I didn’t play Animal Crossing for a month and came back to an island infested with big bugs
I inadvertently took a month-long hiatus from Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the longest I’ve spent without collecting bells and bugs since before the game’s release in late March. On my return to my island paradise, I discovered (to my horror) that it was infested with insects that I vehemently despise. My daydream of escape is now my personalized nightmare.
Didn’t visit what was once my tropical sanctuary from the start of wedding season until just before swimming was introduced. I logged in once in mid-June to check Pride island, but I didn’t spend time on my own island digging up fossils or picking weeds or watching my villagers. When I returned to Isola Sole on July 1, each of its residents spoke sternly to me – Judy thought I was avoiding her, Hamlet was convinced I was avoiding her training challenge, and Grizzly… well, Grizzly is still being ignored because I want him to walk away.
But the disappointment of my villagers in my absence was nothing compared to the critter infestation I now face every time I log into Animal Crossing: New Horizons. My island belongs to insects now.
Close encounters of the bug genre
The influx of creepy critters is unique to the northern hemisphere islands – the southern hemisphere didn’t have any new bugs in July, and I consider them blessed for that absence. Cicadas, beetles and mosquitoes are everywhere – rattling in the trees, crawling on the ground, following me around to taste my sweet, sweet blood.
The list of new bugs is long, and there are many different variations of the same race buzzing across your islands – you’ve been warned. There are four different types of cicadas (brown, hardy, evening, and giant), as well as cicada shells, which can be found at the foot of trees (more on this later). The high-pitched, siren sounds of the cicadas are compounded by the almost imperceptible vibrations they make when they are resting on the trees – insert the Blathers insect thrill here.
There are 13 different beetles now inhabit the islands of the northern hemisphere and some – like the Miyama deer or the Cyclommatus deer – have gigantic claws that gently flex as you approach. If that didn’t make you crawl enough, there are walking sticks and walking leaves disguised as sticks and leaves.
Mosquitoes have apparently been around since June, but I managed to avoid the blood-sucking bastards until recently. I shook a tree and was simultaneously overrun by wasps and bitten by a solitary mosquito hovering near my head. disgusting.
If I hadn’t already been extremely clear: I don’t like bugs. I can’t see where their creepy compound eyes are looking, so I can’t read where they’re heading and end up bumping into things trying to run away from them. There are few things that scare me more than when you are at an outdoor party chatting with someone and their eyes move away from yours, fixate and linger somewhere near there. ‘one of your ears – the telltale sign that an insect is stealing your head.
I grew up on the outskirts of Long Island, where the biggest bug I ever saw was an Asian longhorn beetle. In the late 90s, they arrived in wood packaging material and crates used to transport goods from East Asia and began to decimate all the hardwoods. We had to spray our backyard full of pesticides several summers in a row for the cheeky buggers. But all I remember is the time I ran over one of them with my Barbie car and it cracked like fucking tortilla chips. And his bowels? No, we won’t discuss it.
Then there are the cicadas, which occupy a special, dark space in my psyche. You see, my uncle Joey is chaos embodied; he will do anything for a laugh or a challenge or just to cheer you up. It wasn’t until I reloaded Animal Crossing after almost a month away that I discovered an Uncle Joey prank that I had buried in my subconscious. On a hot 1998 summer day, Uncle Joey saw me peek at the empty cicada envelopes in the garden, which remain perched on the trees after being lost like some sort of Pompeii cicada.
” You know what it is ? he asked, pulling a cicada shell from the tree and holding it between his tattooed fingers. “They are good snacks.” Then he put the seashell in his mouth, chewed it enthusiastically between his teeth, and swallowed it with a sip worthy of a particularly crass Nickelodeon cartoon.
Now you can see why I considered burning my whole island and hopefully the smoke clears it as soon as I see a cicada shell.