Before Animal Crossing: New Horizons added Mario items on March 1, my island was a pleasant place that was not being stalked by a dead-eyed plumber cosplayer with an axe.
I must admit I scoffed when Kotaku contributor John Walker posted about how wrong Animal Crossing villagers looked dressed up in Mario costumes. Surely he was overreacting. Then the update dropped, and I ordered my character’s outfit from the Nook Shopping service. The next day I received my items in the mail and put them on. The results were not great.
Granted, my villager isn’t your normal, bright-eyed member of the planning commission most Animal Crossing characters are. For one, he’s got those Pac-Man corpse eyes. His skin is bright white. He’s covered with odd green growths, which are actually a path texture my spouse sent me, trying to be helpful. It was helpful, only less so for paths and more so for turning my villager into a plant zombie.
Now my monster vegetable Mario haunts my island. I log into the game, Isabelle makes her opening remarks, and this weird little monster pops out of my house. I have the power to change him into someone or something else. Instead, I spend hours finding ways to put him in frightening places. In corners. Behind trees. In a field of gnomes representing his victims. Poking his head out from behind your computer chair.
It wouldn’t have been like this had Nintendo released all the Mario items as some sort of bundle. Instead there are 33 items to purchase, including costume pieces, interactive set pieces, rugs, flooring, and wallpaper, all available in the Nook Shopping portion of the Nook Phone, where players are limited to five purchases a day. Instead of transforming my island into a Mario wonderland, I order five items and wait. While I wait, Mario hunts.
On the plus side, the Mario items update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons did give us the warp pipe, giving players the ability to teleport from one place to another on their island, even outside to inside. It’s all I’ve ever wanted.
I just wish it didn’t come with a side of never-ending nightmares.