The Animal Crossing Puppy Plushies Lured Me Back to the Game

Before Animal Crossing: New Horizons released, I had endless fantasies about how I’d play the game. I used island editors and graph paper to come up with the perfect island design. I spent literal hours researching villagers and personality types, trying to find the perfect balance for my island.

But more than anything else, I daydreamed about how this time, things would be different. I wouldn’t abandon my town and leave it to get infested by weeds. I’d actually finish my museum. This time, I thought, I’d manage to stick with the game for a year or more.

Then quarantine hit, and for a few months, New Horizons was the only thing keeping me sane. Animal Crossing has always been addictive, but this time, my obsessions hit new heights. I left the game running while I worked so that I could listen for balloons. I spent literal hours (and dozens of Nook Mile tickets) hopping from island to island trying to find Raymond. I played Animal Crossing whenever I had my hands free, and when I wasn’t playing, I was watching Animal Crossing streams.

Unsurprisingly, devoting every waking hour to New Horizons left me feeling pretty burnt out on Animal Crossing. I spent a little time enjoying the summer updates, and I thought about checking out the Halloween event, but I just didn’t it in me to return to my island. I didn’t want to hear about how much my villagers had missed me. I wasn’t willing to deal with my lack of storage. Even with new content, playing the game felt like a chore.

Those feelings started to fade, however, when I saw the winter update announcement. The game was finally adding more storage! I could do yoga and exercise alongside my villagers! I could even sit on the ground! I wasn’t ready to take the plunge quite yet, but it was enough to make me tempted.

And then I saw the new puppy plushies, which you can from Nook’s Cranny starting on December 1st. These toys — which move around like real puppies — are so cute, so cuddly, so collectible that I couldn’t resist going back to Animal Crossing. The plushies are gated behind the real-world date, which means you can’t access them even if you time travel, but you can get a sneak peek in this picture from reddit user lilgthing.

I have yet to go back to my original New Horizons island — I’m worried about how Sherb’s holding up in my absence — but I started a brand-new Southern Hemisphere island on my Switch Lite. This time, I’m going to take it slow, enjoy island life, and collect every single one of those adorable puppy plushies.

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