Elijah Wood And Why 'Animal Crossing' Needed A Role Model
Elijah Wood is a guy whose acting career has seen him forced to travel all over Middle Earth to save it, but also do nothing but stay at home and smoke weed with a dog that he imagines to be human.
In other words, nobody's career arc has better prepared him for a global pandemic. So, much like the rest of us, he's living his best life playing the new Animal Crossing game. Wilfred would be both proud and disappointed.
He DM'ed Jessa up there on Twitter, asking if it would be okay to travel to her island to sell his turnips. Quick briefer: it's a practice to try to score higher prices on the "Stalk Market" and guarantee a high return on their investment in turnips (a resource that rots within a week if you don't sell them). In a society where "sliding into someone's DMs" can get famous people in real trouble, it's nice to see the feature used so wholesomely.
While visiting, he was nice enough to say how beautiful her island was, and also -- here's a big one -- ask to pick the fruit on her island.
See, that element of politeness has gotten lost in this game about cuddly fuzzy animal friends and gardening and camping and crafting. People are making cutthroat demands of others in an online black market, where people are willing to pay out the nose for access to those high turnip prices, having fits grinding, and trying to afford a cat named Raymond who will wear a maid outfit as a neighbor (for those that haven't played, I assure you I'm not smoking weed with an Aussie in a dog suit right now). Everyone wants to "get ahead" in a game explicitly designed to have no endgame.
Animal Crossing has been around for like 20 years in various forms and has all the staying power of Nintendo stalwarts like Mario and Pokemon. But like literally everything else on the planet, it has been wrecked by the increased presence of the internet these past two decades. The GameCube version of Animal Crossing came out mere months before 9/11 and didn't bring people together (or tear them apart) the way it has during this pandemic. Any pretense of politeness is now gone, as preset in-game measures to prevent town destruction, such as ax and shovel disabling until your visitor is a "best friend," are paying off. Otherwise, someone who loves Raymond a little too much might implement some Soviet-style scorched earth tactics if they don't get their way.
That's why Wood's simple politeness is so refreshing. Even celebrity Animal Crossing players like the normally good-humored Chrissy Teigen have had their frustrations. For Wood -- a hobbit, a friend of dogs and man, and the voice of a penguin -- to set such a nice example for all of us is refreshing during all this chaos. Showing kindness and fairness in a town full of animals is such a natural outgrowth of his entire career, and we should be celebrating this.
However, the other people visiting the island kept hitting Wood with their nets, which is only something you do to your neighbors when you want them to leave. So we're really not sure what's going on there.