Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp–Chilly Jamboree

I’m a little late, but here’s a look back at the January Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp event. It began with a Tortimer-sponsored gardening challenge, and has been the case for the last few events, moved on to a gyroidite scavenger hunt and then a fishing tournament. There were also a few new animals introduced, a cool addition of an ice skating rink, and some new fortune cookies (including Gladys’s Camellia Cookie, which contained some beautiful, snowy pieces of furniture, including a new Japanese bridge which very much reminds me of the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Drum Bridge), plus some fun new clothing items. It was a little hard to get into the event right after Christmas, but by the time it was done, I discovered I loved the whole thing!

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp–The Jingle “Toy Day” Spectacular!

It’s the most wonderful time of year in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp! That time when Jingle, the black-nosed reindeer, comes to town to celebrate Toy Day! The Toy Day event just wrapped up, so here’s a look back at the fun event that lasted for the better part of a month.

It began with a gardening event. This time, the goal was to plant poinsettias to attract “elf hats” to the garden.

The rewards included furniture and clothing items, as well as bell ornaments (more on that later). I really liked displaying the Toy Day furniture items in the new cabin, which was added in the last update. And you can see the Toy Day gift for all, a snowy dollhouse, on display on the table:

The second part of the Toy Day event was a gyroidite hunt.

The prizes for that included clothing items, like this Christmas tree dress and star hood, and more bell ornaments. The end goal of collecting the bell ornaments was earning this beautiful blue Christmas tree:

There was also a special Toy Day fortune cookie, courtesy of Fauna, a deer who aspires to help Jingle deliver gifts. For the first time ever, I bought a five-pack of the cookies (three times!), and got tons of cool items (including a full Christmas market, light-up reindeer, and a gift sled), I used to decorate my campsite.

The final part of the event was a fishing tourney, and there were special holiday fish to catch…sweet shrimp, horsehair crabs, and lobster.

The rewards for the fishing tourney were different snowmen and snow sculptures:

There was also a special Leaf Ticket item…Jingle’s Holiday Balloon. I had been saving my Leaf Tickets for a long time to make sure I could get this item!

If all of that wasn’t enough, five new animals were added to the game as well, all with a wintry theme. My favorite it Aurora…I’ve been waiting for her to visit my campsite!

I like to think she’s Roald’s girlfriend. Speaking of Roald, I especially enjoyed dressing him in my new Christmas sweaters…he looks so pleasantly round and jolly in them!

I loved decorating and redecorating my campsite throughout the event…I don’t ever want to take the decorations down! I guess video games imitate life…

This has definitely been my favorite Pocket Camp event so far. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2019 holds, not just in Pocket Camp, but also for the new Animal Crossing game for the Nintendo Switch that’s scheduled to come out!

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp–The One-Year Anniversary Extravaganza!

The whole month of November, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has been celebrating their one-year anniversary! It’s been quite a series of events, and a lot of fun (and kept me occupied in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep because of my broken ankle!).

It started with a gardening event. Isabelle asked for help planting rosette seeds and catching flutterbows in preparation of the big party. The rewards included party tables and trays, decorations, and birthday candles (more on that in a moment).

The next part of the event was a gyroidite scavenger hunt. Finding the little Lloids allowed you to craft special party clothes, and also provided more opportunities to collect birthday candles. So what were these candles for? More party tables, and a special first anniversary cake!

There were lots of special clothes available during the event! An outfit to match Isabelle, a dress (and tuxedo) available for purchase with Leaf Tickets, and a whole party wardrobe that was easy to make with all the collected gyrodites!

There were special log-in bonuses, including Leaf Tickets, gold treats, and these cool puzzles tiles that make a fun picture at your campsite:

The third big part of the event was a fishing tourney, which introduced gold versions of the horse mackerel, olive flounder, football fish, and tuna. This time, the rewards included drink dispensers (lemonade and fruit punch), cheese and chocolate fondue fountains, and dessert trays.

One of the “gifts for all” was a music box that adds a new party memory to your scrapbook:

There was a big Leaf Ticket item that allows Isabelle to visit your campsite anytime. Also, note the cool fencing in the front, another gift for all, which I think really livens up the campsite:

And another gift…K.K. Slider’s party guitar!

Once all the anniversary rewards are displayed at the campsite, there’s a very festive atmosphere!

This is the biggest event Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp has had so far…I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with for Year Two!

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp–Jack’s Halloween Hunt and More!

It’s almost Halloween, and that means theJack, the Czar of Halloween, has been visiting Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp! The various events have been going on throughout the month of October, and there have been a lot of challenges!

First was Jack’s Halloween Hunt, a gardening event that offered furniture as rewards for catching various bats that were attracted to apple, peach, and plum “Lollipoppies.”

One of my favorite pieces of furniture was a bench that comes with a friendly ghost…I loved seeing the reactions of the animals at the campsite!

After the regular gardening tasks were completed, there were hard tasks that allowed you to get some of the furniture in an alternate color:

There’s also a fortune cookie event: Muffy’s Creepy Cookie, which has coordinating spooky items like this fun haunted pumpkin tree:

Jack came back for a fishing event, too! This time, the goal was catching orange, melon, and grape candy fish, and as is the case with all fishing tourneys, there was a special net available to guarantee a catch:

There were lots of costume rewards for this tourney, and my favorite were the count’s jacket and hat:

And if that wasn’t enough, there was also a special furniture item available for purchase with “Leaf Tickets”…Jack’s Puppet Theater. If you have this item, Jack can show up at your campsite anytime! I didn’t craft one, but Ladybug did, and let me take a picture of Jack visiting her campsite:

In addition to all of that, there are also terrain items available for purchase for Leaf Tickets, but we didn’t craft any of those (yet). This was a fun event, but I’m really looking forward to what Animal Crossing might have planned for Thanksgiving (a Franklin event, I hope!) and Christmas!

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp–Splatoon 2 Crossover Event

It’s time for another look at an Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp special event!

The Splatoon 2 crossover event, which just wrapped up last week, was very popular here, because Splatoon is one of Ladybug’s favorite games. It was also an interesting event, because it consisted of several parts.

First, there was a fishing tourney. Chip was kind enough to model one of the prizes, a Splatoon hat, during the event:

There were only three special fish to catch…pink squids, green squids, and purple octopuses:

In addition to the fishing tourney, there were three special gifts…an Inkling-girl wig, a splat tee, and a splat hoodie (modeled here by Roald, my favorite villager…doesn’t he look cute?).

There was also a “Blitz Clam” scavenger hunt, which provided opportunities for making more Splatoon 2-themed clothing, and a Splatoon 2 fortune cookie was also available from the Nooklings. I only “purchased” one of those (I’m saving my leaf tickets for a future event), but I got something good…the graffiti wall. I put my fishing tourney prizes on display with it (and items from Roald’s beach-themed fortune cookie and prizes from previous fishing tourneys) at my campsite for a fun look:

The next Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp event has already begun, but you’ll have to wait for the details on my latest campsite redecoration!

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp–Brewster’s Sweet Harvest

There’s finally official word that a new Animal Crossing game is coming to the Nintendo Switch next year! While I anxiously anticipate that game’s release, I thought it would be fun to share some of the special events in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp as they come up (which is about once a month or so).

There’s currently a Splatoon Crossover event going on, but today I want to talk about the last event that I completed, which starred everybody’s favorite Animal Crossing pigeon…Brewster’s Sweet Harvest.

This was a fun event that involved planting three different kinds of “berrypetal” seeds to attract four different kinds of “bumbledrops.” The prizes included everything you need to create a lovely vineyard cafe at your campsite…tables, chairs, glasses of grape juice, counters, and even trellises! This event also added in a new challenge…once all of the tasks from parts one and two of the event were completed, some extra special hard tasks were unlocked, and offered even more furniture, in unique colors!

I really enjoyed this event, partly because Brewster has always been one of my favorite characters, and partly because I think the new furniture looks really nice. I also enjoyed the addition of the hard tasks…I really like completing these events, and the extra challenge for this one was a nice surprise!

16 Years of Animal Crossing

I’m not a huge video game person. I didn’t play them as a child, and to be honest, I’m not very good at most of them. There is one exception, though, and my love-affair with the Animal Crossing franchise has been going strong for almost 16 years!

The first Animal Crossing game came out for the Nintendo GameCube in September 2002, and I’m pretty sure Ryan picked it up fairly soon after its release. We were still practically newlyweds at that point, and I remember sitting in the tiny living room of our first apartment and playing the game. We each had a character in our shared town, and we were in a race to see who could pay off all their debts to Tom Nook first, and have a golden statue erected in their honor in the center of town. I won.

Next up was Animal Crossing: Wild World, which came out in 2005 for the Nintendo DS. Some new features were introduced in that game, but it was always a little frustrating to play, because the graphics on the DS were still not great. That was one of the first video games the children played, and I really enjoyed sharing the world of Animal Crossing with them.

In 2008, Animal Crossing: City Folk came to the Nintendo Wii, and we all had so much fun with that game! Watching me play on the TV helped Turkey and Bunny improve their reading skills, and we all looked forward to the festival events, especially when we got to help Franklin steal all the cutlery from the townsfolk on Thanksgiving!

Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2013, and Chickadee used to sit in my lap when she was tiny and watch me interact with my animal neighbors in the new role of town mayor. This game had none of the problems that Wild World did, and I loved playing it so much that I don’t want to know how many hours I spent on it!

In 2015, two spin-off games were added to the Animal Crossing family. Animal Crossing:¬†Happy Home Designer (also for the 3DS) allowed you to build a commercial area and design homes for all the familiar animals. It was a much more detailed game than I had expected! Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival for the Nintendo Wii U was kind of like Mario Party, and also allowed you to use amiibo figures (we have ALL the Animal Crossing ones!), while playing. After you played it a few times, there wasn’t much new to discover, but we enjoyed playing it as a family.

And that brings us to last year’s Animal Crossing release…the mobile Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. I actually really love the game, even though I was initially certain it would be a disappointment. It’s fun to get to interact with all the familiar faces from the previous games, and the special events are fun and interesting. It’s still not a full Animal Crossing game, though, and I’m always waiting for the news that a new game for some console (probably the Nintendo Switch?) is on the way…I hope I won’t have to wait forever!

I think part of what I love about the Animal Crossing games is how happy and chill they are. The greatest threat (other than Tom Nook taking all your money, which is why “Tom Nook is a crook!” is an oft-repeated mantra around here), is running into a tarantula or scorpion after dark, and even then, the worst they can do is send you back to your home. Maybe Mr. Resetti is a little scary, too, but that’s pretty much just because he’s unexpected. But everything else is just so nice…getting to know the personalities of all the animals in town (I’ve created backstories for many of them!), completing tasks, building public works projects, going fishing and bug hunting. It’s the perfect escape from the real world, and I look forward to visiting with my animal friends every time I play!

2018 Japanese Festival–Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Edition

The Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden has quickly become one of our family’s favorite annual events. This year, however, I had another Japanese summer festival to enjoy…the one that took place in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp!

The game featured a special event sponsored by Crazy Redd in August. By planting various colors of iris seeds, you could attract “flickerflys” to your garden, and then trade them in for summer festival items, including several yukata, lantern-lit paths, food stalls, and a festival stage complete with taiko drum. With leaf tickets (the in-game currency), you could even purchase Redd’s Mask Emporium! Being a completionist, I had to make sure I had it all, and displayed it at my campsite with the fountain and shrine I had built earlier in the year:

This was my favorite Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp event so far. It’s been almost a year since the game launched in the US, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they have in store for year two!

A Markel Family St. Patrick’s Day

It’s time for another Markel Family holiday recap! Like all good holidays, the fun really started last night, when we set our leprechaun trap:

We watched every episode of Rick Steves’ Europe featuring Ireland that we could find (I think there were four on Hulu), and then watched Riverdance. And I had a Shamrock Shake, because I have to have one every year!

Early this morning, we went downstairs to discover that as is the case every year, even though it looked like we had caught something in our trap, all we found was a small treat (leprechaun-sized “cobblestones” that were actually Dove mint chocolates):

This year’s breakfast of Lucky Charms was extra special, because we found a limited edition green marshmallows variety!

In between preparing dinner and working on Turkey’s birthday cake for tomorrow, I found some time to bring my St. Patrick’s Day spirit to Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp:

This really was the children’s “lucky” day, because they also got a special treat with lunch…St. Patrick’s Day cakes!

Of course I took a picture of them all in their wildly varying shades of green:

We had our usual dinner of corned beef and cabbage, roast carrots and potatoes, and soda bread with Irish butter. But this year, we had something extra special to go with it…Green River soda, a Chicago favorite that I remember from my childhood. I managed to pick up a few bottles when we were in Chicago in January, and we used every ounce of self-control we have not to open them until today!

And for dessert, Guinness cake, which I think may be our family’s favorite cake!

It was another fun St. Patrick’s Day, and there’s even more fun to come tomorrow on Turkey’s 15th birthday!

The Top Five–Video Games

I have to admit, before I met Ryan, video games didn’t have much of a place in my life. But, over the years, I’ve come to appreciate, and even enjoy, them! I have my favorites, too…here they are!

  • Super Mario 64–I watched Ryan play this game early in our relationship, and it was the first game I really played myself. I still love going through it, and watching other people play it! It makes me happy that our children love it, too.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time–(by extension, this also includes Majora’s Mask, just because…) I really think this may be the best video game ever. I never tire of playing it, or watching someone else play. It’s such a beautiful world, and I could run around Hyrule Field forever.
  • Red Dead Redemption–If Ocarina of Time isn’t the best video game ever made, then this game is. It’s not the type of game I usually enjoy, because there is violence and language, but it’s a complicated, real story, and the world seems so authentic. I haven’t actually played it myself, but I ask Ryan to go through it so I can watch at least once a year!
  • Animal Crossing: New Leaf–I have loved (and played) all of the Animal Crossing games, and this is my favorite. I’ve played it almost every day for close to¬†three years, and I’m still not tired of it!
  • Colossal Cave Adventure–This was my first video game (and I use that term loosely here), and the only one I was allowed to play as a child. It was definitely a formative experience, and “XYZZY” and “Plugh” still have great meaning to me!