January 18, 2023

Animal Crossing Renewed Horizons

This month, I restarted playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons — on a new island from scratch! (I’m also still enjoying Xenoblade Chronicles.) Why would I do this again, after the game’s release in 2020, having built up a previous island over hundreds of hours?

First, because it's a great game! Replay-ability is proof. Starting over, spending many more hours of escapism on a casual island, means the gameplay and setting must be compelling, and I really like it.

In fact, I’ve always liked Animal Crossing since its GameCube debut. Much later, I played Animal Crossing: New Leaf until starting anew with the current series entry, New Horizons. So yes, replaying now isn’t too surprising.

All that said, the reality is a bit more pragmatic. I didn’t have much choice but to start over. My old island still exists…on my older Switch. I bought a new Switch OLED that has a larger and more vibrant display on which to play a game like AC:NH. But due to the restrictions of moving to a new island, transferring your old island and/or Nintendo linked user account…ugh! It’s kind of a major hassle.

After reading in-game instructions and watching YouTube tutorials, my situation is such that I had to start a new island, so I did. 

I don’t mind so much because this second run should be better as I can now apply lessons learned from my first island. And though I was the island representative before, as I am now, this time I’m not sharing my Switch or my island with other residents.

It’s not that I dislike co-op play or socializing with in-game friends, it’s that now I need not be concerned with other players having agency (read/write capabilities) over the island. So now I can really do whatever I want on my very own tropical paradise — nice!

AC:NH is one of those types of games that works great on a handheld console with a small display. Most of the games I play are tailored to look good on a big living room TV but, though playable, look too diminished (squinty text) on a portable screen. So while I mostly play epic JRPGs on a giant monitor, I’m glad to now have easy access to my own Switch with its own Animal Crossing island.

This is a nice balance for a Nintendo Switch gamer. Sometimes I’m in Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, a massive world laden with lore and heavy gameplay mechanics spread across an expansive display. Then I kick back with a super-chill island, casual gameplay, and the mild social life-sim of AC:NH on an up-close-and-personal screen. These are two sides of the coin of escapism.

Restarting Animal Crossing, new horizons are new again.

Have you played Animal Crossing: New Horizons?


  1. Great to hear that you picked up a Switch OLED! I really enjoy using mine. The screen is a very noticeable upgrade isn't it? I feel your pain with Nintendo's convoluted way of transferring your island to another Switch. I was fortunately able to make it work when I moved over to the OLED but man, what a hassle! As far as Animal Crossing goes, I am a long time fan as well. I fell in love with the series on the GameCube when I bought it on a whim because it looked so quirky. Animal Crossing is also one of the few video game franchises that my wife enjoys too, so we always have fun visiting each other's islands and playing together. Enjoy building your new island from scratch and using all of your previous knowledge to make it even better!

    1. Thanks! Yes, the OLED screen is super nice. Even the small bump up in size is noticeably better.

      I'm not bummed at all that I started a new island; kind of glad I had to. I'm enjoying the refreshment.

      My wife and I both play, too, and visit each other's islands sometimes. I bought Animal Crossing on Gamecube, years ago, for my wife. But then I got into it with her.


Thank you for sharing.