How Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Is Saving What’s Left Of My 2017

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Animal Crossing Pocket Camp. (c) Nintendo

2017 is a banner year for dumpster fires (literally, judging by the news out of California). Every day the outrage machine seems to produce some new bit of horrific info, and whether you’re politically minded or not, the state of the world and the suffering of its inhabitants is shocking. Add to that my own accumulation of personal tragedies, any single one of which would drive a person to neurosis, and I can’t sleep anymore.

Correction: I can’t stay asleep. Did you know that insomnia is not only when you can’t fall asleep, but when you can’t stay asleep? It’s true. I currently snatch sleep in nap-size increments, two hours here and three hours there. I took Twitter off my phone so I’d stop horrifying myself at my inevitable 3 a.m., 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. stints of wakefulness. That’s a big mental-health assist, but it means I have nothing to do while I wander my apartment, waiting for the sleep fairy to smack me in the face and knock me unconscious.

Enter Animal Crossing Pocket Camp , Nintendo’s adorable, yet maligned, mobile addition to the beloved Animal Crossing franchise. Chrissy Teigen didn’t like it, some game journalists didn’t like it, mobile game devs didn’t like it, but I like it.

The animals are cute. Nothing is on fire. No one is groping anyone and no one dies. I can pay back my loans without interest, at my own pace. I can afford to dress myself adorably and decorate to my taste. I can wander about in nature without allergies. I suddenly know how to fish. All my friends are cute and all they want are bugs to sing to and a pal to down chowder with. There’s no drama, no stress, no agitprop, no malcontent. Just wholesomeness.

But best of all, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp’s timers are perfectly aligned with my insomnia. Animals move from place to place with all-new requests every three hours. That’s when I wake up! Fruit trees grow back every three hours. I’m there, shaking that tree!

Instead of compulsively checking Twitter or emails, I’m checking Animal Crossing Pocket Camp. Instead of witching hour despair, I’m lovingly crafting jingle beds and CD racks for my animal pals. It’s probably why I’m level 45 now, with 40 animals invited to my camp and a camper van of positively eldritch dimensions.

Insomnia sucks. It’s lonely, boring and exhausting. But Animal Crossing Pocket Camp is making my nights a lot less awful. It gives me something easy, fun and light-hearted to do while I wait to feel tired again. I don’t care how annoying the timers and Leaf Tickets are to other people; I am really grateful to Pocket Camp for bringing a little color and whimsy into my long dark nights.

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