on my NookPhone without even touching it.

"I made a flimsy fishing rod!"

I also spoke with Timmy and had a look at the Nook Stop machine, before heading to the airport. Being the first day and all, it’s understandable that this deserted island’s airport isn’t quite ready for business yet, though they do have a nice building by deserted island standards.

Orville says "Hang on a sec—how'd you get in here? Coulda swore I locked the front door..."

After talking to the villagers and unlocking the leaf umbrella recipe from them, I headed back to the Resident Services and showed Tom Nook a tiger butterfly I caught during my outing. He sent it off to his museum friend, and I unlocked the Critterpedia app. It’s a bit barren at the moment, but I’m confident I’ll be able to fill it up if given time!

The Critterpedia interface, with only a butterfly to show.

At this point, I took it upon myself to catch all the bugs and fish I could! My flimsy tools kept breaking, but that was no deterrent! After handing a total of five bugs and fish to Tom Nook, he contacted Blathers. I picked a place for Blathers to set up tent, and he will move in tomorrow!

"Blathers can set up his place now!"

In order to unlock more stuff, I felt it necessary to begin earning some Bells. After all, a balance of nil won’t get me anywhere! I turned my weeds into leaf umbrellas to sell and sold duplicate bugs and fish in order to rack up enough of a balance to purchase a few things.

An inventory full of weeds and leaf umbrellas. Selling the leaf umbrellas to Timmy.

From here, I gathered the materials required to craft a slingshot, which eventually did get put to use.

I also managed to get my 5,000 Miles debt paid off! This unlocked the Miles Redemption Service, the option to get a house built and consequently to get entered into the Nook Mileage Program.

Tom Nook says "Yes, yes... You're free and clear of debt, living on a thriving scenic island... What could be better?"
Free and clear of debt, for not even five minutes.

I updated my game to version 1.1.0 and received a life ring from Nintendo for doing so.

Letter from Nintendo. It reads: "Thank you for downloading the update. We'd like to give you a present to show our appreciation. Please keep an eye out for future updates as well!"

This is where I’ll have to leave things for today. Hopefully this blog post wasn’t a complete waste of time. If it was, odds are the future ones will also be wastes of time!

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