PBR, A Smiling Boy, and Animal Crossing.

Quarantine Blog, Day 4

Well. Here we are again. I’m staring at this blinking cursor trying to think of anything to say.

Today has been a wild day. I took my first trip to a supermarket since this whole thing started, and can I say that…it was not pretty.

There were isles near completely empty, shopping carts toppled over in the clothing section with dry spaghetti spilling onto the tiles, children wandering aimlessly. I watched an older gentleman cough on the ranch section.

But. I’m getting ahead of myself and letting the darkness seep too deeply into the writing.

This blog isn’t about thinking too much about the void.

It’s about connecting and remembering humanity.

That being said, there isn’t anything that’s brought me as much joy in the past few months as the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizon for the Nintendo Switch. It came out this last midnight, and you can bet your ass that I played for about an hour as soon as it was open to the public. I had it pre-downloaded and all.

It doesn’t bring me the same kind of joy that it did when I was a kid. It’s not just the exploration and innocence that I love from the game like I used to. Instead, now, it’s the nostalgia. What it reminds me of. The memories it brings up from my past.

Two years ago, in Chicago. When the mobile app Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp was the only thing that was happening on my phone, as I was slumped into one of the deepest depressions of my life due to a series of unforeseeable circumstances, and I spent almost every hour that I could for about a month, between canvassing for the environment and long train rides to the Loop and back to Rogers Park, lost in the virtual world of a Nintendo-styled camping session.

2014. Highschool, in Northern Michigan. When I was deep into Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Playing on my 3DS in the basement of my parent’s house, while my brother Noah watched LOST next to me on our what-seemed-to-be mega-entertainment system. A lot of cabinet space, but still a bad sound system. Comfortable, though. Very. Brown leather couches that you could just sink into. A back deck where you could see the water and the sunset. Close enough that you felt like, if you placed it correctly, you could lower the sun into a teacup.

Going all the way back to the mid-2000s, when I was playing Animal Crossing: Wild World. The original game, on my DS. Living downstate, all of my brothers playing on their own DS systems. All sitting in the same room or basement (more likely), collecting fruit, visiting each other’s homes and talking to the villagers to meet, being jealous of the other worlds.

Playing this new Animal Crossing brings me all the way back to my childhood. It brings me to my brothers. It brings me a smile.

It’s kind of the perfect thing for me to be playing during this time. During this quarantine.

Anyway. Send me your Switch code, if you’re privy.

I hope you’re all doing okay.

I’m starting to come around.

Micah Mabey

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