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Nintendo’s Anniversary Update for Animal Crossing: New Horizons Delivers Free New Content



Animal Crossing: New Horizons

While it felt like time slowed down in 2020 because most of us spent a good chunk of the year inside, it still moved at the same pace as it always has. I’m still convinced it’s May of last year, but it’s March 2021, and that means big games from last year are starting to turn a year old. As hard as it is to believe, Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons is about to celebrate its first anniversary in just a few days. I don’t think anyone, including Nintendo, could have imagined the success the game would have or the way it would impact popular culture this time last year, but it turned out a visit to a tropical island with some animal friends was just what many of us needed.

With the game’s anniversary in mind, Nintendo has detailed New Horizon‘s next big update on March 18th, and it’s a doozy. It looks like we won’t be seeing the Animal Crossing/Doom crossover the world deserves, but there’s still plenty to get excited about, including adding 50 additional custom design slots to both the Normal and Pro Custom Design modes.

But The House That Mario Built isn’t stopping there. Here are the details about what’s coming, straight from Nintendo itself:

Free Update Available 3/18!

  • 1st Anniversary Cake – Nook Inc. made a 1st Anniversary Cake to commemorate the occasion. It will be sent to your in-game mailbox after the update is installed.
  • Sanrio Sweetness – Add some Sanrio sweetness to your island. Starting March 26, the Animal Crossing Sanrio Collaboration Pack will be available for purchase at Target stores across the U.S. at a suggested retail price of $5.99. You’ll be able use these six vibrantly designed amiibo cards to invite cute and colorful Animal Crossing residents inspired by popular Sanrio characters to your island, including Rita, Chai and Toby. These amiibo cards let you exchange bells for special Sanrio-themed furniture and fashion items in-game, too. You can even invite these characters to Harv’s Island for a fun photo session in Photopia.
  • Custom Design Pro Editor + – The Custom Design app on your NookPhone is getting an upgrade!* Use your Nook Miles at the Nook Stop in Resident Services to unlock the feature. It’ll provide a more robust set of features, allowing for the customization of umbrellas, small flags, uchiwa and photo stands. And with a new expansion of 50 slots added to both the Normal Custom Design mode and Pro Custom Design mode, you can truly let your imagination run wild!
  • Custom Design Portal – You can now add the Custom Design Portal found in the Able Sisters store directly to your in-game NookPhone app. You’ll be able to use it any time inspiration strikes.**
  • Seasonal Items – Spring is in the air, and with the changing of the seasons comes a range of new seasonal items! Just in time for April Fool’s Day, a variety of colors of whoopee cushions can be ordered between March 26 and April 1 from the in-game Nook Shopping service. For something a little more elegant, you can prep for prom season with themed fashion items at the Able Sisters shop from April 1 to April 30. You can also order prom-themed items from Nook Shopping during this period, such as a prom night wall, prom night flooring and a prom stash. Never miss a chance to dance!

But wait, there’s more!

In addition to the update, players can also check out:

  • Island Tour Creator – A new way to share your island with the world is on the way! The new Island Tour Creator launches on March 23 and is a limited-time web service currently planned to be available until the end of this year. It lets you use screenshots and footage captured in Animal Crossing: New Horizons to create a poster and trailer for your island. Share your favorite spots on your island or commemorate sentimental scenes to show off what makes your personal island so special. Find out more info on the official Animal Crossing Twitter account.
  • Build-A-Bear Collaboration Coming Soon Build-A-Bear Workshop will soon launch an Animal Crossing™: New Horizons collection, exclusively online at More details will be forthcoming, and we encourage fans to visit to be among the first to get more information.
  • Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary-Themed Items – You may have noticed new items have been dispatched to Nook Shopping terminals in Animal Crossing: New Horizons this month. You’re now able to order clothing themed after familiar faces such as Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Wario. The Super Mushroom and the ? Block can also be ordered in-game as furniture items to spruce up your island with some Mario mirth. You can even use the new Warp Pipe items to travel between locations on your island. Why not try re-creating the Mushroom Kingdom?

Whether you’re returning to Animal Crossing: New Horizons after some time away, never left, or are visiting your island for the first time, it looks like Nintendo has more to keep you busy for a while. To learn more about Animal Crossing: New Horizons, visit To stay up to date with the latest news about Animal Crossing: New Horizons, be sure to follow @animalcrossing on Twitter.

Will Borger is a Navy brat who has loved storytelling since he’s been able to read. He received a B.A. in English from the University of Central Florida and an MFA in Fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. A man of many hats, Will has served on the staff of several literary journals, taught writing at two universities, and is the Editor-in-Chief of Film Daze. He writes about games and film at GamingBolt, GameCritics, GoombaStomp, and The Twin Geeks. His fiction has appeared in Marathon Literary Review and Purple Wall Stories and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Will lives in New York with his wife and dreams of one day owning a dog.

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