The sun was shining softly through the cherry-dotted trees as I stepped out of my home, patted my gyroid assistant on its wooden-topped head with a cheery “Good morning” and stepped into town. This was la vita nuova – a new life, free from Astrid! The malevolent kangaroo had upped sticks to the neighbouring town of Serenity, and now—
“Good morning, my pet! You haven’t forgotten me, I just know it!”
I’m not ashamed to say that I had a mild panic attack. Wondering if Robin had somehow used treachery, a glitch or some sort of voodoo curse to return the witch to my village, I mumbled my way through a minimal amount of conversation and before calling up the map. Fortunately, there was no new cottage to be seen – Astrid was merely visiting, her decision to reappear so soon surely being one born from a desire to torment my soul and shatter my sanity. She—ooh, candy!
Yes, it was time for the daily jaunt to Nook’s shop. On the run-up to Hallowe’en, the fuzzy fellow’s replaced his usual selection of trees and flowers. (Supplanted, perhaps. A-ha, a-ha.) In their place are large, inviting orange sweets; bigger than my character’s head and almost certain to induce instant diabetes, they’re the perfect gift to give villagers who come trick-or-treating – if you don’t mind their absence in future years , given the potential lethal sugar intake you’re bestowing.
While packing my basement to the brim with candy I’ve also been engaged in a more tedious, yet necessary, renovation. In earlier entries I talked at length about the fossils I was finding – well, it had become apparent in recent weeks that the supply was drying up.
The problem, it seems, is that a fossil – once placed in the landscape – remains there indefinitely until it’s discovered, and it won’t necessarily appear in a place that’s visible to you, what with the game’s fixed viewpoint and all. Hidden behind tree trunks, obscured by villagers’ houses – if you stick to the obvious fossils and don’t go digging around blindly, before long the odds will turn against you and all of your buried treasure will be somewhere out of sight.
My solution: BLOW UP THE WORLD. My slightly-more feasible solution: chop down and replant as many trees as possible – converting them into valuable fruit trees while I’m about it – and replanting them in a latticework that makes them easy to see behind. (Buildings, meanwhile, get flowers planted behind them, meaning that the hidden spaces are no good for fossils.)
Tedious work and, as with so much in Animal Crossing, best tackled by doing a little every day. It can also be rather dangerous, as trees sometimes contain beehives that don’t appreciate the delicate touch of an axe blade. It’s worth it, though, as trawling through the acres of my village allows me to search for each day’s magic rock.
One rock each day will, for reasons best left to geologists, give out a moneybag when struck. Get enough whacks in with a shovel and more valuable money bags will spew forth along with, bizarrely, the Mario 1-Up sound.
There’s a fair bit of recoil when you do this, and I’m assured that Animal Crossing aficionados like to maximise their profit by digging a lattice of holes around each rock, stopping them from being flung too far. Me, I’m a bit lazy and normally just take what I can get.
Hallowe’en is just around the corner, and certain to provide a more substantial blog update when the spooky shenanigans are over and done with. For now, though, I return to my house – I have a copy of NES Excitebike clutched in my quivering hands thanks to someone burying it at the beach in an act of slightly-unhinged philanthropy – and carefully open another loving missive from my distant parents.
What. What? …WHAT?!