Right now in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it's almost Bunny Day, the game's version of Easter. For the occasion, the game has been festooned with eggs that you can dig up, fish out of the water, or find in trees or floating from balloons. It's also turned paradise into hell.
I don't dislike in-game events. In fact, I think Animal Crossing is perfectly suited for limited time events where you can earn special rewards—it progresses over real time, following our own calendar. Why wouldn't there be holidays on my island? It's just that the particular way that this event is set up reveals a baseline banality inherent to the Animal Crossing formula. And the rewards are super ugly.
Imagine this: you're playing Animal Crossing, because you're both stuck inside because of the global pandemic, and stuck in bed because you, personally, have caught COVID-19. You're vaguely aware that there's an event, and are excited to see what it's all about. It's not complicated. You collect eggs and DIY recipes that can be made from the eggs. If you make all the recipes, you'll get a special prize.
After meeting the low-key terrifying character Zipper, a bunny who has a visible zipper on the back of their body but insists that they are not wearing a suit, you start your daily chores. You dip your fishing pole into the water and catch… an egg. You try again, throwing your line at a different fish shaped shadow. Egg again. After your third egg, you want to do something else, so you start digging up fossils. Instead of fossils, you get eggs. When you shake trees, you get eggs. When you smack rocks with your shovel, it's eggs. What's that in the sky? It's fucking eggs. It's all eggs. Everything is eggs now. An update today decreased the frequency of the eggs you fish out of the water and the eggs that fall from the sky, but the bloom is off the rose for me. I never want to see a damn egg again.
A game like Animal Crossing requires a particular kind of suspension of disbelief and a tolerance for the twee. All the objects that exist within the game, all the clothing, furniture and fruits, might as well be eggs already. They have no meaning or value besides what we, as players, assign to them. I already know that the adorable Gothic Lolita wig and lavender satin pants that I have and treasure in the game aren't real. The main gameplay for all Animal Crossing games requires the player to buy in to what the game is selling them. Your menial chores, like chopping trees and catching bugs or returning lost objects to villagers, are worth it, because you get a varied set of cosmetic rewards. Except that's not happening right now. The banality of Animal Crossing isn't rewarding me with tweenessl; it's rewarding me with eggs. I just play make-believe, but whenever I find a new egg instead of a new kind of fish or fossil, New Horizons is refusing to play along.
Besides, with the crafting materials as plentiful as they are, crafting all the recipes doesn't have the same manic allure as other games's limited time events. If it felt slightly more challenging, I might get invested in completing all the recipes before the events end, but I'm currently drowning in eggs. I don't even know what I do with the completed crafts once the event was over, either. Where would you want me to put this? My house? My beautiful, perfect, egg-free house? It's hideous.
Bunny Day is April 12th, and with that, my egg hell will end. I hope future Animal Crossing events are more engaging, or at least don't revolve around fucking eggs.