All of my villagers are gathered outside the museum for the opening ceremony of The Roost café in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It's been a long time since I've celebrated the arrival of something new on Iced Tea island, and this moment feels especially emotional. Brewster and Blathers stand either side of Tom Nook as the entrepreneurial tanuki gives a speech to welcome the pigeon with a penchant for coffee and his cosy new establishment to the community.
One of Nook's remarks, in particular, makes this ceremony feel like such a milestone moment. "Our fine Iced Tea started with nothing more than a single tent," Nook says, "and just look at it now." I find myself unable to move past these words as I reflect back on just how much I've been through in the lead up to this point. From choosing the perfect little spot to set down my tent, right up to the introduction of Animal Crossing: New Horizons update 2.0, so much has changed since I first boarded that plane to experience Nook's getaway package. I've been through so much as I've moulded the sandy shores of my island into my own slice of paradise. And now, with the introduction of my old pal Brewster and his signature café - along with some other familiar faces - everything suddenly feels so complete.
The overwhelming volume of new features and items the update added had me reeling in the first few days. Nothing excites me more in the lead up to the release of the patch, though, than the prospect of seeing the return of The Roost. After all, me and Brewster? Well, we go way back. My love for Animal Crossing first began with the original game on GameCube and as my time with the series went on, the main cast of characters became closer to real childhood friends than virtual NPCs.
While I did dabble in Animal Crossing: Wild World, Animal Crossing: New Leaf consumed me more than any other iteration that followed the 2001 and I spent a lot of time in The Roost. I raced to visit the café everyday to see which character had pulled up a stool to have a brew, and some of my fondest memories were spent in that cosy little corner enjoying a cup of Blue Mountain, or serving up a special coffee to a visiting customer as the barista. Since I enjoyed going to the café so much in past games, there was no holding back my excitement about the prospect of seeing my dear old pal and his coffee establishment arrive on my island in New Horizons at long last - with an upgraded makeover for the Switch no less.
The way the update introduces Brewster to your island successfully only serves to build up my sense of anticipation all the more. Blathers is looking for a way to draw more interest to the museum, and what better way to do that than by inviting his old buddy with a love for coffee to come and set up a café? After spending most of my time on my island in much the same way for months, part of what I've been loving most about the update is the opportunity to have new goals to work towards. Instead of simply adding the café right away, the knowledgeable owl asks if you can hop on one of Kapp'n's boat tours to find Brewster.
It feels extra special that I get to see and spend time with another familiar face in order to find Brewster. Aboard Kapp'n's little motorboat, I well and truly ride the nostalgia wave as we head towards the island that will set the scene for the reunion I'm about to have with my feathered friend. For the first time in years, we're finally together again. He looks extra fuzzy thanks to the Switch's upgraded graphics, but it's still the same old pigeon I know so well. I'm not quite prepared for just how emotional it makes me to see him and know that he'll finally be on my island in a few days, doing what he does best.
A proper brew
Once Brewster has officially arrived, Blathers takes a moment during the opening ceremony to add a few words after Tom Nook. The wise owl talks about how he's old friends with Brewster and expresses joy at the fact that his pal is joining the museum to serve the Iced Tea Island residents with his unique blends of coffee. Their long-time friendship is reflected in an adorable little photo hanging up on the wall of the café, along with other framed snaps that show off the New Leaf café I fondly recall so well, and everyone's favorite guitar strumming dog, K.K. Slider.
Nintendo has done such a wonderful job of adding in little details like this that stay true to the legacy of the series' most beloved characters and call back to the earlier games. As a long-time player, it's made my reunion with these familiar faces all the more enjoyable and heart-warming. Brewster, for example, has always had a bit of a history with gyroids, so it's only fitting that he introduces us to the new decorative little additions during our first encounter with him. Gyroids can also even be seen tucked away at the back of The Roost, which a sweet additional touch.
When I finally walk into the café for the very first time and soak in all these little details, I'm welcomed with the gentle notes of The Roost's classic theme. The soft piano music transports me back to that safe, cosy little spot in New Leaf that I spent so much time in, and my island suddenly feels more like home than ever. The café fills me with so much nostalgia and love for the dear coffee-bean brewing bird friend and my island really does feel truly complete.
Opening the Roost feels like such a milestone moment, and it makes me stop and appreciate just how much I've been through and how far my island has come since I first set up camp. I began my adventures as the world was changing at the height of lockdown, and he sandy shores and my fuzzy friends brought me so much comfort during some very tough times. Even now, Animal Crossing: New Horizons continues to provide me with a virtual space where I can take a breather and escape everything - if only for a little while. From a single tent to Brewster's café, it's been quite a journey. I can't help but think about how apt Nook's words are during the opening ceremony. Just look at my island now.
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