Animal Crossing: You Can Never Go Home Again

Animal Crossing: New Leaf screenshots

It’s been weeks since I last visited Mobliz, my town in Animal Crossing: New Leaf. In theory, it should be easy to return. Sure, I’ll have some weeds to pull and some villagers to console, but it won’t be long before my town looks normal again.

But every time I go to start up a game, something stops me. I vaguely remember Jay saying something about moving, and I can’t remember if I successfully convinced him not to. Even if I did, it’s been weeks! What if another of my favorite villagers, like Mitzi or Drago has decided to hit the road? No one’s been taking care of my perfect peach orchard, and the fruit might have gone rotten. What if all my hybrid flowers have withered away?

Animal Crossing Double Rainbow

Mobliz in better days.

This is a problem I’ve had since I started playing Animal Crossing back on the GameCube.  At first, I play it obsessively, never missing a day. I work hard to make my town great, and spending hours on letters or quests for villagers.  After a while, my visits become shorter. I pop in, check my stores, water any wilting flowers, and then I’m on my way. Sooner or later, I go a few days without playing at all, and that’s when the struggle begins.

Logically, I know there’s no real reason not to return. Certain villagers may be gone, and the town may not look as great as it once did, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had. There are still fish I’ve never caught, season-specific events I’ve never seen, and new projects to take on. Ultimately, I think I’m afraid of losing the image of the perfect town I have in my head. I’ll fight to keep that alive until my desire to experience new content wins out.

I’ll go back to Mobliz eventually. I’ll probably never play the way I used to, but I’ll have some fun times and make more good memories. But I’m not ready to return to New Leaf  just yet. I want to hold onto that perfect image in my head a little bit longer.