animal crossing — a grumbly kind of review

Earlier this year I was given a yellow Nintendo Switch Lite by my oldest. I’d been looking for a regular Switch, but it soon became very obvious that all the regular Switches had been snapped up, primarily by resellers who then attempted to re-sell them on e-bay at outrageous markups. They found a regular Lite for its regular price at Walmart and sent one to me. The first game I installed was the digital only version of Animal Crossing. My daughter and her husband as well as my youngest play Animal Crossing, which meant I could ‘friend’ them and visit various islands as well as having them come visit my island.

Animal Crossing is a far cry from my earlier gaming experiences from Quake, Doom, and other FPS games. There is no running around and fragging characters (although I sure have wanted to on occasion). Instead, it’s a very non-violent deliberately slow-paced game with way too much dialog that repeats itself. In spite of that I’ve managed to build all the rooms possible in my house and I paid for the storage extension for my house, so I can store all the crap that comes raining down from balloons that float over the island.

I’ve managed to play all the seasons so far, starting with Halloween, through Thanksgiving, and into Christmas. Except it’s not called Christmas, it’s called Toy Day. No mention of Christmas. I guess this is Nintendo’s War on Christmas. Whatever.

It sure looks like the commercial side of Christmas. For example I was able to buy a Santa suit.

My island even has a Christmas tree with ornaments and I can stand around with some of my zombie characters and “sing” Christmas carols.

I even participated in delivering gifts for Jingles the black-nosed reindeer, and as a reward I was gifted this sleigh with presents you see me sitting on. By the way, note the ice bar with some sort of beverage to the right. If Animal Crossing is a kid’s game, then why are we creating adult ‘toys’?

How could it be Christmas without the trashy ornamentation we have here in America? One of my rewards in-game was DIY instructions for building these lighted snowflakes you see my avatar standing between. I liked them so much I built two.

I’ve also learned to build ‘perfect’ Snow Boys. You can see me standing with three of them, created on three consecutive days. I use the high-as-my-ear method for the head before pushing it up on the body (see here for different methods). Every time you create a ‘perfect’ SnowBoy you get a season-specific DIY recipe and a large snowflake. Then every following day after creation, when you visit, you get another large snowflake. The SnowBoys do melt over time, so after three days the SnowBoys are gone, meaning you can only get three large snowflakes before the SnowBoys go away. Or at least that’s been my experience.

Game Observations

  • It takes a very long time to do anything. Whether a short task or a long task, a lot of time is wasted in exposition from the characters. I find Isabella to be particularly annoying, but at least she on shows up once when you first open the game up for the day.
  • I have an intense dislike of nearly all the visiting creatures. Savanah (who sells rugs), the creature who sells turnips, the creature who catches bugs, the creature who fishes, the seagull who keeps washing up on my beaches, the owl sister of the museum manager… the list goes on. I deal with the regular inhabitants, and that’s enough. All others I ignore.
  • The lone visitor I tolerate is Redd the Art Dealer. Every time he shows up I go check Polygon’s list of paintings and statuary ( ) before I make a purchase. I purchased a copy of the Mona Lisa early on which turned out to be fake. I couldn’t sell it or gift it. I finally went to an island and left it there. I tolerate Redd because I’m slowly stocking my museum’s art section.
  • There’s also the creature that sells seedlings. I occasionally purchase plants to place around my island.
  • Every once in a while one of the island’s inhabitants starts running towards me, yelling my avatar’s name, to get my attention. It was OK for a while, but I got tired of new emotions or new nicknames. What broke the came’s back so-to-speak was when I was beating on a rock getting out bells, and one of them ran right up to me while I was hammering away. Needless to say pressing ‘A’ when the character was slow enough completely stopped me from hammering the rock and missing a lot of bells. Since then I just run away from any of the characters who start yelling my name.
  • My island’s rankings. Right now it’s four stars out of five. I’m not going to push to get five out of five, especially if it means I cut down all my trees (Isabella keeps complaining how the trees make the island look too rural; good).

One in-game hook that keeps me coming back every morning are the bell trees. I find 1,000 bells buried in the ground. I dig them up, then put a 10,000 bell bag back in the hole. Three days later if I come back I have a bell tree with three 10,000 bell bags on it. And this happens every morning. Which means I need to keep coming back to get my steady 20,000 bells of in-game money (remember I seeded with a 10,000 bell bag, and doing this continuously means dropping 10,000 bells in another hole). I also dig up all my fossils, have them certified, and then sell them at Nook Corner. That’s usually another 10,000 to 15,000 bells. It builds up quickly.

I’m now building the in-game swag and sending it around to my two daughters who also play this game. I sure can’t use more than one of any item.

I’m to the point where I’m about ready to walk away indefinitely. It’s been a nice distraction during the pandemic, but I don’t know I would have ever played this game without the pandemic. I’m glad I played the seasonal parts of Animal Crossing, but at this point I think I’m done.

blockchain for voting software is bullshit


I don’t know how blunter to make the case, but blockchain is a solution looking for a problem. Using it to make voting software more secure is a joke. A very bad joke. If you won’t take my word for it, try this formal paper on for size.

“Going from Bad to Worse: From Internet Voting to Blockchain Voting” —

The impetus for this came from an email letter called “Crypto-Gram” published by Bruce Schneier. I strongly recommend you sign up for it here: