Animal Crossing: New Horizons grants players exactly 50 design slots that can be used to customize in-game content. Maybe that sounds like a lot, and it is, at least compared to previous games that offered way less than what we have now. But as time goes by, and as Nintendo adds more features to the game, 50 just isn’t enough.
Design slots are used for all sorts of things, from tailoring clothes to adding character details, such as eyebrows or tattoos. Slots are also often used for custom roads, like the famous “Path” that recreates the look and feel of older Animal Crossing games. That alone — a fleshed-out path design — can fill up your custom design slots quickly. At minimum, we’re talking around nine slots just for one type of path. And most people use multiple types of paths, to ensure that their islands don’t look monotonous.
to try and make it easier to visualise how i’ve placed the different tiles next to each other to create a ‘natural’ path look, i’ve lined a (very) messy grid below with tile labels.
notice how i’ve attempted not to put any of the same tiles next to each other pic.twitter.com/ZjcG4qdlB0
— quinn ♡ comms closed! (@sleepyluck) July 30, 2020
Pathways don’t exist in a vacuum, and are typically spruced up with extras along the way, like moss or stumps. Folks also love to use design slots to add things that the basic game doesn’t allow for, like laying down a picnic blanket or a rug outside.
Some go even further and use design slots to build out elaborate scenery, such as farms or stables. It’s also common to see design slots for more basic things, like signs. So far, we’ve only covered decorations — but players love to design fashion lines, too! Having a decked-out wardrobe will also cost you a few precious slots, assuming you haven’t already filled them up with roads. Did I mention that you share design slots with anyone else living on your island? Suddenly, even 50 isn’t enough.
Granted, none of this is new. The limited number of design slots has been an issue that players have discussed to hell and back for months now, with some even developing workarounds to save extra slots. But the limited space discussion returned to the forefront of conversation once again because New Horizons’ latest update also requires blank design slots, without providing players with extra space to house them.
The recently added fireworks mechanic can be customized to display anything you’d like — provided you have the slots to do it. Some people might! But most people were already hitting their limit before fireworks were introduced, and are now having to decide which slots they’ll sacrifice to ensure a nice light show. It’s an annoying ask that can sometimes have a funny side effect, as Twitter user @acnhprime discovered.
Hopefully, the fact that Nintendo has been diligently updating New Horizons since launch means that it’s just a matter of time before our design slots are expanded. But until then, choices must be made; slots must be sacrificed. I’m sorry, hardcore Animal Crossing players.