In the second part of our finale episode, we catch up with four more guests from the season, who've returned to detail the shifts and changes on their own tiny islands.
First up is RyanFTW, a well-known ACNH streamer and content creator on Twitch and YouTube. Those of you who have watched Ryan for months know a lot about what's changed for him the past few months, so if you want to hear new thoughts and experiences you haven't heard on his streams and videos, you'll just have to listen to this podcast episode. LOL Spoiler alert: he's doing great.
Next we catch up with Annabelle, who has been developing her tiny island at the mature age of seven. Yes, that's human years. This precocious young person doesn't have a boss to tell her how to do anything on her island, and she also doesn't have a parent there to do the boring adult work of preparing plots for new villagers. Ha! Now you have a clue where this interview is headed.
Jazmine Dudley was our first seasoned time traveler and our only Southern Hemisphere-island guest this season, so I was extra-keen to know what the passing of time has been like on her island. And finally, Dr. Emily Flynn-Jones, curator of a perfectly witchy-themed island, is back with her reflections on this spooky season. And she tells about the upcoming issue of the The Canadian Game Studies Association journal Loading, which will be all about ACNH!
Thank you so much for listening to and engaging with this podcast the last few months. I've enjoyed chatting with some of you and hope that you enjoy a lovely autumn season, both in and out of the game. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay tuned (follow the pod on Twitter and Instagram) to find out what's next for Tiny Island Diary.
Because I don't even know yet.
Friends: I apologize to the 9 or so of you who downloaded the first live mix of this episode, which was technically the third mix. It was still messed up. I re-cut the audio mix two more times, and GarageBand foiled me over and over again. I think I have finally tricked the whole system of Zoom --> GarageBand --> Anchor into giving me an episode that doesn't make me cringe. If you did listen to the first mix and think it sounded like a conversation with Satan, try downloading this new one and you should be set. Kind of hilarious that I included the words "ingenuity" and "resourcefulness" in the episode title. I should have also included "persistence" and "tenacity". LOL
In the first finale episode of Season 1, guests from previous episodes stop in to update us on life on their tiny islands.
Episode 9's Sarah Vines is first up, with a whole lot of Halloween discussion. Since we recorded her episode, Sarah has guested on the Breaking Bells podcast and bought a Nintendo Switch console to replace her Switch Lite, with a possible end result of streaming or otherwise sharing some ACNH content of her own! No pressure, but... I can't wait until she does this. LOL The dream address for Sarah's island, Luna Loo, is DA-0858-9704-4662.
William Shipley, our very first guest, returns next to tell us about the flattening and partial resurrection of his island, Elgin. Tiny Island Diary makes a new friend, thanks to William (I won't ruin the surprise -- you'll have to listen to find out who this guest is), and we get anecdotal validation of the existence of the so-called "villager void" in ACNH.
Kelly Griese from Episode 8 has done an island redesign and started an alt account on her island, because for some of us, a 1,600 maximum storage limit is a real struggle! She shares exactly how her alt account got the most beefed-up house in the fewest days possible (less than a week from a tent to two stories and a basement!). The dream address for Kelly's island, Amity, is DA-2577-9112-1962.
Finally, Episode 2's Ash Hall expresses fondness for the wolf villagers and explains a unique purpose for all the toilets and toilet-like products that the game gives us.
Imagine my laptop as the equivalent of a podcast DIY mini workbench. This week, one tool was malfunctioning and caused quite a delay: Garageband. It was doing some of the weirdest things with audio files that it had never, ever done before. I am getting a head start on interviews for the season finale episode next week to head off any possible delays. But thanks for your patience as I'm a couple days late getting this episode posted. I'm so grateful that in ACNH, the tools never fail!
Also: U.S. listeners -- VOTE!
Saknas det avsnitt?
This week, we welcome Jae Lin (they / them), who is ready to answer my many questions about and generally discuss the experiences of gender and identity in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Jae is Programs Manager at the new Games and Harassment Hotline, a text support hotline for anyone who makes or plays games.
We spent much of our time exploring several aspects of the safe haven that so many of us enjoy in ACNH, which is a reprieve for those of us for whom IRL can feel risky, because of our gender, race, or gender expression. In ACNH, you can walk around at night without fear of harm, you can swim and dive and feel comfortable around others, and every villager accepts you for exactly who you are. What a world!
Jae also helped to bring clarity to some terms that those of us who are not trans hear and might sort of understand but still misuse, such as gender dysphoria, transgender and cisgender, and queer.
The Animal Crossing franchise has come a loooong way over the years in providing more flexible ways to create your character's physical identity in the game, from skin, hair, and eye color to the availability of each of those options to every player, regardless of gender. Buuuut you still must choose between gender binary avatars before you can access the first menu of those options, so there is still room for Nintendo to grow. And we must keep giving them feedback to encourage them to continue to create a game with as few limitations on players as possible.
Jae is on Twitter as @enviplaysgames and Instagram as @doodlemealive. They mentioned OutYouth as the sponsor of an annual Trans Night Swim in our home city of Austin, Texas.
The Games and Online Harassment Hotline is a free, text message-based, confidential emotional support hotline.
Text SUPPORT to 23368 to get started. We are open 4pm – 7pm (Pacific) every Monday – Friday. USA only.
https://gameshotline.org/ and follow us @gameshotline on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
I was inspired to think more about how accessible Animal Crossing: New Horizons is -- and isn't -- after a blind friend downloaded Pocket Camp and found it virtually unplayable. ACNH is not Pocket Camp, and I couldn't begin to estimate how much better ACNH is for low-vision and blind gamers. I wanted to hear about playing ACNH from someone who is blind.
Enter Brandon Cole, a multi-hyphenate content creator (Twitch streamer, YouTuber, and podcaster), and accessibility consultant to gaming companies. Brandon says ACNH falls into a category of "accidentally accessible," due to its rich library of audio cues that give low-vision and blind players a sense of directionality and proximity. Some audio cues I recognized as a sighted player, like the whoosh of an incoming balloon and the sound of footfall on different floors and pavements. And some I didn't recognize, such as different size fish making differently-pitched sounds when they bite the lure! Ultimately, those attributes make more of the game playable for Brandon than most mainstream titles.
And yet... my take-away from this episode is how much better ACNH would be if Nintendo and all gaming companies considered the needs of all their players, not just those like me. Maybe it would help for Nintendo to hear from those of us with full vision and hearing and mobility, to encourage them to make their games fully and intentionally accessible to and playable by all.
You can find Brandon's content on Twitch, YouTube, Anchor, and Twitter.
I'm thrilled this week to interview Sarah Vines, one of the first people to engage as a listener with this podcast. Finally getting to talk with her in real time, as opposed to leaving comments and tweets for each other, was easy, and it comes through in the conversational nature of this episode.
We dissect Sarah's specific "found items" take on cottage core, discuss her serious anticipation of Halloween and pumpkin growing, and engage in literal potty talk... there's no better phrase for comparing the many types of bathroom fixtures that the game sends to us in beribboned boxes in the sky. I also get to the bottom of the grand fake-out bridge on Sarah's island, and we each share our made-up backstories about what's on the dry-erase board in Dobie's house and why.
Sarah's favorite YouTube resources for ACNH everything include NintenTalk, Nintendo Guru, Friend Of The Podcast and Previous Guest RyanFTW, Kang Gaming, Stale Cupcakes, and Console Caito.
The dream address for Sarah's tiny island, Luna Loo, is DA-0858-9704-4662. You can find Sarah on Twitter and Instagram.
Another week, another scheduling conflict, and another bonus episode for you! I'll just get to my final question in this bonus episode: How do you nurse your woe when a beloved villager leaves? Give me your advice. I'm in Sad Land about my latest villager switch-up and would prefer to feel less sad soon. Tell me your best advice on Twitter, Instagram, or through email! I need it!
I expect we will be back on track with the interview-length episodes you've come to expect by next week, but let's just see what 2020 has yet in store for us. LOL Take good care, and talk soon.
Eight full episodes into the first season of Tiny Island Diary, I present to you the first bonus episode. It's brief, and there's no guest interview. But I share some thoughts and ask lots and lots of questions.
Before all that though -- let's remember that eight finished episodes means eight excellent interviews. So I've recorded a brief set of ICYMI suggestions, spotlighting each of the first eight episodes based on... wait for it... your villager personality preferences. Which means if you enjoy your smug villagers most, I will match you up with episodes already available for your consumption that I think fit your tastes. How's that for #ACNH content curation???
The second half of this bonus episode contains my extended diary entry for the past week, and lots of questions for you! I had some curious experiences and wonder and wonder and wonder some more. Please satisfy my wondering with your answers, as always on Twitter and Instagram, and via email.
As always, be safe, stay healthy, and I'll catch up with you next week! xox Antoinette
This week's guest, Kelly Griese, is the Senior Investor Education Coordinator with the Indiana Secretary of State. You might think that we spent the whole episode talking about the blog post she wrote for Indiana MoneyWise Matters called, "The Economics Of Animal Crossing." But that was just a small part of the total conversation, because it turns out Kelly is an avid gamer. And while she has only been playing ACNH for two months, her island design and knowledge of the game suggest that she is really. into. Animal. Crossing. Which makes her a *perfect* guest for this podcast!
After discussing how ACNH provides an ideal backdrop for important conversations with kids about finance, I shared lessons learned from jumping into the fast-paced secondary markets that have sprung up around the game. We quickly pivoted into island design, the neat benefit of dream addresses (like the incredible horror-themed island Underworld, at DA-9184-7436-2844), and who is responsible for the sometimes truly excellent character dialogue. Someone exceptionally woke is on Bubbles' writing team, that's all we know, and we are here for it..
While we got into some pretty rigorous discussion over which NPC would make the best IRL boyfriend, I think I'm still Team Pascal. They way he looks at me through the fence as we swim in parallel is soooo romantic (cue the "love" reaction with a giant heart over my head, please).
You can contact Kelly on social media:
Twitter – https://twitter.com/IndMoneyWise
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/inmoneywise/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IndianaMoneyWise
This episode was recorded on Friday, September 4.
Our guest this week has been in the ACNH world since May, and in the world in general for just seven years now. Annabelle is our youngest guest so far, by far, and her favorite game is Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Her game play has remained untainted: she's never played the game with anyone else who's playing it (meaning she occasionally gets help from Mom & Dad, neither of whom play ACNH), so she isn't influenced by anyone or anything. She hasn't taken dream tours of other islands and gotten impatient to turn her island into a tribute to Disneyland or Harry Potter, and she hasn't rushed to download whatever cottagecore path is super hot this week. She doesn't even know that terraforming awaits her.
Annabelle and I spent much of our time exploring the many surprises, both big and small, that she's encountered in the game. And we do a fair bit of wondering what might happen next. It was tricky to navigate this interview without telling her lots of things that she might enjoy discovering on her own, but it turned out OK. I did level with her that anything that needs doing on the island: populating the museum, paying for bridges, deciding where every villager will live -- it's all on her. It's a lot of responsibility for a seven-year-old, but I think you'll agree after listening to this episode that she's up for it.
Annabelle's tip, which she calls a "lie," regards daily visits to the Nook Stop booth FYI.
Get ready to be charmed.
This week, we hear all about guest Rusty Riels' tiny island. Rusty is possibly the guest (so far) whose natural approach to #ACNH seems the most familiar to me: he's task-oriented and a self-professed "completionist," so earning badges for 5,000th bug and fish caught were particularly sweet (and we discuss tips for finding the elusive giraffe stag). And Rusty plays for the total escape from adult and pandemic life -- wear what you want, do what you want or don't, it's OK to not socially distance, no pressure and no expectations.
We discuss the irony of our tiny islands bustling with more life than IRL city downtowns during this pandemic, debate the desirability of an in-game wedding, and how anthropomorphizing our villagers is very similar to how we anthropomorphize our IRL pets. And Rusty might be the very first guest we've had who has refused to let any of his villagers move! (Too bad there's no response in the game like, "Why are you asking again? The answer is still no.")
Rusty's go-to for #ACNH everything is the Animal Crossing Reddit and about 7-8 of the subreddits.
Also, as a follow-up to listener engagement, thank you to @lockleth on Twitter for sharing a photo of the sweet turtle area of your island. And Karen in Florida emailed me to suggest three more YouTubers to watch: AbdallahSmash, TagBackTV, and MayorMori.
Jazmine Dudley, content creator at YouTube's PrettyBrown&Nerdy and the podcast Nerd Talk, lifelong gamer, and AC player since the original Animal Crossing, joins us this week to talk about our favorite popular game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Those of you who've played every AC installment since 2002 will recognize, as Jazmine does, Nintendo's efforts toward diversifying character skin tone, hair styles, and facial features. And you also know, as in most diversity and inclusion work, there's more to be done. Jazmine is our first guest who time travels, so if you're like me and new to the practicality of time travel, you'll enjoy this brief explanation and summary of pros and cons. We discuss the social opportunities of the game as a boon to mental health, especially during a socially-distant pandemic.
Jazmine recommends Twitter in general, and specifically the official Nintendo account, and crossinginpiration on Instagram for island design inspiration. I'm personally curious now to try trading my DIY's on Nookazon, finally cleaning up the 40 DIY's littering my beach and making my way into Isabelle's good graces again.
YouTube | https://www.youtube.com/user/PrettyBrownAndNerdy
Twitter | https://twitter.com/pbntweets
SoundCloud | https://soundcloud.com/user-5378061
This episode was recorded on Friday, August 14, 2020.
This week, we welcome guest RyanFTW to Tiny Island Diary. Ryan is a popular host of both a Twitch TV channel and a YouTube Channel and is known for his laid-back and family-friendly Animal Crossing: New Horizons content. As an early-morning player myself, it's especially soothing to watch videos where the 5 a.m. music and morning routine are familiar!
In this episode, Ryan and I discuss pretty much every aspect of his widely viewed villager hunt videos, dissect how valuable ACNH is for the mental health of grown-ups around the world, and hear a tip for how to handle all the DIY recipe cards that clutter up a section of my beach and cause Isabelle chronic heartburn. And I finally get to share my fictional, ill-fated, in-game romance with Pascal, who's destined to swim only alongside me, separated by a socially distant fence after our daily interaction. ("Feel this...")
You can hear very clearly in our discussion Ryan's commitment to his viewers, and how dedicated he is to serving up fresh and fun content and sharing so much of his tiny island. The villager hunt video that sparked the many questions I asked in this podcast episode is Hunting For The RAREST Villagers on YouTube, though Ryan has chronicled two more villager hunts since (he streamed a villager hunt just hours before our podcast recording!).
Follow Ryan on various social media platforms:
Twitch | https://www.twitch.tv/ryanftw
Twitter | https://www.twitter.com/its_ryanftw
Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/its_ryanftw
Discord | https://discord.gg/WAJGBdX
This episode was recorded on Saturday, August 8, 2020.
What happens when you mash up Animal Crossing: New Horizons with Law & Order: Special Victims Unit? You'll find out in this dark and delightful episode of Tiny Island Diary with Dr. Emily Flynn-Jones, creative director of indie game development firm Killjoy Games.
Inspired by a piece by Gabby DaRienzo, Emily discusses unique ways in which our tiny islands give us space to mourn in this very strange time. But wait, there's more: ACNH is versatile enough to create an entire world of, say... witchcraft.
Taking ACNH to dark places makes sense when you add up some of the creepy features Nintendo built into the game. From your first invitation to Harv's remote island (he just wants to take your picture, really!) to a Happy Home Academy rep watching you while you sleep, there are lots of clues that, under the surface, ACNH is designed to follow you to whatever weird, wild, fantastical, complex place you want to create in the game. (Lava pit wedding, anyone?)
Emily has found the Animal Crossing channel on the Wholesome Games Discord to be helpful for links, resources, player tips, and artwork inspired by ACNH.
This episode was recorded on Saturday, August 1, 2020.
Season 1 continues with guest Ash Hall, for whom #ACNH is a welcome reprieve from heaviness in their personal activism, professional work, and the pandemic-influenced world at large. Ash and I met as progressive activists and community organizers in Austin, Texas. While Ash has been a generous collaborator, patient teacher, and steady guide in our activism, it is a bonus to share a fondness for Animal Crossing and to see their values cultivated on their tiny virtual island.
In this episode of Tiny Island Diary, we explore the psyche of grouchy villagers, marvel over the accuracy of wardrobe suggestions the game makes for us, and laugh over the many in-game puns, both clever and questionable. I'm reassured to learn I'm not the only person who thinks in-game swimming is fantastic, and we appreciate the remarkable detail that Nintendo programmed into this remarkable game.
One of Ash's favorite ACNH resources is the Facebook group Animal Crossing New Horizons Friend Codes & Community, almost 100,000 members strong, and available for you to join if you're also on Facebook.
Ash and I mused about what might be coming and going in the August update, and after our recording, I found this update, courtesy of IGN.
This episode was recorded on Sunday, July 26, 2020.
The first season of Tiny Island Diary starts strong and sweet, like guest William Shipley, a violinist and violin teacher near Boston, MA. I met William a few years ago on Instagram, and we recently discovered our mutual appreciation for #ACNH.
In this episode, he shares how #ACNH offers safe escape during COVID times, what it was like to celebrate a pandemic birthday on his tiny island, and why Sable is the true OG hustler. I start to realize how popular my villager Sherb really is, and we hear from William how different it is to evaluate Redd's art offerings when your real-life partner is an oil painter and studied fine art in college and pretty much knows every item on Redd's ship. (Busted!)
In prepping for this recording, I watched part of an emulator let's-play of the original Animal Crossing for GameCube, which was the only other game from the series that William has played. And the two sources that William goes to for all things #ACNH are Kang Gaming and RyanFTW (both also on YouTube).
This episode was recorded on Friday, July 17, 2020.
Tiny Island Diary is a new weekly podcast that celebrates the sweet virtual life of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Making happy moments while a pandemic rages around us is a requirement of modern life, so if you also delight in finding a vampire squid on your midnight swim, and cradling that arapaima with all the love in your heart, you've found your podcast.
Tell us what you enjoy most about ACNH this week on Twitter or via email.
We will back back next week with a guest and a full episode! Subscribe and join us.