Thoughts on Animal Crossing

What do anthropomorphic animals on an island tell us about God? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A friend recently gave me a gift of $100 to the Nintendo Eshop and wanted me to choose what to get. My wife has been playing Animal Crossing and asked me to play with her. Now this isn’t my type of game I think, but I want to do more things with my wife. I get the game.

Allie has tried to get me into Harvest Moon and honestly, that one just didn’t click with me. I was thinking more of the same. I normally play RPG games or things of that sort. I grew up on Mario and Zelda and Metroid and later on, games like Final Fantasy and Dragon Warrior, which is now Dragon Quest.

So in the midst of our playing Pokemon together, Allie wants me to try Animal Crossing. Before too long though, I find myself being caught in this world. Last night I started really thinking about it. What is it that makes this world so special that Animal Crossing was a big sell, especially when so many of us were quarantined? Granted, it’s not for everyone….

Okay. So as the photo says, you start the game on this island and your goal is to build it up. Your first encounter is with a guy named Tom Crook…errr….Nook. He keeps charging you more and more for things he gives you which gives you a taste of progression. Once you pay off one debt, there’s another one and it’s bigger.

But at the same time, you’re expanding more and more. There is a museum on the island where you can bring in bugs, fish, and fossils. Later on, artwork becomes a part of it. There are planes whereby you can fly to other islands, which are either random ones made by the game or ones where other players, mainly friends, live.

Throughout, you gather resources. Some of these can be used to make tools like fishing rods and axes and nets and other things for collecting and practical use. Some of them are just things for beautification. Build some furniture and put it in your house.

So what are some things that I think make this so popular that even someone like me enjoys it?

Let’s start with a simple thing. Creativity. There is something nice about making something. Many a mother knows that getting a Mother’s Day card is nice on Mother’s Day, but getting one that is made instead of bought is even nicer even if the quality is less.

Now there are guys like me that can’t make a thing to save their lives, but there is something nice about gathering wood and iron and other things and using them all to make things. When we create, we are essentially doing the work of God. We are creating things after Him, the original creator.

Beauty is another one. Catching a fish and some butterflies reveals often times many beautiful creatures. Flowers are often planted on an island for no purpose other than beauty.

We live in a culture that often thinks beauty is relative. No Christian should ever think such a thing. None of us should say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is in the object itself.

When a player decorates their house just for aesthetic reasons or plants flowers just for such a reason, then they are showing that they believe in beauty. They anticipate that any player who comes to their island will think that it is beautiful as well. Let’s face it. We all like to look at beautiful things. Many times driving with Allie, I will look over at her and just think that I am amazed I have such a beautiful woman as my wife.

Lastly, there’s progression. We all like having goals that we can reach. In this case, it’s paying off debts and building a better environment for you and others to live in. Reaching a goal gives a sense of accomplishment.

Many of us know this in real life. We want to be praised when we do something well. We want to be celebrated when we hit plateaus. If you’re dieting and you lose a certain number of pounds, you want to celebrate. We celebrate graduating from high school and college. We celebrate birthdays.

The idea of progress really is a very Christian idea. Many worldviews in the ancient world were cyclical. History would repeat again and again. Judaism and later Christianity said that history started somewhere and it is going somewhere and there is no repeating of it. We take this for granted today, but it really was quite different for its time.

So those are some reasons why I have found myself enjoying this. If you play also, send me a message on Facebook with your code. Maybe we can visit each other virtually. Now if you’ll excuse me, my blog is done so I have some checking to do on my island.

In Christ,
Nick Peters