One Year of Laranjeira | Animal Crossing: New Horizons

This time last year, I dove right in and bought Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It was my first Animal Crossing game, and let’s just say that my island, Laranjeira, has undergone a lot! I know I haven’t posted a lot of Animal Crossing content of late, but there hasn’t been a whole lot to discuss.

Right in the beginning, we stumbled on the island, with Pierce and Diva, my two starter villagers. I liked Pierce from the start, while Diva took a lot of warming up to. It’s strange thinking about how the island was so barren, like a clean slate, compared to the amount of work and changes that I’ve done with the island. There are still never enough inclines for what I wanted to do, though, and there never will be. Although I do have some new ideas for rearranging everything at least, which I may or may not have done by the time this post goes live.

I remember playing through it for a long time, and then still wanting to play it when I’d turned it off. There was so much that I needed to do, and wanted to do, that it became the ultimate goal to get through the tasks and goals during the pandemic. I suppose, strangely, the game was released at just the right time. The go-to pandemic activity was Animal Crossing, especially where you could interact with villagers freely.

I named my island ‘Laranjeira’ after the Metro station in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s in the Palma de Baixo neighbourhood, and I wanted a Portuguese name for my island, and considering you could start with orange trees, that was my goal. I did reset a few times for it, but I was successful in the end. I’ve been wanting to get a new Switch, make a second island and call it Lumiar, after the area I first lived in in Lisbon. You can sense there’s a running theme here, I definitely miss Portugal.

Of course, Pierce and Diva didn’t stay for the long term. I ended up gaining a bunch of different villagers over the course of the game, including Goldie, Roald, Raymond, Marshal, Boots, Octavian and Pashmina. I even gave Judy, Marina and Zucker to others – Zucker went over to my good friend Steve’s island, as you can’t have Takoyakigamma without the takoyaki villager!

The one to have stayed the longest is Twiggy. I moved Ozzie out and back in again to ensure I got his proper house, while I kept Twiggy because the base peppy house seemed to fit her more than her actual house. Funnily enough, Ozzie and Twiggy are Connor’s favourites, but even if that wasn’t the case, I adore both of them anyway. But it’s been fun listening to the villagers sing!

Villager hunting…was a processs. There were times when I was tired and it took hours to find the perfect villager. Other times, it wasn’t so bad. But then you find Rodney…And I did scream when I finally found Stitches after so many hunts and having him be a priority for months on end! I stopped villager hunting in September, after I gained the last dreamie, Bunnie. Of course, there were other villagers that were on my wishlist, but Bunnie was right on top of that list. While Tangy fit the Laranjeira theme the best, I just preferred Bunnie’s aesthetic more. Plus I’ve seen the memes of Tangy drinking orange juice…

Terraforming is a never-ending process for me. The amount of times I’ve changed around my island is ridiculous, and I haven’t gone to the extremes that others have done, with several different hidden areas, a kind of one-way system, that kind of thing. I wanted mine to be free-flowing, where you can take it however you want. My favourite area is still the campsite, buried in a thicket of trees, and closed off with hedges. It has a variety of different camping pieces, and it just feels so cosy to me. Of course, I think the camping feature is like when us Brits go on a resort holiday somewhere like Spain, never leave that resort, then go ‘I love Spain’. It definitely gives off that vibe, but I did meet Phoebe and Chief in the campsite so good things do come from it.

My birthday was back in February, and of course, I shared it with Stitches. The whole experience was heartwarming, considering I couldn’t go anywhere or see friends. It was the first birthday I’d spent with no plans since 2009, so there was a lot of birthdays when I had stuff to do. So I took to Animal Crossing and I was happy that it was Sydney hosting my birthday, with Chief and O’Hare attending. I then went to Stitches’s party, where Ozzie was attending. It was all very sweet, I could probably have cried from all the emotions.

Over the course of the year I accidentally turned a Pokemon chat into an Animal Crossing chat, and I’m not even sorry!

What are your favourite memories of playing Animal Crossing this past year? Let me know in the comments! I, for one, hope Brewster finally comes into the game in some form this next year!