The owl who wasn’t afraid of the dark.
My favourite visitor in Animal Crossing is probably Celeste. This owl – I think she’s the sister of Blathers over at the museum – loves star-gazing. She drops by on nights when you’ll see shooting stars. The thing I love is that you walk out of your house and she’ll just be wandering around in the trees somewhere. I know a lot of visitors do this, but Celeste seems to do it differently: she’s not selling anything or after a trade. She doesn’t want you to do her a favour.
Celeste’s just enjoying the stars. She seems to have a bit more of an internal life than other visitors as a result. Last night I saw Celeste and then spent an hour waiting for a shooting star – I have yet to see one in New Horizons. I didn’t see one last night, but it wasn’t a bad hour by any means. I had nothing much to do, and also it’s quite nice to have an excuse to find an empty bit of island and park the camera upwards – just me and the night sky.
I tell myself that I much prefer the camera set-up of the first Animal Crossing, which was pointed firmly at the ground. This made the game a sort of enchanted rock pool you looked down into. I loved the way that firework displays, say, were visible in the game through their reflections in water. But with the new camera, introduced in Wild World, I want to say, we did get a proper view of the sky. And we got Celeste.
Celeste used to have a really special job. If you met her in the observatory in Wild World, she’d let you pick out your own constellations, joining stars up with little bars of light and making basic shapes. These constellations would then be visible at night when you wandered around. You’d be shaking trees and suddenly Pac-Man would be overhead. Or a large apple.
It wasn’t complicated, and it wasn’t especially consequential, but it was a lovely little touch. Celeste’s observatory – and Brewster’s cafe, don’t start me on it – are the kinds of things I’m always hoping will return to New Horizons in an update. But maybe I like them both stuck on the Wild World cartridge and available to me whenever I go up in the loft and dig it out. Maybe Animal Crossing should cut special things to keep them special. Besides, now Celeste wanders through the woods every now and then, a welcome visitor and a reminder that something special is about to happen.