Hacking has always been a thing in video games. Sometimes it’s just used for fun, sometimes it’s used to give some unfair advantage or cheat to a player. Whatever the motivation, there’s a definite response that has been pretty consistent. Developers have been tracking and tackling hackers in their games for years. And it looks like Nintendo is cracking down on a new feature and people hacking it, with them deleting modified dream islands from Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons introduced dream islands during its batch of Summer updates that made it very easy to alter your islands in new ways. The Dream Suite came out in the Wave 2 update. This lets players visit other islands in a “dream,” giving players a new outlet for their creativity. These also allow players to create versions of their islands where they can trade items with players, even including hacked items.
This led to something that has been around in the game for some time having a resurgence. There’s this thing called Star Fragment Trees. The modded trees can be ported into ACNH saves by modders, who then create a hacked item for players to purchase. Some trade them for in-game currency, others just sell them outright for real-world currency. And it appears the dream islands have led to more and more users picking up these trees. The modded items can spawn fruit, fossils and other rare items as well, completely destroying the balance of the in-game economy if abused too heavily.
Nintendo has noticed, however, leading to an inevitable crackdown. Some users have even taken to snitching, and reporting players using hacked items in any case, such as certain YouTube channels that have taken to making videos about hackers. The problem with this approach is that these videos in particular can lead to harassment. It’s really not a good idea to harass anyone, especially over a video game, even if they’re modding or hacking. It’s not like Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a competitive game anyway.
Some users echo this sentiment in response to having islands reported, “hacking a non-competitive game like Animal Crossing is NOT the same as hacking/cheating on a competitive game where players battle one another in some way,” said Twitter user SteeloKriPlayAC. “Animal Crossing is literally a furniture design game with cute animals. someone having a cupcake tree doesn’t impact you at all.”
Rant about the morality of snitching aside, it’s a really weird situation. Nintendo has a certain right to enforce the conduct of their game, even if it’s a game about cute animals and decorating houses.
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