Saying goodbye to original Arcadia

With the milestone of achieving the third star rating and the first KK concert came the feature so many of us were racing ahead through those first two weeks to unlock: the divine power of terraforming.

While I was impatient to get to the good part and what I saw as the real meat and potatoes of this new Animal Crossing iteration (seriously, what was even with those early media articles, calling it “beating the game” and “the end credits”?), I was very tentative in actually using the terraforming abilities until I figured out what I actually wanted to do.

Everyone has their own approaches to terraforming and different relationships with their islands. My relationship with my island was that I appreciated it for being the island I chose at the start of the game. When I chose it, I recognised aspects of it that I considered lucky, or decided I liked, such as the little beach beside the airport, the river formation it came with, the large rocks in the northern ends of the beaches, the blue airport, the native apples. I respected what my island came with, and I had made good memories in our first days together. So I didn’t want to carelessly erase parts of what I saw as its identity in any brash decisions. Am I sentimental or what? 😂

I did have an extremely vague general plan, which I had carried all the way from before I started my island, that I would elevate my whole island by one level. This is most definitely an artefact of having played New Leaf, but my town didn’t feel “developed” and “safe” (from what, the elements??) until it was elevated up off the beach level. I guess I also sort of thought that having a town down on sea level that opened out to the beach and ocean would just make it turn into a tropical beach town? 🤨 And I wanted a more “built up” vibe than that.

This post will basically be about the time when I was pondering how to go about terraforming, while trying to record and preserve my pre-terraforming island as best as I could in pictures. As well as the usual pics of regular progress and goings on here and there, of course.

I did wet my feet a little in making some silly paving designs to flex my newfound power.

I spruced up the front of my house with some paving, too, though I wasn’t sure how much effort I should put into landscaping considering everything may move. I also didn’t have any strong inclinations to landscape it any particular way. I don’t think I was about to embark on a giant walled-in estate of red flowers again anytime soon. (Although I can definitely see signs of that starting to happen anyway 😆)

Inside, my home was coming along a bit more, too.

I had a Zen-style room in the back, and experimented with some cherry blossom items.

Over by the pond, I tried to make things cosier by adding some closer trees and a wooden bridge leading over to the “island”. The first picture in the post is taken on this bridge, too.

Speaking of the island-inside-my-island, did I ever mention how disorienting it was to navigate? It looked pretty cool on the map and the idea of there being an island was cute, but it was divided between two tiers of land and more often than not I got confused crossing it 😆

In an effort to keep my money trees organised, I cleared some space in front of Bam’s house and planted them in a row. This was also around the time when there was a rumour there was a pattern to when money trees did the big money drop and I was trying to keep track and figure it out.

Off to the right there you can see the remnants of Bunny season, when I figured out you could place two fence parts diagonally near each rock and it would be enough to keep you in place while farming ores.

This was the swinging bench area I had behind Bam’s house, and some rustic garden items to spruce things up.

I do really like some of these early photos of my Ables sisters’. It wasn’t great where it was (in an awkward row with the Nooklings’ and aside from that kind of in the middle of nowhere), but it had space and foliage in front to frame it nicely in a way that I can’t really achieve anymore.

And I took some of my favourite villager photos here 😊

This is a spot that likely wasn’t going to change, but here’s a photo of me chilling in my favourite beach spot with a tasty plate of turnips.

One of the items I got early on from Gulliver was the Statue of Liberty. I rarely see it from the side, so I figured why not put it facing out to sea?

And while we’re at it, here’s a clip of me deciding to go for that balloon. Will I get it???

I went around town to photograph all my villager houses and their little gardens. In the top row: Bam, Bubbles. In the bottom row: Rodeo, Annalisa, Huck. I didn’t really worry about Fauna and Melba, whose houses were way back in the wilderness of the north-eastern corner of the island, where I hadn’t really grown attached to them yet.

I also took a couple evenings to do this…

If you know, you know 😝 (And if you don’t know: mapping!)

Here was an attempt of a pre-terraforming tour, in which I quickly get distracted by wanting to know what Bam was thinking. I did put that sand castle to good use though. It’s still there today on my eastern beach!

In a different villager interaction, I came across this conversation between Purrl and Annalisa, who was asking advice on how to be more interesting. It was a wholesome exchange and Annalisa’s reactions were super cute!

Though it served to demonstrate how “friendly” dialogue in New Horizons has become compared to the bite different personalities had back in the olden days, as demonstrated in this gem of an interaction from one of Amy / A Forest Life’s Twitch streams (Thanks for letting me use this, Amy!), where Eloise out of the blue chews Melba out for not being “more sparkling”!

I get that the game designers are being extra mindful of people’s feelings and not wanting to offend anyone with the series’ increasing popularity, but I will still miss the crazy dialogue you could get from the villager personalities just being…who they were. …Not sure how I would take AC:GC levels of abuse though 🤣

Coming back from that tangent, I did some more multiplayer during this time as well:

I wifi’ed with Amy some more and met some very interesting new villagers on her island. Elvis I think you’re the only one to be jealous of here!

And we watched some fish TV.

I also visited my partner’s island some to hang out and admire his landscaping:

He was going hardcore fruit-orchards on his island, and it was pretty impressive seeing the wide expanses of rows of trees.

And there I took the cherry-blossom counterpart to the leafy bridge picture from earlier.

I also went mystery-island-hopping again and this time met Chief, who I brought home.

That seems to be about it for those post. If I missed anything I’ll have to stick them in later. To end with, here are some moonlit nighttime shots of a couple more spots around the island:

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