One of the most fun and enduring features of the Animal Crossing series is the ability to create your own little town (or island) tune. In just 16 notes, you can create your own motif that you can hear all across your island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
You might want to go full Nintendo and have the Pokémon Center music or the Song of Time from Zelda: Ocarina of Time as your jingle. Or perhaps hear your favourite TV show title theme or song echo throughout your island. The only thing that limits you is your creativity. Or you can just head to Island Tune Creator and marvel at how amazing everyone else is.
Even though your options are pretty basic – you can select notes from a c-major scale that goes down a fourth, up a third, a hold, a rest, and a “random” note – a lot of work has gone into just how your island tune is used.
Parker from Re:Direct has done a deep dive into how the simplicity of the island tune editor works in its favour. The places the tune is used affects how the tune plays, such as changing the instrumentation, pitch, timbre, and the rhythm, and all of this allows these simple 16 note bops to have endless possibilities.
The tune plays in some obvious places, such as the clock chime once an hour on the hour where the tempo slows down, but you can also hear the tune as you walk through people’s doors and storefronts.
But the video’s main focus looks at how each villager’s rendition of your town theme perfectly reflects their personality, background, or even the type of animal they are.
In the video, Parker talks to a number of villagers across his island to see how his island tune (appropriately and excellently Smash Mouth’s ‘All-Stars’) changes depending on the villager.
Normal villager Molly, a duck, recites the tune in a triplet swing – a jazzier, upbeat style of music – and the song sounds much like a duck quacking. The triplet swing motif is shared by all of the normal villagers that Parker talks to. While interestingly, Pango the ‘anteater’ changes depending on the mood of your original rendition. She might be able to hum your tune in a major key that’s similar to a musical scale used in South Indian classical music.
You might also recognise a lovely person in the video, as our very own Zion and his island make an appearance! Parker compares four different bear villagers’ themes and looks at the similarities and differences between them, and examines how rabbit villagers like Dotty use glockenspiels instead of trying to mimic animal sounds.
It’s a fascinating watch and shows just how there are thousands of possibilities, with Kick’s cockney whistle sometimes changing the song’s mood from peppy to sombre, or grouchy villagers making the music sound like something a little more sarcastic.
We don’t want to give any more fantastic analysis away, so go and watch the video at the top and let us (and Re:Direct) know if you’ve spotted any patterns in your villagers in the comments!