Peace–seeking, game-playing video shaman GoldVision ’s most recent video Animal Crossing — Wasps, asks a couple of hard questions. I attempt to answer one of those questions, Should I Donate These Wasps?
I think it can be useful to understand what options are available. The options for wasps that are currently in your possession:
- Donate To The Museum
- Sell To Nook
- Sell to ???
- Keep them where they are
- Release them
I’d say the single best option would be to donate the wasp to Nook, who (spoilers) then gives it to Blathers who then houses the wasp in the much more open and comfortable domain of the museum.
This allows the cultural development of the town and as you say “Why else have we been given this sentience and body, if not to analyze, appreciate, organize and build on top of the properties of reality we are subject to?” Building the museum by donating a number of insects or other “donateables” (bugs, fish, fossils and art), certainly fulfills the above criteria of building on top of the properties of the subjective reality.
Donating the wasp not only improves the game world by creating a beautiful educational institution, it also provides the best care for a wasp that is currently housed only in a tiny bug catching cage. It seems almost certain that the life of the wasp in the museum is more engaging and again as you say “Captive animals do live longer and safer lives, in spite of the damage they might incur during capture”.
The other options all seem less beneficial to the wasp and to the world, but you can only donate one of each kind of “donateable”. Given that the wasps are already captured, I believe that donating a wasp seems like the best available option.
If you choose to donate one wasp. Then the question is what to do with the others.
Once again I think we can come back to “why are we given sentience except to analyze, appreciate, organize and build”. By leaving the wasps in their cages, nothing improves unless you find joy in creating stacks of wasps. You may of course enjoy seeing your collection grow. But it’s likely that a little more diversity in your decorating or expression would be more enjoyable. Or at having more options might indicate more freedom.
Every donateable has a value, a wasp is actually a relatively valuable insect at 2,500 bells to the Nooklings. And in a very real mechanical way, the giving of wasp to the Nooklings in exchange for bells allows the games memory to recycle the bits used for representing the wasp into any other thing. Selling the wasp allows for more creative expression, Not only in bells but in bits.
I think you could also view the keeping of the bees in cages as “denial of space” to other things. Once captured, insects and fish displayed in your house (or outside) have nearly the same properties as furniture. They occupy some amount of space and have a limited number of interactions for the player. In many ways, the fish in animal crossing are nothing more than lamps with more polygons as they function the same to the player. If we are to use locomotion and “those who perceive” as criteria for that which can be rearranged without fear of acting in violence, then I believe the donateables, once captured (and the capturing of the critters is another discussion), all qualify.
This could be a criticism of Animal Crossing or a criticism of the world by Animal Crossing. The commodification of nature reduces the status living creatures to simply that of furniture. Of course the one special property of the donatables that differs them from furniture is that they can be donated! If one of the unique properties of being a wasp is being donated, why not be all a wasp can be?
Finally, in response to “I do not think that restricting the freedom of harmless inhabitants to the benefit of others is a line I want to cross […] Anything without its own locomotion is fine to rearrange”. Unfortunately, after capture, any insect loses its locomotion, except for in the museum. There remains the question of whether you should capture anything, but you’ve already decided that capturing the wasps is justified.
As long as you trust the Nooklings to not be doing something nefarious with the items you sell, then exchanging the wasp for bells is recycling memory, allowing for more space and improving your ability to create on the island. However, I think it’s important to not justify the sale of something by the number of bells it gives you. It’s not the number that’s important, it’s the idea of “analyzing, appreciating, organizing and building” using those bells.
Of course there is one more option that is possibly better than selling to the Nooklings. Flick is a bug devotee, who absolutely loves collecting and creating art of insects. To me, the best selling option would be to give the wasps to Flick. You’d be creating joy for another character, who is enamored with insects on the island.
I’m not entirely sure, but Flicks appearance in the game may also be determined by having the museum or other external factors. Just something to keep in mind.
Releasing the wasps seems like a middling option. You still get the recycling of the memory of the game, but that could actually be used to create another wasp! And you don’t get the benefit of the bells, which again allows for creative expression. The only known effect of releasing the wasps is that they no longer appear to exist. But the are certainly reused, and the impression given, the reality being subjected to, is that the wasps are freed. Perhaps though to sting another day…
Keeping the wasps only seems like an enviable option if you actually want a bunch of wasps. If their presence does not fill you with joy then I know Flick would enjoy it.
In summary, I think GoldVision should donate a wasp, and hope to find Flick to sell the others. It may be useful to collaborate with another player who already has Flick visiting their island that day. Then you can determine for yourself if this is a route for you.
I hope the above offers some clarity GoldVision. I really enjoy your videos and hope you feel confident with whatever decisions you make going forward on your Animal Crossing island.
PS Be careful . There are additional dangerous creatures in Animal Crossing. In particular, you may want to avoid catching and donating a mosquito, as at least in the previous games, it’s possible for the free roaming museum mosquito to continue biting victims ad infinitum!