Animal Crossing: New Horizons and FOMO - it's a thing, but don't worry about it

Animal Crossing Fomo Hero
Animal Crossing Fomo Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

Lately, it's been a tough time for everyone everywhere, so the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons couldn't have been better. As we all stay home as much as possible these days, Animal Crossing is the perfect escape from today's harsh reality. You can do pretty much anything you want on your island, but there seems to be a sense of Animal Crossing FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out, for those who don't know) going around.

I've been a fan of Animal Crossing since New Leaf on the 3DS (it was my first Animal Crossing game), because it's a relaxing little life that I can call my own. But Animal Crossing isn't a game for everyone, and you shouldn't compare your Animal Crossing life to others. It's like Instagram jealousy, but in the form of Animal Crossing.

It doesn't have to be this way.

Everyone's talking about Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing New Horizons Journal Switch Hero

Animal Crossing New Horizons Journal Switch Hero (Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

First off, if you look to social media and the Internet in general lately, everyone is talking about Animal Crossing. And I mean everyone. There are memes with DOOM Eternal since the two games had the same release date, people are talking about how they're trying to kick least-liked villagers out or making their own tarantula islands, and so much more. You'll be hard pressed to go online right now and have not heard about Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Plus, with Villager and Isabelle being fighters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the only way you haven't heard of Animal Crossing is if you've lived under a rock for the past decade.

Our own Rebecca Spear did a great job explaining the premise of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, who the game is for, and who it isn't for. If you still aren't sure if Animal Crossing: New Horizons is for you (or someone you know), then I suggest giving that a look.

Honestly, I've tried to get my husband to play the game with me, but he simply refuses — he's just not into life simulator games or designing, and prefers games with plot. But our roommate was finally convinced after hearing nonstop Animal Crossing talk and picked up his own copy of the game and seems to be thoroughly enjoying it.

So even if everyone is talking about Animal Crossing, don't get the game just because you have FOMO. I'd recommend watching gameplay videos on YouTube just to make sure that it's something you can see yourself playing. If it isn't, then it's cool — Animal Crossing isn't for everyone, and that's okay.

Stop comparing your island with others

Acnh Christy Home Interior

Acnh Christy Home Interior (Image credit: iMore)

Even though Animal Crossing: New Horizons only came out on March 20, 2020 and the game itself plays out in real-time, there are players who use the time travel method to get ahead. This means that their islands may already be terraformed, they have 10 villager inhabitants, they're already able to input codes to get custom designs from other users, their homes are furnished with a complete theme, their island rating is higher, and more.

If that isn't you, then you may feel that your own island is inadequate compared to what others have created. But don't worry — your island is completely fine! It seems very similar to social media (especially Instagram) jealousy, where you may think that someone's life is better than yours just because of what they share, but that's such a silly thing to worry about in Animal Crossing.

Acnh Christy Godzilla

Acnh Christy Godzilla (Image credit: iMore)

That's why I love Animal Crossing so much — it's my island (or town or whatever it's called in each game) and I can build it up at my own pace, and I'm free to do whatever I please with it. The biggest draw of Animal Crossing is that it is supposed to be incredibly chill, lax, and pressure-free (Tom Nook doesn't even charge you interest on your loan!) So when I hear that people feel that their islands are crap compared to other more elaborate islands, I just have to wonder, why?

Animal Crossing games are what you make it, and people should stop stressing out if their islands aren't "up to snuff" compared to others. As long as you enjoy your time on your island and have fun with your quirky animal friends, who cares if it isn't a masterpiece? It's supposed to be relaxing — if it's starting to feel like a chore to catch up to someone else, then one has failed to get the point of Animal Crossing.

In fact, that's the thing about the Animal Crossing community that makes the game popular. People love to create their own weird, hilarious, or just plain awesome living spaces and share them with others. But this is just one way to play the game, and you're not obligated to ever go all out like that. And these are the ones that are being shown off because they want to share their unique creations, but you should never feel the pressure to do that yourself, especially if it isn't your thing.

Honestly, my island is definitely a bit of a mess compared to my friends. On my island, I have a million fruit trees of all kinds everywhere, there is a monster statue on the beach shore in front of my house, and there's a random teacup ride in front of the central plaza area, among other quirks. It's definitely not looking as fancy as my friends' islands, but I happen to like it right now. Eventually I'll make it look nicer (at my own pace, mind you), but for now, this is what I'm calling my home.

It's okay if you're not a creative artist

Acnh Christy Office

Acnh Christy Office (Image credit: iMore)

It seems that Animal Crossing allows everyone to unleash their inner artist. People are making elaborate patterns for clothing and accessories for their characters to wear, and even making fancy pixel art portraits to display on their house walls. I don't have much artistic talent, but that's okay too.

Honestly, while I love seeing the cute and cool designs that people are making, I'm still having a ton of fun just buying clothing from the Able Sisters shop. There are so many options of items available from the store each day, that you'll end up with a ton of pieces that you'll be able to mix and match to your liking. So even if you can't draw good pixel art, there will still be plenty of opportunities to make your character look the way you want them to look. Plus, you can still scan in designs with NookLink and eventually input codes at the Able Sister's store.

To be fair, I've actually liked making my own outfits with what's available in the game than some custom designs I've scanned in anyway. Your mileage may vary, of course.

There are many islands, but this one is mine

Acnh Christy Bertha

Acnh Christy Bertha (Image credit: iMore)

So yes, there are a ton of cool islands and designs out there, but you shouldn't feel that your own island is inadequate because of them. Actually, if anything, you should maybe feel inspired to create something similar but in your own style, but in the end, it's your island home and it's all about what you like. Not all of my villagers are "cute," but I've grown to like them for who they are.

This is my island. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

So forget all about that FOMO. Throw it out the window of your Animal Crossing house, and just have some fun! We need more of that right now.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed. When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.