Animal Crossing Pocket Camp

While 2017 was a questionable year, one of the best things it brought was the release of Animal Crossing Pocket Camp in November. I am now obsessed.

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The game

Animal Crossing has existed in the world of gaming since 2001, first appearing on the Nintendo 64. It has since then had 7 games released across the multiple gaming devices. Pocket Camp is the latest instalment of the Animal Crossing world and is also the first to be used on a mobile device.

The transition

Adorable. There are no other words for this game except that: ADORABLE.

It follows the general aspect of Animal Crossing in that you play as a little digital person who spends their time building the perfect community. It is an RPG world building type game, where you can create and build whatever type of society that you please: For example in New Leaf, you are the new Mayor of a small town. In Pocket Camp, you run a campsite. Throughout the game, your fellow inhabitants are anthropomorphic animals, from elephants to hamsters and all other manner of animals in between. You carry out activities for the animals from planting certain plants to building certain features and adding to the overall success of your chosen area.

In Pocket Camp you travel about the different areas and fulfil tasks for the visiting animals. In return, they give you certain supplies that can then be used to craft features and furniture for your camp site. Each time you complete a task for an animal you develop a better relationship with them which in turn helps level you up, and as you level up you can craft and build a bigger variety of items.

Interior design

On of the best things about Animal Crossing is the ability to create whatever environment you wish: In each game you are given you’re own little house which you can decorate however you like, and even the town itself can be moulded to look however you wish. In Pocket Camp, you are almost spoilt for decorating room as you have the main area of your campsite, where visiting animals can request certain items or pieces of furniture, as well as having your own personal camper-van which you can decorate as you own private residence. The game allows you to constantly change the campsite having different themes: You can build a tree house for the animals that love all thing ‘cute’ or a skating half pipe for those who love ‘cool’ things.

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Animal Crossing is a game that also uses real time in it’s game play: 24 hours in game is 24 hours out of it. The game also changes with the seasons allowing you to build little snowmen in the winter or celebrate Halloween in the fall. In the main games the seasons also change which animals or fruit you can collect throughout the year meaning that you have to play for at least a solid year in order to catch the hundreds of different creatures that the game has on offer.

Pocket Camp also uses this to release timed events during the seasons. Currently as I write this, the game is running a Crystal Event, where each time you complete an animal’s task you are rewarded with crystal shards, which in turn can be used to craft items that are only available for a limited time. Over the Christmas period you could collect candy canes to craft cosy festive items and in the New Year you could watch a firework display. The upside to this is that you stay engaged with the game but the downside is that every item that is available for the limited event is also so darn cute that you become glued to your phone in order to get them all before the time runs out which is a whole new level of stress that only those who love collecting can really understand.

The Calm of Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing has always been a very calming game to play. Since there are no specific ‘quests’ that need to be completed, you can simply play the game at whatever pace suits you. The music is also calming as there is no real urgency for the game: It doesn’t matter if you want to play for 5 minutes or 5 years, the game ticks along as it needs to and you can spend your time with whatever activity you want to.

Pocket Camp is no different. As there are only 4 visiting areas, there are only 4 animals that have requests for you at any one time. Each animal has 3 requests to complete before they are satisfied, and depending on how much farming you’ve done before hand (catching fish or bugs or collecting fruit from trees and seashells off the beach) it will depend on how long it takes you to complete each task. At most, it can take about a half hour to finish all of the tasks (if that!) and I find this to be just the right amount of time to unwind: I can play it on my lunch break while I enjoy some food or even before bed instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media and making myself sad.

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This game is just as adorable as the others. The game is utterly charming, with each animal having their own style and wit. It is varied enough that you don’t get bored but also slow enough that you don’t feel any need to rush through the game. As there are no levels to complete you also don’t have to hit certain save points or checkpoints as the game just saves as you go on and each time you complete a task or change location. It is fun and calming and just utterly serene in every way.

Have any of you guys played this game? Let me know your thoughts below!

T xx


The little things in life

Every day at work, at around 12.30pm, one of the council street cleaners will do her round outside of my office where I currently work. She pushes her cart, sweeps up old cigarette butts and crisp packets, before taking a 5 minute breather on the park bench. At around 12.45pm, the man I can only assume is her husband comes strolling out from one of the side streets with the tiniest and most excited pug puppy I have ever seen. The pug pulls his owner over to the lady, who meets him with almost equal excitement, and they have a little walk around the green patch of scenery close by, sit down, and have a little lunch break together.

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I have watched them enough times while I am waiting for my documents to print or for certain files to finish copying, that I have their routine down. I am very much a people watcher – leave me at a little coffee shop with a massive mug of tea, my book and a nice window seat and I could happily spend my day there watching the many passers by go about their business. It is one of my little pleasures in life, and one I wish I could do more. Plus, I genuinely believe that a proper cup of tea can cure all ailments…so that always helps!

The last couple of months have been pretty stressful for me for a whole array of reasons and while I sat watching the little pug bounce happily around his owners’ boots, I began wondering if it would ever be possible to be as happy as that little doggo. I feel that this is something that has been left off of the curriculum at schools: How to be happy. More importantly, how to be happy wherever you may be in life. Yes I may be 25, and as far as society is concerned I am a fully functioning adult that should be more than capable of looking after myself. In reality, I am not…or at least I don’t feel like an adult. I still live at home with my parents, I’m still on their car insurance and I have only very recently finished my education and managed to get my foot onto the career ladder of my choice. All the while I have my peers – or worse, the younger generation – working in high flying jobs for better pay, with their own mortgages and living the life that I at 16 thought I should be living at 25.

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However, every now and again I am reminded that life is short: With all the horrible things going on in this world from terrorist attacks, mass shootings and the threat of nuclear war, I am reminded that time is fleeting. My first 25 years have flown by and I already feel like I wasted so much of it worrying about things that did not even deserve a minute of my attention. Who cares if my hair is getting frizzy? Why do I care if I look tired or have bags under my eyes? Last night I stayed up until midnight (for the first time in months may I add) and watched a movie with my Dad, eating biscuits and candy and laughing about the events of Geordie Shore. Was I tired the next day? Ashamedly so. Did I regret my choice? Hell no. The little things in life, as cliche as it sounds, really will become the most important things.

So this is my message to you, lovely few of you who will read this, or stumble across it late at night by accident: Enjoy the little things. So what if your thighs are a little bit thick?! Revel in the fact that your legs are strong enough to carry you wherever you need to go. So what if your hair is super untame and won’t style right? When you’re 80 with thinning grey hair you will long for the wild locks of your youth. Ignore the negativity that other people will try to force on you because at the end of the day, the only person you need to impress is you. You are the only person you will have to live with every second of every day for the rest of your life, so you might as well learn how to love the little things that make you special.

Let me know what makes you guys grateful. What little everyday things make your day infinitely better?

How can you be bored of board games?!

So this weekend I had a wonderful time at a place I really didn’t expect: A board game cafe. It seems that board games are now becoming trendy again, as I know of at least two cafes that have popped up near where I live. But why the sudden increase in popularity?

Social interaction

The main thing I enjoyed about playing board games with my friends, was the sheer social aspect of it. Looking around at all the tables of people I noticed how involved they were all getting in the social aspect of the game. Board games, no matter how simple they may seem, still manage to draw you into the excitement as much as a video game would, but with your friends along with the ride. I can not believe how much I laughed at a simple game of Connect 4, nor how much fun it could be beating my friends at the Game of Life.

A recent development in the wild lives of my friends and I are the Games Nights we have held: Normally this consists of us playing various rounds of Cards Against Humanity, having a few drinks, and realising just how twisted our sense of humour is (If you have played Cards Against Humanity, you too will understand this!) and yet still managing to catch up on our lives as ‘functioning adults’. To me, it feels like we have all found a way to be childish, without being immature. We are all there, in person, playing games that we can hold in our hands. We can read each other to find out who the werewolf is, or we can send subtle clues to each other to throw off the other team as to what our strategy will be. Sneaking truly becomes sneaky and victory tastes oh the more sweeter when you can rub it in their loser faces.

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Imagination and problem solving

Case and point: Cluedo. Anyone who says that they are not competitive is a liar the second this game comes out, and it is literally a race to find out not only who the murderer is, but who can do it in the least amount of moves. I have not played this game in years and yet I won (bwah ha ha!) and I must admit it was a brain workout and a half. I saw my friends concentrate more on their questions in each round than they ever did for final exams. I think that is because, any mistake they make….we remember! There is no way to erase what has just happened, the silly move you made that just cost you a victory can not be overwritten on your save file by starting again. Every decision counts as a result, it takes way more time, thought and strategy than any virtual game ever will. If your friends don’t yell at you for disproving their accusations, then can you even call them your friends?

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The lack of technology

As I’ve grown up, I have realised that while I am indeed viewed as an adult, I have very little clue as to what I am doing half the time. It worries me that my friends and I are well and truly allowed to be the ‘adult supervision’ that many packages warn children they need before playing with something stupid. Something I have noticed from spending a whole Saturday morning playing board games is that, for one brief moment in time, everyone in that cafe was transported to a simple way of life. Not a single person had their phone in their face the entire time, and I only had mine out to take photos of my friends completing challenges, or filming little plastic chairs that were stacked precariously on the table. Board games show that you do not need technology in order to have an immersive experience. In my house, almost every board game turns into a contact sport, to the point which Scrabble is banned unless there is someone acting as referee, dictionary in hand, to reach a peaceful end to the game.

What about you? Which board games bring out your worst traits? And which games have lead to some of your best memories?

T xx