On Monday, I got an email from Nintendo. I only had to read the subject line to know what it was for. It just sat there, taunting me: “Welcome back! Your island misses you.” A normal person might have just deleted it and moved on. Clearly, I am not a normal person. Since then, I’ve been thinking about the villagers I’ve left behind on my now-abandoned Animal Crossing: New Horizons island.
As I’m sure you know, New Horizons was all-encompassing when it was first released earlier this year. Players latched onto it for various reasons, and we played it non-stop, racking up hundreds of hours in the game. Some players have moved onto playing the game at the correct speed, savoring the game and its slow drip of updates. But some of us burned out and haven’t visited since.
This is something I feel guilty about. I got attached to those little critters that populated my island. I spent a lot of time making my home and its surroundings just right. And then ... I left.
Of course, I say all of this jokingly — or, at least, I think it’s that way. I’m not sitting here stewing over whether or not I should boot up New Horizons, but there is a real tinge of guilt somewhere in there. I spent so much time with the game, and now I’ve abandoned it. Digital creatures aren’t actually crying over my disappearance from the island; I don’t feel bad about that. But I do feel some kind of way about how easily I can move on from a game that once, honestly, anchored my life.
And who do I have to thank for taking me down this philosophical rabbit hole? Nintendo, for sending me that goddamn email. Now I’m thinking about loss! Great!
The worst part is, Nintendo is out here sending these emails willy-nilly, without a care in the world. They just want me to play their game again! I’m not the only one who has received The Email. We’re all entering the phase of New Horizons that I’m calling The Guilt Trip.
i just received a “your island misses you” email from animal crossing and my day is ruined— born ruffians (@BornRuffians) September 14, 2020
Nintendo just emailed me and said “your island misses you” ....look Nintendo I left my villagers in animal crossing back before Easter. I’m basically the dad that went to the grocery store for milk and never came back. THEY DONT WANT ME COMING BACK— Super Chan Galaxy (@chantheman1998) September 14, 2020
I already have enough guilt for not going to my imagined Animal Crossing island enough (or at all at this point), now Nintendo is emailing me reminders that I've abandoned all my pals— Magic "Captain Kush" Robot (@LiterallyNoodle) September 15, 2020
Hey! I’m pretty busy, Nintendo, so stop making me feel so guilty about not playing Animal Crossing ... pic.twitter.com/yURLcrvwjk— Leva Bates (@wrestlingleva) September 15, 2020
don't want to explain why i've been gone for months to some mice and a gorilla— joemag (@joemag_games) September 14, 2020
YOU DON'T THINK I KNOW THIS, NINTENDO?! YOU DON'T THINK I'M RIDDLED WITH GUILT EVERY WAKING HOUR OVER HOW I TALKED ALL THESE ANIMALS INTO MAKING THE LIFE-ALTERING DECISION TO MOVE TO MY ISLAND JUST FOR ME TO SUBSEQUENTLY GHOST THEM ALL?! IT'S SO MUCH PRESSURE! LEAVE ME ALONE!! pic.twitter.com/JkUw081pfa— Putting In An Offer For TikTok (@kungfuqua) September 14, 2020
me, logging in to AC after 4 months:— andrei (not the giant) (@canuckesq) September 14, 2020
random villager: HEY IVE MISSED YOU WHAT HAPPENED I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS HA HA I THINK ITS TIME I LEAVE YOU NOW BUCKAROO
Honestly, it’s a phase that we all should be used to by now. Nintendo has a real gift for it. It’s something I’ve experienced for many of the past Animal Crossing games, whether or not the company sent me an email.
New Horizons, however, is the first Animal Crossing game that I got sincerely, deeply attached to. And so that guilt trip? It hits a little harder this time. The thing is, I will be back. I am not going to abandon Sears (that’s my New Horizons island, not the nostalgic department store).
I just need some space. That’s all.