When I heard about Animal Crossing making its way to mobile devices, I was elated. The Animal Crossing series had been on my radar for a while thanks to countless friends telling me all about what lovely, cozy games they are. Plus, mobile (and free!) games are definitely more my speed, so this felt like the perfect opportunity to take a chance on Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and dive into this world I’d heard so much about.
I knew there would be adorable animals, a relaxing atmosphere, and an overall wholesome vibe. What I wasn’t expecting were the lessons Pocket Camp taught me about friendship along the way.
1. The key to an everlasting friendship? Handcrafted furniture.
Many players have pointed out the, er, unique price of friendship within the Pocket Camp universe. That is, before an animal will visit your campsite, you have to include some of their favorite items. Truly, making sure your friends can use the custom-made loveseat they’ve been raving about when they come to your place is the highest marker of being a great host.
2. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta let your friends nap
Once you’ve taken care of that cute couch your friend’s been going on about, and they finally come over, there’s one thing that’s certain: it’s nap time, baby. Being able to nap comfortably while at a friend’s place is a sign things are headed in the right direction, so this is a crucial step. One of the most important lessons Pocket Camp gives us is that, sometimes, all you need for some great quality time is a good snooze.
3. Friendship takes hard work!
The whole crux of Pocket Camp centers around the labors of friendship. Granted, friendship outside of the Animal Crossing world may have to deal with less custom furniture and bug hunting, but it’s still a fact: keeping friends means being willing to put in serious work.
4. You get what you give
Okay, so at this point in the list you might be wondering, “What am I getting out of all of this?” Aside from the love and admiration of many fuzzy virtual friends? Often, when you least expect it, a friend you’ve been helping throughout the game will actually return the favor and gift you with a nice treat. There are even times when a friend will cook for you, and both of you can share a meal as well. Whoever said friends don’t help friends?
5. A true friend will tell you how it is (like whether or not you have the right furniture for their preferences)
If you try to invite an animal friend to your campsite before their aesthetic needs have been met, they won’t beat around the bush. This kind of honesty, while sometimes a little gruff, is especially important in friendships. How can you have a lasting friendship if you’re not comfortable being honest with each other?
6. Being well-rounded can help you meet more friends!
Aside from amassing a gratuitous amount of furniture, bugs, fruit, and other items, Pocket Camp offers another path towards friendship: travel. Traveling from camp to camp helps you meet other animals, explore new areas, and gain more cool stuff. While this may not always be an option in real life, keeping yourself open to new experiences is key for starting new friendships and strengthening old ones!
7. You can never have too many friends!
I haven’t unlocked all of the animal friends within the game, but the possibilities for friendship are endless! As far as I know, the only limit on gaining friends is how many characters you’ve unlocked or how many have been produced. This is as good a lesson as any to take into the real world: the amount of friendships you can have is limitless!
8. Don’t be afraid to broaden your horizons!
Never gone fishing before? Never tried to capture a bug? Never taken the time to shake out the peaches from a tree and pluck the fruit from the ground? Well, if you haven’t already, you should! If there’s one thing Pocket Camp encourages, it’s trying new things. Every activity (even new ones) yields a reward. Whether that reward is fresh fruit, a bountiful net of fish, or some cool new bugs, gaining these prizes goes to show that new experiences can be enriching and can even lead to great friendships.
9. Being a friend means keeping things chill
From what I’ve experienced of it so far, one of the hallmarks of the Animal Crossing brand is an established sense of chill. This doesn’t just go for the actual gameplay, but it can be found within character interactions as well. There’s no sense of obligation or pressure to talk to your animal friends by a certain time, or to get them to your campsite immediately. While real life can be somewhat fast-paced, knowing when to keep things chill, especially in a friendship, can be a valuable skill to have.
10. Real friends will be there for you when you least expect it
Last but not least, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp teaches us that our friends will always be there for us. Even when we’re not expecting anything in return for all of our work, even when we don’t realize it, the furry friends we make in the game are always encouraging and supportive. Much like any good, real-life friend, they understand that even just being present can mean a lot.
In the end, the lessons learned in this game are ones I’ll keep forever. Friendships may not always involve pricey new furniture or bug hunting, but they can always use a wholesome foundation.