Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a Mean Simulator, Actually

Animal Crossing shows the true colors of humanity. And fictional animals.

You won’t trick me. I see y’all. I see you calling Animal Crossing: New Horizons a Nice and Peaceful and Relaxing Simulator when, in fact, it’s truly a Mean Simulator. I have the evidence to prove it, too.

It started when I asked on Twitter for people to share the lengths they have gone to in order to get their favorite villager to move onto their island. As someone who bought their first Amiibo ever to get my favorite villager and even broke my rule of no time-traveling to get her to move in sooner, I was curious about how far others have gone. I got a few responses, but the reception was fairly muted.

However, the next day, I asked about the lengths people have gone to in order to make a specific villager leave. And people suddenly had so much to say almost immediately. It got me thinking about how we discuss Animal Crossing, largely painting it as a sweet and relaxing experience that makes you feel loved and like you’re part of a community. And that’s not untrue! But, much like the current state of our world, anything that has the potential to show the best of humanity can also show its worst.

And y’all are good at showing your worst to these poor critters.

Bill Wibbly does one (1) questionable thing and suddenly you don’t think he has any rights.

https://elderly-scrolls.tumblr.com/post/614254799885664256/animal-crossing-players-are-like-i-hate-bill

As of the writing of this article, this Reddit thread has almost 36,000 upvotes. That’s not to mention the original tweet, which (again, as of the writing of this article, since I know y’all are going to keep relating to and sharing this tweet) now has almost 75,000 retweets and 500,000 likes.

It do be like that sometimes from r/AnimalCrossing

There’s little pushback; the most up-voted comment is a user saying, “They don’t pay rent regardless. We charge them off of looks.” Multiple users specifically call out Pietro the arguably ugly clown sheep. Many are airing out their grievances towards specific villagers, sharing their reasons for trying to evict them. Sometimes, people have issues with specific villagers’ choices; for example, one user says, “I have Leopold. I don’t mind his looks and personality, but his house is decorated like a classroom. I’m a teacher. AC is a no-work zone. He must pay for his poor decorating choices.” Other times, they’re just not cute enough.

Obviously, aesthetics are entirely subjective and every player is more than in their right to customize their island their way, from the furniture lying on the ground to the inhabitants that give the island life and color. Ugliness could pertain to looks, personality, or both. But the point still stands: your island likely says, “RIP to ugly villagers but I’m different.”

Sometimes, you work in numbers.

You use up your custom patterns to accomplish your goals. You let these animals live rent-free in your heads — and in your DIY custom design spaces.

You’re threatening Tom Nook with his own children/nephews/unrelated work slaves. They pay millions of bells for your nearly rotten turnips and plucked weeds for you to do this to ’em, huh.

You’re even committing murder.

I’m not entirely judging. I’ve been guilty of it myself, too. I’d like to think Zipper deserves it — and maybe there’s a problem with that. With me.

And the funniest thing is to see that it’s not just you or me. Sometimes, we’re the innocent party — and it’s the animals fighting back. It’s not a world in which the nice suffer at the hands of the mean. Turns out that everyone (except Isabelle, of course) is mean.

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It comes as a welcome feature for most long-time Animal Crossing fans, since the last entry, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, received criticism for making its villagers too nice compared to their much more ruthless versions in the first entry and Animal Crossing: Wild World. As unfortunate as this change was for many, it made sense: in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you’re the town’s mayor, and it’s hard to imagine anyone willingly being mean to you unless they want to get kicked out of the village.

But that’s not stopping anyone here. You might be the Resident Representative, but who fucking cares, these animals are thinking. Yeah, you’re the only one who pays for bridges to get built and you’re the one funding the entire island. And what about it?

To show his gratitude over receiving a crown, Elvis the lion gives this person a work shirt as if to say, “Thanks. Now get back to work, Peasant Representative.”

If you end up being chased by wasps, you can run to a villager for help. And they could technically help you. But should they? Frankly, they don’t think so. It’s between you and the wasps. If you get stung, they’ll be nice enough to tell you that you could look worse. Whether they mean a hypothetical worse or that you look worse on an average day is up to you to infer.

Eloise seems to hint at the latter herself, straight up telling someone they should wear a paper bag for everyone else’s sake. You don’t want to be so unpleasantly uncute with your swollen injury in front of everyone, do you?

Phoebe destroyed this person. There’s no other way around it. She clapped back without hesitating for a single moment. She not only named the ugly fish after the player but also gave them a comedian’s shirt without missing a beat. Honestly, she went off so hard that I have to stan. If she did it to me, I’d still stan.

Roald might just be the most famous jock villager in the series, but he kind of deserves to be evicted for this one, not gonna lie. Like, dude.

Drake said sike.

The evidence only continues to mount every second of every day. It’s time we confronted the truth about ourselves and these fictional animals: the truth that the world, and its inhabitants, isn’t so nice. It’s not even that we’re tired of being nice and just want to go ape shit. It’s that we’re not all that nice, to begin with. Animal Crossing: New Horizons isn’t afraid to let us see what we’re capable of — both the good and the bad.

…which is why, honestly, screw it. If these animals aren’t going to donate money to the island’s projects and be rude anyway, just make your town cute and evict whoever you want. Or don’t. It won’t change that Isabelle is the only one among us without sin.

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Natalie Flores

Natalie is Fanbyte's Featured Contributor, with bylines at places like VICE, Polygon, PC Gamer, Paste Magazine, and more.

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