Finding creativity in the Animal Crossing community isn’t difficult. Since the game was first released, players have amazed us with their 5-star islands, amazing custom designs, and creative ways to create entire buildings using panels and other items.
User-generated content has been keeping Animal Crossing New Horizons running since the game’s updates ended after the last 2.0 update. While players would love to see Nintendo dropping more content into the game, it’s clear that new content isn’t coming to New Horizons.
With the final version of the game, a major pain point for the community is the lack of minigames and things to do together online. Fortunately, players have taken the issue into their own hands and are creating their own games for others to play with.
I previously wrote about how content creators are using the terraforming tools in Animal Crossing New Horizons to change the multiplayer scene, but that only took me down the rabbit hole of online gaming and the communities built around Animal Crossing.
Animal Crossing New Horizons Giving Tree is a group on Facebook dedicated to making all things free and all things fun. As much as Animal Crossing’s popularity has waned in the early days of the pandemic, members of this group still post in-game giveaways on a daily basis.
This is where I met Dee, the creator of two islands devoted entirely to minigames where players can compete for tons, and I mean tons, of prizes. Everyone who visits his islands can expect the variety of games designed by him to fill their pockets with gifts and their hearts with pure joy.
Some of these games range from classics like Yahtzee and Connect Four to the unique mazes and races they’ve designed. It actually takes you back to the days of Tortimer Island in Animal Crossing New Leaf where you can play a variety of minigames with friends online. This is a feature that has really been missed.
Dee first started playing New Horizons in June 2020 and initially played the game with her nine-year-old to teach her to read. She’s retired due to Parkinson’s, but Animal Crossing turned out to be an opportunity to join the community and give back in some way:
“Since I am no longer able to work outside the home, or even volunteer outside the home, it gives me a sense of fulfillment that I am able to help people even when they are virtual. However What’s more, especially in the last two years, there are so many people who have downtime, depression, mental health problems due to covid and they are laid off. People know they can come, relax They can have fun, they can laugh.”
– D “A De Rainville”
The Giving Tree Group on Facebook was the perfect platform for them to get involved and build things for a community from the comfort of their own home. She joined in March of 2021, but made a big impression by being invited to join the mod team by the following month. Dee was quick to make friends and brought a fun and creative energy to the gifts she hosted on her island.
Initially, she invited players to spin a wheel for a chance at different prizes, but she quickly grew tired of the simplicity and wanted to build more games around the idea. He begins turning Serenity into an island full of minigames and challenges for anyone to win the prize.
He had to quickly work on a maze that traversed through lovely scenes and rewards the players at the end when they finished. However this game was not enough and he started filling his island with more and more games and more ways for players to earn rewards:
“It took me about 2 weeks, but it took a lot of time to set it up initially. That was only for about 5 games. As it progressed and I added more games, I had to tear them down and reinstall them somewhere else. Had to build from and adjust the entire layout of the island. Initially it only took me 2 weeks to run through Tom Nook’s loans and upgrade everything.
– D “A De Rainville”
I had the chance to spend time on the Game Zone and try out many of the available games with other members of The Giving Tree community. Immediately, it was easy to see how agile and loving the group they had formed.
When we all went to the island to play together, I was met with excited chatter, stories of each other hitting the nets and some inspiring renditions of John Denver’s Leaving on a Jet Plane. As you can imagine, Animal Crossing fans are just as fascinating as the game itself.
The Game Zone has 20 games on the island and I had a chance to try six of them during my visit. We played Musical Cubes, Tic Tac Toe, Connect Four, Master Meals, Light the Way, and what is tentatively called Let’s Make a Deal.
Some of these games are familiar games that have been translated into Animal Crossing. Musical Cubes play like musical chairs, and Tic Tac Toe and Connect Four play like the same game of the same name.
Master Meal and Light the Way are completely original ideas with fun challenges that encourage friendly competition between friends. These are really unique games that really had to take into account how the game could be designed within New Horizons.
Master Meal challenges players to make four dishes and serve them at their table, before the other three can complete the same task. Players choose one recipe at a time, run to the store room to collect ingredients, then head to the kitchen to cook.
Each recipe uses a different amount of ingredients so players are stuck waiting for some of the ingredients to be freed during cooking. It’s fast and busy and players can really feel the stress of being in the kitchen during the lunch rush.
Light the Way is a four-person race where players are awarded points for not only completing the fastest race but also for turning on their lights along the way for extra points. Everyone is assigned a color and there are light-up blocks to keep the lights on throughout the course.
Players race to turn off the lights of others, making sure to turn on their own lights. On top of that, they’ll also have to grab some goodies along the way in an attempt to get a special item that will grant them extra points.
The game actually revealed some of New Horizons’ design quirks when they were testing. When players are seated at the cube light, the player next to them cannot turn the light on or off. However, if both players are sitting on cubes next to each other, they can turn the lights on and off while they are sitting.
There were a lot of neat discoveries as these games were built and tested with the community in mind, which needs to be taken into account when playing with others. Another example involved new die items in the game.
When a dice is rolled, it will show numbers from one to six. When players return to discard the dice, they are reset to one for the player who left and returned. You had to be careful and make sure the judge was always in sight of the dice to confirm the numbers rolled.
We really experienced this with the in-game spinning wheels. Players moving away from the wheel did not see the correct color that was spun by the player as it was reset to the default starting colour.
Dee has a natural knack for his inventions and doesn’t seem to have had much of a problem making the games on the island. After a few rounds of testing, he is able to quickly fix games and make them work for his audience.
It’s worth noting that prizes are a great attraction of playing with a group. Everyone can expect to fill their pockets and return with an enormous amount of bells, rare crafting materials, and an assortment of great items that can be hard to find.
I actually had to put some of my crafting stuff in my pocket to reap the rewards available. Luckily, the bells can be deposited in ABD so you can make more room for the other prizes you’ve won, she explained:
“ABDs (automatic bell dispensers) really helped a lot because of the number of bells players win when they come into play. I’ve set up ABDs around both the game zone and Serenity islands, I have ones where players can easily collect their bells and lighten their pockets a bit when they’re on their way back to their island with their prizes. can. ,
– D “A De Rainville”
This brings us to the topic of updates. Dee noted that the update includes a lot of new items, which not only made it convenient for players to collect their bells, but also improved the games. Both the previously mentioned dice and cubes were added during the 2.0 update to New Horizons in November 2021.
Originally, I had musical stumps. Once the cubes came out, I was able to incorporate the cubes and make it a little more colorful and fun. Light the Way is a complete game that is basically built around cubes. As you watch as you play, you have 11 cubes of four players and each player has a different cube.
– D “A De Rainville”
While the update didn’t include a built-in minigame island or an online minigame mode for players, it’s nice to hear that the update provided more tools to make your island game dreams come true. Sadly, Nintendo announced that major content updates are out, so it’s really up to players to take these matters into their own hands.
It was wonderful to explore all of Dee’s creations and it was clear to see that her community really enjoys what she is able to create in Animal Crossing New Horizons. It’s amazing to see players keep bringing new experiences to New Horizons that even Nintendo hasn’t brought to the game.