We all know this year didn’t turn out as expected! Yesterday marked the halfway point of the year. Let’s get the obvious out of the way- I’ve been playing a ton of animal crossing like everyone else. After an on and off seven years of the previous iteration New Leaf, I was ready to bid my old town of Kairo farewell for the time being for a vacation to the island of Speakeasy.
I avoided almost everything about this game prior to it being released- hell, I didn’t even know there was crafting in it. My journey started off as humble as could be, with only the man himself Tom Nook, his nephews, the goth sheep Muffy, and the ever-energetic yellow cow-man (bull?) Coach on my island.
After getting over naming the island (I won by a landslide- if my town was named Nooktown I don’t think we would have gotten any visitors). We set up tents. I made my own clothes through the designer app since there wasn’t even a clothing store yet. We were as the kids say roughing it.
Then Tom Nook himself asked me if I ever used a cellphone and ruined it.
Nook wanted to gamify this- he had a nook mileage program and that was how he wanted us to pay him back. Doing little tasks for miles while building up the island in addition to the old world currency of bells.
The island was a barren landscape, but it didn’t stay that long considering I would put hours upon hours building new houses and planting trees to liven the place up. That’s what I really like about this game- you can see the progress. You can watch your entire island, half of which you can’t even get to in the beginning of the game because you don’t have a ladder or a vaulting pole, grow into something truly beautiful.
Though for me, I played this game nonstop. I wanted to get a clothing store. I wanted cool seasonal items. I wanted to give my villagers a fun place to live. Speakeasy needed to be a travel destination and get its name on the map. Isabelle thus far was absent, and I was no longer the mayor of this town. I was just someone that ended up mixed up in all of this.
After enough tools breaking, ghost hunting late at night for the chance of getting a good piece of furniture from Wisp, and trying to rejuvenate the island I finally got the oppurtunity to build houses. My next goal was to populate the town. I kept going to deserted islands hoping for one of my old favorites- practically anyone from any of my past towns would be nice, especially Kiki the black cat.
I got a hamster named Clay who made every day ten times more fun. He taught me reactions, put the furniture I built in his house, and even talked about how much he loved snacking. He felt like a real friend.
Funnily enough my wish was granted but not in the way I expected it- Cyrano, one of my original gamecube town residents stumbled upon me. As a kid he was mean, cranky, and almost scary in comparison to most of my other friendly villagers that just asked me to run errands for them. Now he was a cool old man I wish I could have a barbeque with and crack open some cold ones while we sit and tell stories about the good old days. A lot of the animals are way nicer now than in the old games. They don’t get mad at you (unless you push them around a ton or hit them with a net) and don’t call you a loser over trivial things.
With the good comes the bad- one thing I learned early in this game was to use those nook tickets and find people you like. Don’t risk leaving an empty plot since the game will give you a random villager. I know at a few points in the game you’re forced to get a random one, but still. I wanted my town to be a fun place for all my animals to get along. Unfortunately one of them was Penelope, who said I gave off the vibes of an industrial sink.
While she was nice, we didn’t get along at all. She would stand outside her house and do calisthenics, but no one seemed to interact with her. The day she popped the question to leave I excitedly told her safe travels, and that was that.
It was after that event Speakeasy became exclusive. No more random villagers (except for the camper they forced upon me who just wouldn’t leave after three weeks of overstaying his welcome). I started using amiibo cards I thought I would never use from years ago to get fun characters in my town- namely Rosie and Stitches.
It was an easy way to get characters I liked, but for every good amiibo card I had there were five others I didn’t like. A lot of them for lack of a better term were undesirable. I didn’t want Gigi the purple frog who looked like a hot mess. Harry the hippo in a camo shirt with more facial hair than a grown man? Absolutely not on the Speakeasy A-list. Limberg? Don’t get me started.
I was lucky in the past games getting favorites such as Lucky, Pietro, and Julian in my town without having to do anything at all. This time around going to the random islands to potentially find your “dream” villager became my stand-in for gatcha games.
I wanted to test my luck to see if I could get any of the new characters and get the people I wanted off the island in boxes ASAP. Besides, it was fun seeing who was popular. The new characters were obviously, but old fan-favorites like Bob and Roland remained relevant.
I spent my nook miles on nook tickets that let me fly to other islands and scout a new neighbor. While the nook miles were plentiful, there were times I went to at least ten islands and still didn’t see one villager I would consider worthy of coming to my town.
It all changed when I went to a bamboo island I had never seen before with a fluffy little sheep who needed a new home.
Dom immediately caught my attention- he looked like a crybaby, but spoke like a jock. He loved all the cutesy outfits I gave him and called me a gamer. There was never a dull moment with him around. Not long after I got two octopi- Marina and Zucker. While Zucker grew on me, Marina packed her bags and flew the coop not long after her arrival. Speakeasy was filling up fast and I was doing good keeping the town full of villagers that got along.
As the island grew so did the opportunities on it- the Able Sisters saw an opportunity and ran with it. I wanted to collect all the clothes and make different fits. The Alice in Wonderland look took me by storm.
Soon enough the (only?) musician, or at least the man with a monopoly on the aircheck industry stopped by. K.K. Slider himself. Tom Nook was quaking upon his arrival. Tom Nook finally gave me a thumbs up on all the hard work I had put in and said Yeah, we’ve made it big time baby.
Apparently Speakeasy’s popularity was only a ploy for Tom Nook to meet his idol. I couldn’t enjoy his concert one bit and felt absolutely betrayed. This was supposed to be my vacation and my town- and what? All for some dog to stop by and play a song and howl at the end? Okay, I see how it is.
Tom Nook and I terminated our buisness partnership shortly after. I had nothing left to gain from carrying out his tasks.
With this realization upon me, I realized I should invite some friends over (and not the virtual kind). I’m talking the real deal. If K.K. Slider had a chokehold on the music industry I could at least try to rival him as a DJ. He might have acoustics, but I have electronics.
Nevertheless Speakeasy had a solid flow of tourists both for my shows and just to hang out. Showing off my island was fun. I mainly did local play in the past games if I was lucky enough to bump into someone that had a Nintendo DS and a copy of the game. Thankfully almost everyone I knew was playing this time around.
Other towns had museums, but Speakeay’s had the most butterflies. Tom Nook couldn’t take the museaum away from me. Blathers was in charge there, and maybe he would be the one to help me make it big.
Besides, I had a career as a DJ to pursue.
Will I ever return from my vacation on Speakeasy? Or will I end up making it my new home if I make it big? Stay tuned!
All screenshots taken by yours truly.