Why Do The Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Villagers Have Nightmares?

  • Games
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Animal Crossing Pocket Camp. (c) Nintendo

A lot of my friends have fallen out of love with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp . My friends list tells me how long it’s been since a particular buddy has logged on, with a special place in obscurity reserved for those at the bottom. “5 d. ago.” “6 d. ago.” WYD?

But I’m still here. I’ve crafted every piece of furniture at least once. I have more candy canes than Kris Kringle. My campsite is set up like a wonderfully festive winter wonderland featuring all of the limited-time holiday furniture.

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What afflicts your slumber?! Photo: (c) Nintendo

As part of that, I have four Jingle Beds set up like a little Dickensian dormitory, minus all the dirt and child abuse. And now that I have this little Christmas slumber party going, I realize that my Animal Crossing Pocket Camp villagers… have nightmares.

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What are you having bad dreams about?! Photo: (c) Nintendo

Do animals dream of electric sheep? In the blessed, wholesome utopia of an Animal Crossing game (even “just” a mobile one), what concerns can the villagers possibly have?

They constantly tell me how happy they are with my campsite, my design choices, my dedication and my gifts. They talk about their cozy, comfortable scenarios and humorously, cleverly discuss their little dreams. They cheerfully talk Leaf Tickets and Bells, economic insecurity the farthest thing from their minds. They craft with me, break bread with me and share their Amazon wish lists with me.

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Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Photo: (c) Nintendo
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Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Photo: (c) Nintendo
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Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Photo: (c) Nintendo

When I’m up late, they commiserate or gently chastise. When the sun comes up, they remark on the morning’s beauty and the day’s promise. They give me their fucking essence. I’m their sparky, little one, brosephine, cool cat. I’m the best thing that ever happened to them.

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Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Photo: (c) Nintendo
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Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Photo: (c) Nintendo
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Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Photo: (c) Nintendo

So why the bad dreams? Is there something sinister in this utopia? Are they aware it’s all a simulation? Do they know they’re just imports from other, fuller games, refugees from once-flourishing villages now choked by weeds, doomed to a nomadic existence set to a three-hour timer? Does the compression of their affection into a gauche numerical meter offend them? Does the reduction of their platonic love to something that can be purchased through overfishing the local ocean and river depress them?

Maybe the inherent contradictions of their lives torments their sleep. Yoko Taro, creative director of Nier Automata, had a few thoughts on that:

“The rabbit seems to be of the normal herbivorous variety, but can be seen, in this game, grilling and eating fish. Also, in this game, pigs and cows enjoy barbecue (but you can't see what they're grilling). What is going on in this ecosystem? When you run out of things to eat, do you resort to cannibalism? Is there so much difference in the intelligence of birds and fish? If you walk on two legs and talk, does that mean you won't be hunted? Is the value of your life determined by your intelligence?”

Is it? Is that what torments Tex as he sleeps? We might never know.

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