The first Animal Crossing: New Horizons event is proof that there's a fine line between grind and routine

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Like a great many of you, I've spent the past few days in Animal Crossing: New Horizons attempting to temper homicidal tendencies towards Zipper T. Bunny. We're on a secluded island, I own an axe, and I've spent weeks bribing my villagers into friendship. I genuinely believe that they would look the other way on this one. Zipper T. Bunny has, after all, polluted our lakes, land, and skies with eggs; he does it under the cover of the night too, so he must know that what he is doing is wrong. 

The residents of Ori Isle just want to get back to fishing and bug catching in the morning, collecting fossils and talking to visitors in the afternoon, and tending to the forests and foliage in the evening. It's a comfortable routine that I've enjoyed settling into. Sadly, the week-long hunt from hell has disrupted our carefully constructed routines by filling islands, and those accessed with mystery tickets, with six different types of eggs. Hundreds of them. They are everywhere. We have been under siege with holiday cheer, and no amount of Animal Crossing: New Horizons updates can fix my discontent – it's far too late for that now. 

Counting down the days

(Image credit: Nintendo)

We're supposed to use the eggs acquired to craft limited edition items, gaudy furniture, nightmarish items of clothing. The eggs have effectively replaced regular crafting materials, many of which I'm in short supply of after trying to take advantage of a couple of Hot Item crafting opportunities. I've caught just four fish in three days; after spending a week trying to catch a Stringfish to no avail this feels like the continuation of a sick joke straight from the desk of Resident Services. Factor in the degradation of tools and the constant whirring noises of overhead balloons masking my delightful town tunes, and it's difficult to shift the idea that Nintendo has carefully engineered disinterest to force us to take a little break from island life to reconnect with reality.

There's a lot of reasons to be frustrated with the way the Animal Crossing: New Horizons bunny day event is playing out, but I think much of the ire stems from its incredible ability to shatter even the most rudimentary of routines. New Horizons launched on March 20 and, in that time, we have all got to work getting through the prologue, which involves setting the foundations of the island in place, and cleaning it up enough so that Tom Nook is able to trick K.K. Slider into adding a new tour date to his already manic schedule. That's been achieved by collecting seashells, knocking on wood and rocks with blunt instruments, harvesting foreign fruits, terrorising Blathers with exotic insects, and delivering batches of Sea Bass to the Nook twins. It's a ridiculous reflection of the routines that govern our lives, but a routine nonetheless.

(Image credit: Nintendo)
Who is Zipper T. Bunny?

(Image credit: Nintendo)

There's something very suspicious about that bunny, that suit, and his behaviour... so, who is Zipper T. Bunny really in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?

I've collected my Nook Miles reward for successfully returning to New Horizons every day since March 20 without fail. This weekend, I let that streak slip. I just couldn't be bothered to engage with my island in its current state of disrepair. Animal Crossing is no stranger to seasonal events, but they are often treated as an aside – as an optional activity for players, and for those who wish to see their favourite neighbours interacting under different circumstances. With this egg event, Nintendo is signalling that its seasonal events are going to be all encompassing. It's as if it has learned the worst lessons from its time with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – there's a fine line to be walked between a grind and a routine. 

All we can hope now is that Nintendo is listening, watching the feedback, and adjusting coming seasonal celebrations accordingly. They should enhance the core rhythms of play, not obscure them. At a time where I should be earning some serious coin to invest in some major renovations on my island I'm barely able to move for all the bunny day paraphernalia. Perhaps this is a matter of bad timing – Nintendo hardly expected millions of Animal Crossing players to be stuck inside 24/7 during the first weeks following the release of New Horizons, although it should have at least anticipated that swapping out critical resources while so many players are in the middle of construction projects would have been tiresome.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons works because it makes a certain type of busywork fun. For example, and I don't know about you, but I'd much rather be focused on wasting my evenings fishing and collecting petal blossom resources and recipes right now. On April 13, everything will go back to normal, although the pressure is on for Nintendo to ease up next time it wants us to celebrate the changing of seasons.  

With a few days left to go, here's all of the Animal Crossing: New Horizons bunny day recipes you can find before the event comes to an end. 

Josh West
UK Managing Editor, GamesRadar+

Josh West is the UK Managing Editor of GamesRadar+. He has over 10 years experience in online and print journalism, and holds a BA (Hons) in Journalism and Feature Writing. Prior to starting his current position, Josh has served as GR+'s Features Editor and Deputy Editor of games™ magazine, and has freelanced for numerous publications including 3D Artist, Edge magazine, iCreate, Metal Hammer, Play, Retro Gamer, and SFX. Additionally, he has appeared on the BBC and ITV to provide expert comment, written for Scholastic books, edited a book for Hachette, and worked as the Assistant Producer of the Future Games Show. In his spare time, Josh likes to play bass guitar and video games. Years ago, he was in a few movies and TV shows that you've definitely seen but will never be able to spot him in.