The Days of Our Animals

I didn’t expect the world the US to still be a burning pile of tires here, in August, but here we are. How have you been coping? Me? I’ve become deeply invested in the lives of a bunch of pixel animals and their fictional dramas.

Yeah, I’m talking about Animal Crossing: New Horizons, because that is how I have been getting through the days and nights of life during this trying time. This is my first real game from the franchise. I played Pocket Camp for a little while (and re-downloaded it long enough to get the exclusive items for New Horizons and damn, has it gotten micro-transactiony), but I don’t really count that one as a true Animal Crossing experience.

I delight in how beautiful this game is. There is meticulous detail in so many things. The first time that I actually docked my Switch and played on television, I sat and just stared at the flowers for several minutes, just marveling over how lovely that they looked. As for the rest of it, I obsess over how much my animals like me. My best friends are a small squirrel with a unibrow, a blue unicorn horse, and a cat with heterochromia. I have become utterly charmed by a zebra horse called Savannah, who keeps refusing to love me. My fairy godmother is an alligator who resembles a wealthy widow in both looks and personality. I have taken as a mentor an octopus that resembles a snack:

© Nintendo РI realize that Zucker is meant to resemble takoyaki, but my first thought was that he looked like fried ice cream. My apologies.

Indeed, Zucker. Let all of us yell “bloop” hard today.

And you know, sometimes that’s what it’s taken for me to get through the day. The idea that this shall be the day that I, too, will go hard. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I try.

To say that I am obsessed would be a gross understatement. Sometimes the only reason that I wake up and keep going is the fact that I don’t want my beloved animal friends to miss me. It’s been a very therapeutic experience. I will take any light that I can find in this dark place, and this game has been a huge ball of sunshine for me. Further, this game has managed to enrich my life in other ways, namely in allowing me to connect with people both already in my life, and utter strangers that I may chat with one time.

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Spreading (And Eventually Curing) The Virus

My husband is a board game enthusiast. He’s really fond of hobby games. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s a broad descriptor for those expensive board games that you might have seen in places like Barnes and Noble. We’re not talking about Scrabble, or any of the myriad Monopoly games. These are games that can take hours to play. We used to play regularly with another couple, but we had a pretty major falling-out with them a few years ago and haven’t had any “board game” friends since.

Well. Being who he is, Mr. Price has infectedintroduced a new set of friends to the world of hobby games. This all started with¬†Escape Room in a Box: The Werewolf Experiment. Having observed our friends’ enjoyment with that game, Mr. Price decided to attempt to ease our friends a little further into the world of hobby games with one of the best introduction games: Ticket to Ride.

The game has a deceptively simple premise. One is given tickets, which are routes that you must complete with your tiny plastic trains. You complete these routes by drawing color cards that line up with various lines between major cities. Any routes that you do not complete by the end of the game result in negative points. As I said, it’s deceptively simple. Children can play the game. However, a ton of strategy comes into play. I’ve had to make backup plans for my backup plans in past games. We ended up playing this game with our friends during the last two weekends. After the first game, our friends enjoyed the game so much that they both bought the mobile version. Last weekend, we played twice. One of them solidly trounced both Mr. Price and myself. We’re planning to go a little further and introduce them to Pandemic, which is a cooperative game. It’s you and your compatriots versus the game itself, which intends to destroy the world. It’s kind of like a reverse Plague Inc. (where you play as the plague which aims to destroy the world, and which I’m terribly fond of…I’m not certain what that says about me).

It’s been a ton of fun, and I hope that they catch the bug a little bit stronger than they already have. It would be nice for Mr. Price’s enormous collection of games to finally get some usage. Plus, we all know how much I love sharing the things that I love. It’s pretty much my rasion d’etre these days. Hopefully, within a few weeks, I can report back on our attempt to save the world from an unknown plague.