What Happens if You Don’t Play Animal Crossing: New Horizons for a While?

What Happens if You Don't Play Animal Crossing: New Horizons for a While?

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Despite everything that has gone on in 2020, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is still top of the pile in the gaming world and is retaining levels of social media dominance and popularity that is unprecedented in the gaming space. However, despite Animal Crossing’s enticing draw-in when it comes to encouraging daily play, it can also be quite a chore to return to your island on a daily basis. So in this article, we are going to see what happens if you don’t play Animal Crossing: New Horizons for a while. Do you miss special events? Do your villagers leave?

Changes that will immediately occur if you stop playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons include different islands than you remember it, fossils piling up, a larger collection of seashells along the shoreline, changed mood amongst your friendly villagers, and missed mails, special events, items, and updates.

As a result, in this article, we will be going over the different outcomes and things that may occur to you and your island if you were to go days, weeks, months, maybe even years without visiting your charming little desert island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

1. Landscape Changes and Mass Clean-Up

Upon booting back up your copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons you’ll be immediately greeted by an island that may seem unfamiliar to you at first to what you had left in your last play session. The land, depending on how long you have been away from it, will seem like an overgrown jungle in many ways. You’ll notice that weeds will have become the dominant lifeform stretching far and beyond across every inch of your cylindrical safe haven. 

You may also notice that the fossils you have failed to pick up throughout the days you have missed have started to pile up, with there being more fossils that the usual daily amount of four for you to go around and dig-up to supply to Blathers the owl. Along with the land fossils dominating the landscape, you’ll also see that there will be a larger collection of seashells along the shoreline, with your typical daily crafting recipe being present as ever, so be sure to pick that up! 


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As expected, returning to this large mess of a situation can be quite overwhelming, and if you’re going to be looking to get your island back to its old charming self that you once knew, then you may be in for a few hours of clean-up work throughout your island to win back the beauty of your island from the clutches of nature. 

2. Villager Moods and Interactions

Upon returning to your island you may also notice the mood amongst your friendly villagers may be a bit gloomier than you last remembered. Villagers can often remember their last interaction with you and will acknowledge how long you have been away, with some villagers even cheekily poking fun that they’d enjoyed their time whilst you were away, whilst others have sorrowfully missed you and express their joyfulness at your return. 

You may also see villagers going around the island with a thought bubble above their heads, acting out an emotion of contemplation or thinking. This means that due to how long you have been gone, these particular villagers have had plenty of time to think of greener pastures and are considering a move off of your island. Don’t worry though, even if your most beloved villager is considering a move away, you can always encourage them that your island is the place-to-be and they will always be easily swayed to remain with you. 

3. Missing Out on Mailbox Items

Due to being away for such a long time, and due to the maximum capacity of the mailbox, you may also notice that your mailbox is especially stuffed to the brim depending on how long you have been away. You may not know it for certain, but this could mean that you have missed out on plenty of letters, gifts, items and even special event items through the mailbox not having enough space to accommodate these items. I guess the saying is true when they say that the early bird catches the worm, or in this case, the event items!

4. Missing Out on Special Events, Items and Updates

If you play animal crossing, and in particular, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you’ll know all the timed events and items that can come up throughout the months of playing. This can be quite exciting, but for those who may not be as active on social media, they can also be easy to miss due to the game’s in-game time being relative to real-world time. 

For example, there have been several timed events already in the short and early lifespan of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. If players were to vanish from their island for a certain amount of time, they would have potentially missed the Bunny Day event, the International Museum Day event, Wedding Season and even joyfully cute events like the fireworks throughout August weekends through the recent Summer update. These events all came with exclusively timed items too, so your chance, at the time of writing, would be gone for obtaining these items through the events having been passed and done, unfortunately. 


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Timed events make up a lot of the joy of Animal Crossing, and they create a brilliant sense of community, so to miss out on them would be a massive shame for anybody looking to make the most of their Animal Crossing: New Horizons experience. 


So, there you have it, those are some of the major outcomes that can happen if you were to take some significant time away from Animal Crossing: New Horizons, ranging from landscape changes all the way to the gloomy mood change of some of your favorite island residents. I think the moral of the story here is to always keep an eye out on your island, and be conscious of the fact that you may want to check-in every once in a while to get the best experience when playing the ever-growing in popularity Nintendo Switch title.

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