Tuesday, March 5, 2024

My Animal Crossing Neighbours Missing Me Gave Me All The Serotonin I Need

Is there anything we need more in the world right now than serotonin? I think not! And thankfully, after 4 months away from my furry, feathery, and whatever else, friends, my Animal Crossing neighbours were more than willing to give me a welcome home that I deserved.

It’s no secret that your Animal Crossing neighbours will miss you when you’re gone. It’s been a well-known fact since the game came out earlier this year thanks to players using time travel to find out the difference. Some have been gone for only a measly three weeks, others two months, and even a year! Honestly, you folks just love to make your neighbours suffer, huh!

For me it was just a little over 4 months, and well, 4 months of not going on Animal Crossing truly feels more like 4 years. I can’t remember anything about my plans, or why my island looks like a toddler designed it, or why Lucy the pig still won’t bugger off after me hitting her with a net a few times. Everything is confusing, and I’m not sure what to do. I’m not all that creative, and the task of re-designing everything sounds exhausting…

But none of that matters by the time I’ve killed all the cockroaches in my house and have stepped out into the big, cold world of my Animal Crossing island. All that matters is my best mate, gorilla Al is the very first of my neighbours to come visit me. He only wants to show me a reaction and doesn’t mention my disappearance at all, but that somehow felt rather wholesome to me. Al is just that sort of himbo, isn’t he? He doesn’t care that you’ve been gone for 4 months – he just wants to show you the coollest stuff when you’ve got back. Did I cry a little? Yeah, not gonna lie.

After tearing up over seeing this big, idiot gorilla, I decided to go visit my other neighbours. Lucy is still around – gave her a good ol’ whack to say hello – and so is Bea. Not my favourite neighbours to be honest, but them being happy to see me put a spring in my step. From there on, I went on to go find my real favourite neighbours and see what they had to say about my absence.

I won’t bore you with the details of each individual visit – they all had me feeling a little teary. But it was finally meeting Fuchsia my favourite villager, that nearly had me crying to myself with my covers up to my chin and snot all over me.

“Welcome home!” was one of the things Fuchsia said to me, and it made my heart swell. Despite being home nearly all the time since March lockdown, it was this little pink deer that hammered home the realization that the people I miss the most are my friends. They are more than my friends, they’re my home, the people I can be wholly myself around with no fear of judgment and I miss them so much. I want to hug them and be around them, and just look at them.

Instead of doing all of those things, I log onto Animal Crossing and talk to my neighbours. It isn’t the same, not by a long shot, but the presence of fictional characters has become the salve that I’ve needed in this tumultuous year.

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart is Editor-in-Chief of Gayming Magazine. She specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.