Animal Crossing: New Horizons has come at the perfect time. We’re all stuck inside with COVID-19 being the only thing anyone can talk about. That is, until you delve into the Animal Crossing community.

Discussion is blooming in the community now that the game is finally out, and people are loving it. People are sharing things every day, from funny experiences with villagers to showing off the look of their town. It’s the community to be in if you’re looking for an escape from what’s going on in our world. However, this can be a little dangerous, especially for those who time traveled to achieve their look - as you may be subjected to backlash by fans.

There’s a debate in the Animal Crossing community about time traveling: should or shouldn’t you do it? As a previous time traveler, I can give both sides of the argument - since I am personally refusing to time travel in New Horizons despite doing it in every other game.

If you don't know what time traveling is, let me get you up to speed.

Animal Crossing is a game that is played in real time. If it's 6 p.m. in the real world, it's 6 p.m. in Animal Crossing. Certain activities, like waiting for projects to be built - like bridges and inclines - and having different stock of items in shops are time locked, and won't change until the next day. People who time travel avoid this wait by changing the time on their Nintendo Switch system to trick the game into thinking that they're playing on a different day. With that out of the way, here's why you should time travel, and why you shouldn't.

The Should

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Relax, I won't take jabs at your play-style.

Since I discovered the time traveling technique back when I was a child with Animal Crossing: Wild World, it’s fair to say that my overall Animal Crossing experience has heavily included its usage. In fact, before New Horizons, the last time I stopped and smelled the roses in an Animal Crossing game was Wild World.

Time traveling makes Animal Crossing faster paced. There’s no need to wait for deliveries to come in real time or waiting for new clothes and furniture to be delivered the next day. You’re also not time-locked for bugs and fish either.

For those who don’t see the point in waiting, the idea of projects getting done quicker or building up collections in their own time, rather than in accordance to the real-life clock, makes time traveling a no-brainer. Essentially, you can progress at your own desired pace. This was especially true for me with New Leaf; once I was dead-set on making my town look like something out of the Dream Suite, I managed to complete the good majority of my town in 3 real-life days - which is nothing for an Animal Crossing player.

Time traveling is for people who are either extremely impatient or for those who don’t have a lot of time to play in the first place. You can still relax and go at a slower pace if you want, but as a time traveler you know just how fast you can go if you really want to. While this sounds like a dream, truth be told, time traveling is hard work. I would say it’s the more stressful way to play. After all, you’re dead set on getting items, and fast. When you’re on a rampage to get items, you stop for nothing to get to your goal. It’s almost like a speed-run with no end. Nonetheless, you get the exact same amount of satisfaction as any other Animal Crossing player – you just see the results much quicker.

The Shouldn’t

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Appreciating the frog duo.

Not time traveling really gives you the chance to get engulfed by the amount of charm Animal Crossing really has to offer.

Sure, I have my daily tasks that I grind to achieve every day, but each day on my island has so much to offer other than just reaping rewards. Rather than rushing past my villagers on my way to the shops to get my items and time travel to the next day, I can actually spend time with them after shopping and appreciate them for who they are. I can hang around for surprise encounters like balloons and rare bugs. I can really take my time and think about what my house and island can look like.

When playing with real time, it feels like I can really make the most out of each day that I play. There’s a lot to offer out of each day, which is the reason why during this quarantine period, I’ve only played Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It just gives my real-life day an extra dimension.

There’s not a lot to say about the shouldn’t of time traveling. There’s an indescribable charm that comes with playing every day, especially during these times when the world feels uncertain. It’s a different experience to any game. There’s no need to grind for long amounts of time because the longer you play, the more you feel in touch with the relaxing virtual atmosphere - like the weather effect and hourly music - subsequently distracting you from any kind of grind you plan on going on.

My Final Verdict

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Let's talk about this.

There’s nothing wrong with playing either mode. It’s all down to personal preference, after all. However, a big put-off for time traveling for me is the fact that New Horizons is the first Animal Crossing game without an in-game clock. There isn’t an option in the game itself to change the time and date – the only way to time travel would be to change the time and date on the Switch’s system itself - which makes me think that time traveling was intended to be less of an option. Events also seem to be time-locked no matter if you time travel or not, since they are to be downloaded as updates at the same time as everyone else.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons feels different to every other Animal Crossing game I’ve played. The emphasis on taking your time and belonging in a community is more than prominent, be it in-game or seeing all the hubbub about it online. It’s because of this that it feels natural to play at the same time as everyone else and savor each day. At the same time though, people who time travel give those that don’t a sneak peek for what their islands have the potential to look like in the future. Whether you like it or not, these are the people who give others the inspiration for design ideas – mainly because they’ve got many more items that others don’t. They give a new and improved look into the game that others can strive to be like in their own time.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has come at the perfect time. We all need something wholesome to keep ourselves sane from the world we’re living in right now. Whether you want to take the chance to treat yourself each day to new buildings and updates to your island or do everything in a matter of a few weeks, at the end of the day, it’s up to you how you play.