Founding a New Home – Inkwell Week 1, An Animal Crossing Diary

I was somewhat apprehensive as I stepped off the plane and onto the island – our new home – for the first time. I was used to life in Canvas, a town where I could walk to the shops to buy what I needed, buy new clothes or change my hairstyle on a whim. But as we stepped out onto the dock for the first time, I was struck with just how empty the land before us truly was. Overgrown with weeds, trees, and without a building or pathway in sight. Not even flowers!

Moreover, I was moving here with Canberra and Coach, two animals I’d never even met before. Thankfully, the Nooks had already established a basic plaza and resident services tent towards the centre of the island. They reassured us on the matters of our access to essentials – we would have some quality of life, after all – and had us pick out spaces for our tents that evening. I found a cosy spot nestled near the bank of a sort of river crossroads, whereas Canberra decided not to stray too far from the plaza, herself. Coach was stumped as to where to set his tent down, so I suggested the beach – as someone who’s into fitness, I figured he’d appreciate stepping out on the shore each morning to inspire him into his morning jog along the coastline. He heartily agreed!

Before I knew it, we’d settled down in front of the fire for a night of appleade, laughter, and stargazing. We were throwing out ideas on what to name the island long into the night, when I considered the name of my previous town of Canvas. I always liked that name as it gave the impression that the town was the canvas on which the tapestry of life would be painted. Similarly, then, Inkwell could be the pot of ink from which one might dip their pen into to write the story of their life. The others immediately took to the idea, and it became official. We celebrated for a while, but I soon grew weary and turned in for the night.

Or… so I thought. At 2am, Tom Nook – perhaps a little buzzed from one too many appleades – came by my tent to give me the full sum of my moving fees! The sly raccoon. Luckily, I’ve dealt with him before, so I wasn’t at all surprised. And besides, behind all the surface-level consumer-capitalism, there’s generosity in spades. One only has to look as far as the interest-free loan with no time limited repayment to see that. But enough – I’m starting to sound like one of his advertisements.

Things began moving rather quickly over the next few days, though perhaps that’s simply because I’m looking back – at the time, it felt like it was going at a snail’s pace! Despite originally envisioning an easy life with no responsibilities on a deserted island, I soon found myself falling into old habits, such as harvesting nearby fruit trees and selling sea shells for small sums of bells. Before long, my old friend Blathers visited, and almost immediately decided on staying and opening up a new museum, bigger and fancier than ever before. The Nooklings didn’t tarry either, setting up a new Nook’s Cranny beneath the cliff’s edge slightly north of the town plaza. And of course, we’d need to build a bridge to get there, and Daisy Mae – Joan’s granddaughter – now saw reason to visit for turnip sales, and then Sahara showed up… everything began to feel more familiar, but also more like home. I’d soon stopped thinking of Canvas as “back home” and started thinking of Inkwell in that way instead.

Speaking of Canvas, though, I had heard word that some of my old townsfolk had taken to visiting some deserted islands of their own, and I set out to some of the smaller ones in hope of coming across some of them, but no luck. I did, however, meet a very energetic yellow monkey by the name of Tammi. Behind her smile she seemed to be lamenting the nature of her current home, so I tentatively offered her a place back at Inkwell, to which she immediately accepted. She wasn’t the only one to move in this week, however; Tom Nook also had me building plots for Zucker the Octopus and Norma the Cow. Zucker is an… eccentric fellow, who has this odd fascination with bugs that I’ve not quite come to grips with yet. Norma is one of the sweetest animals I’ve ever met, and all three of the newer villages have immediately taken to decorating their homes with a delightful assortment of furniture.

Animals haven’t been Inkwell’s only visitors, however. I’ve been in touch with some friends, and have so far had the joy of hosting friends from Hoenn, Lazuli Bay, Stinkwhiff and Tarkinael. I’ve also visited their islands and met some of their villagers, including not one but two bulls who seem like cousins of my own Coach. We’ve traded fruit, so Inkwell now has a wide variety of delicacies on its horizon, as well as ample bell-making opportunities. Speaking of which, I’ve been hard at work ridding smaller islands of tarantulas for future visitors, which is hard work for honest pay, and have already swapped my humble tent for a fairly spacious house with three rooms! If my old friends back at Canvas knew I was in debt to Tom Nook once more, I’d never hear the end of it.

Resident services was closed for refurbishment today, but it’s due to open tomorrow and I’m so excited to see how it turns out. Tom Nook muttered something about requiring some help for the expanded services and gave me a knowing look, but I can’t think of who he might be hinting at. Well, I suppose I’ll find out soon enough. Tomorrow, as always on Inkwell, is another adventure.

My Final Days in Canvas Town – An Animal Crossing Diary #0

I’m wandering the town of Canvas tonight with newfound appreciation for the smaller details. Rather than the usual tour of rocks, trees, and shops on main street, I’ve taken extra time out of my day to talk to the villagers, appreciate the flowers, and just take in the evening, You see, in less than two weeks I’ll be departing Canvas for new horizons, and I’ve been so excited about it that I’ve barely taken the time to stop and consider the fact that I’ll be leaving my home town of seven years, unlikely to return save for the occasional visit. My term as mayor will effectively be over.

I decide to pick up some stationary from T.I.Y before it closes. I’ll be drafting out letters to all my villagers over the course of the next few days saying my farewells, and they’ve already seen the notice I put up last month regarding my imminent departure. But tonight I’m struck by a sense of sentimentality, and knowing that I’m likely to take a trip back to Canvas sometime in the next few years, I decide for my first letter to be to none other than my future self, the one who will be looking back on these days fondly.

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Afterwards, I take a halfhearted browse of the rest of T.I.Y’s wares, as well as today’s Able Sisters merchandise. I run into Goldie and buy myself some skeleton pants, knowing full well that I won’t complete the set before March 20th – I just want the Able Sisters to know that I value them. I return to town, muddle around a bit, pass the time of day with Pinky, Crackle and Ed, and do some fishing, not really hoping to catch anything. I’m listless and reminiscent as my legs take me by Queenie’s place.

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She senses what’s on my mind immediately, and encourages me to take in the town while I still can. The future may be exciting, but Canvas has been my home for years, and for good reason. We’ve had some good times here. Queenie is also my oldest friend, having lived in most of my previous towns, too, from when I was young. I think she fancies herself something of a big sister to me.

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As far as I’m aware, Queenie has no plans of moving from Canvas any time soon, though she could always surprise me on the 20th – it wouldn’t be the first time. Either way, she is reading my mind tonight in ways that only an old friend can. I’ve said nothing of my aimless wanderings around Canvas tonight, but she’s in much the same mind as me.

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She’s right, though. Canvas, Taymar, and other towns which came before, they’ve all contributed positively to my life to help shape who I am today. I’d be a fool to sit here and dwell on times long past, lest current days pass me by, and fade into the past themselves. And as for the future… I know it’s going to be great, but I can’t just sit around waiting for it to get here. I should savour every day of Canvas which remains in my present, and that means…

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Some habits never die. I may not be taking the bells with me to my new island home in a few weeks, but it’s always nice to line my pockets with Canvas currency while I’m still here – and besides, I’ll need to spending money for my return visits!

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Either way, I think Tom is ready for whatever the future has in store.

[The History of Glimmerside – A Cities: Skylines Diary] Chapter 1: Economic Ruin

The year is 2018. The governmental forces that be have decided that I am to develop and claim mayor-ship over a new town in the county of Riverrun. I have minimal experience developing towns, but enamoured by the prospect of making my mark on the world, I accept. This can only go well.

I name the town Glimmerside, after the glimmering river beside which the town will be made. I immediately spend three months trying to plan a symmetrical layout with two grids for residential and industry, and eventually give up on perfection. I also neglect to pause the game until houses have been constructed and residents start moving in, complaining at me for the lack of power and water. I set up basic systems for both, almost bankrupting myself in the process, before realising that I have perhaps started too big. Oops.

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Er… room for expansion?

I sustain my industry with the bare necessities and watch as my funds plunge to less than $500 during construction, barely evening out into profitable territory in time. I muddle along at a snail’s pace, my entire town earning as much as maybe one full time employee on minimum wage per day, before the governmental powers that be notice that I’ve reached 460 residents – an apparent milestone – and award me twenty grand, apparently blind to all else that is happening in Glimmerside. I almost choke in relief.

It’s not all sunshine and daisies from there, though. After extending my pipes, building some extra wind turbines, and creating a landfill for the whinging masses, I find myself running low on funds again. I use the last of them to make a long-overdue sewage pipe (down-river from the water intake, I’m not stupid), and sit back while my city turns out enough money for me to progress. Something’s wrong, though. My profits are suddenly dwindling. Glimmerside is losing citizens due to crime. I haven’t hit 900 population yet, so I’m not allowed to build a police station. Glimmerside is essentially a lawless place, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

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You never want to see that much red.

I take out a loan. The crime rate continues to skyrocket. Citizens continue to move away, distancing me from my goals of being able to build a police station. Abandoned houses litter the streets. Desperate, I try to make citizens happier. I build a medical clinic. I build another wind turbine to stop blackouts. I demolish abandoned buildings and add more trees – people like trees, right? But nothing works. The sewage is backing up again. Bandits parade brazenly through the streets. I’m in debt, and utterly unable to pay back my loan. I can’t see that I’m missing anything else; Glimmerside was doomed the moment I built those massive grids. With a smaller population, crime and budget may not be such an issue. But I bit off more than I could chew.

Glimmerside was doomed. Alternative methods would have to found…

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In part 2, I attempt to fix Glimmerside and wean myself off of the Unlimited Money budget, so begrudgingly bestowed upon me by the very realistically generous government.