A note, which is secondary to the topic of the strip: something is happening with this motherfucker’s art. The panels look like they’re about an inch deep apiece, and I feel like if I tilted my head to left or right a little bit, I could see behind the characters. I don’t know anything about art in general, but I know about his art, and the way he perceives space has been altered.
There’s a new Animal Crossing which isn’t like the old Animal Crossings, in that it’s basically just the decorating part and that’s it. I’ve seen a few reviews of the game which lament the fact that Happy Home Designer places too much emphasis on designing happy homes, which is fine, but you can’t exactly say you weren’t warned. My mom would probably say something similar; she’s kind of an OG in Animal Crossing. She likes the whole loop. I guarantee there is an audience for this, though. And, like a spooky call, it’s coming from inside the house. By which I mean my house.
Not me, no.
In The Sims, Brenna didn’t mind that people had jobs because that was a part of their character - but the idea of waiting actual time to earn pretend money is not even a thing for her. I would hesitate to generalize overmuch, I’m simply giving you information: the arc we tend to prize in games isn’t a sigil with universal power.
For people who have difficulty taking time for themselves anyway, games of the kind we tend to like are very insulting. The game she actually wanted to play in The Sims for example was entirely about social interactions and interior design, and she was forced to endure what she perceived as a fundamentally false slash manipulative drip feed of potential gated by earning “currency.” Pretending to work is not aspirational, it just made her feel like it was wasting her time on the way to what she wanted to do. So while I think that life-sim stuff will be missed by the Animal Crossing stalwart to varying degrees, I’m actually overjoyed that they committed to an experiment like this.
“Screen Time” is sort of my domain, just because I like this kind of stuff and I know how it all works, but I’m gonna drop Happy Home Designer on the card in my 3DS, hand it over to Ronia and Brenna, and see if we can’t cook up a different kind of tradition.