As you'll know if you've been merrily browsing our home page today, Animal Crossing: New Horizons' latest seasonal event, Nature Day, has started today. It offers players the chance to unlock new challenges, meet a friendly sloth, and buy bushes to plant around their islands.
It all sounds - and indeed, plays - like any other part of Nintendo's relaxing life-sim, but it hasn't gone down all that well with everyone.
A new article from British news outlet The Independent has described the new event as "a farce". The full headline reads, 'Animal Crossing’s Nature Day event is a farce – the Nintendo game teaches kids toxic lessons about the environment'.
The main body of text itself doesn't read as harshly as you might think from that scathing headline, but talks about the game's central system of fishing, catching bugs, and chopping down trees to earn rewards or a financial gain, noting that this practice doesn't exactly align with the message put forth by Earth Day - the real-world event that has inspired Animal Crossing's new in-game celebrations.
One section reads as follows:
"...You can deforest, fish and generally pillage to your heart’s content, leaving a clutter of tree stumps and empty holes in your wake. After you have drained the last iota of value from the island’s resources, you jet off home, and the unwanted, used-up island sinks into the sea. It’s almost as if the game is putting its own spin on the age-old koan: if 30 trees fall in a forest, and no one will ever be around to hear them, do they make a sound – besides “cha-ching”?"
Earlier this week, an opinion piece at Business Insider also took a swipe at the game, calling it "a dumb, boring game for children". The author of that piece appeared to confirm that it was only created to wind fans up and earn him some money in the process.
We never thought we'd see Animal Crossing hit the mainstream media, and definitely not like this. Feel free to share your thoughts on the whole situation in the comments below.