Animal Crossing: Acorns & Pine Cones Are Revitalizing Bored Players
Abram Buehner
A college of Isabelle for the fall update
A college of Isabelle for the fall update
Animal Crossing: New Horizons has become an absolute phenomenon in the Nintendo community. Even six months removed from launch, social media and forums are still teeming with players diligently logging into their islands each day. And, assuming that they aren't time traveling, players in the Northern Hemisphere have some new features to look forward to this week as September begins. While seasonal additions like pine cones and acorns may seem minor, they actually revitalize some of New Horizons' forgotten mechanics.

Creatures of Habit

A screenshot of Isabelle talking about the Fall update
A screenshot of Isabelle talking about the Fall update
As any Animal Crossing player is well aware, daily play sessions usually settle into a routine, one that is much narrower than at launch. Perhaps you first check your shops, find the Bell rock, chat with villagers and then move onto the day's main goal. This is fairly expected of late-game Animal Crossing play once your island is established.
The more playtime one has in New Horizons, the shorter that routine becomes. After all, most of the game's activities are geared toward those first few months of play. In the early game, that rotation probably included more activities that became obsolete with time, like shaking trees for resources. Early on, it's a compelling task, but the well of crafting recipes that require resources from trees runs dry for most players before too long. Rather than risk another wasp sting for an unnecessary stick, players may choose not the engage with it at all.
However, September's new features may provide a reason to stock up on medicine. Players throughout the Hemisphere will be braving the bees each morning like it's March again, as new crafting materials -- acorns and pine cones -- can now fall out of trees. These, in turn, can be used to craft new items. This simple addition adds to Animal Crossing's moment-to-moment experience and does a lot to revitalize the player routine.
Of course, there are also new bugs and fish to track down, which further encourages players to return to systems they may have abandoned, bolstering that range of daily activities. After all, no one is going to forgo a completed museum, and getting back into that saddle requires more deliberate, far-reaching play than late-game Animal Crossing necessitates.

A Change of Pace

A screenshot of fishing in Animal Crossing
A screenshot of fishing in Animal Crossing
It’s refreshing to see the game reinvigorated in these subtle ways with each passing season and month. Animal Crossing is a life simulator, and life inherently becomes routine. Jumping into the experience to run through the same short list of activities each day becomes rote, so having simple reasons to interface with more of New Horizons is refreshing. Once again, shaking trees and fishing has material value, even for dedicated players who have logged in every day since March.
September's new content may seem simple, but to fans of the series, it's a reason to play even more. Animal Crossing fatigue can set in when performing the same tasks each day, so any excuse to break these habits livens up the experience. These steady, minor content additions are the lifeblood of the series, and what keep it fun month after month. Plus, there is a fall update in the works and some tantalizing content that has been datamined, so players can be assured that there's even more coming to New Horizons soon.