It’s time we address the elephant in the room – and no, it’s not Tia
Gulliver is a reoccurring traveller in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing series, and in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, he needs your help fixing his phone. Seems innocent enough, but it’s time we address his misleading secret.
The story goes that Gulliver accidentally cast himself overboard while sailing the high seas with his crew — a crew that definitely misses him, and definitely didn’t try to murder him. His phone is broken, so he can’t contact his crew and let them know where to pick him up, and for whatever reason, he can’t fix it without our help.
To fix the clumsy seagull’s cracked phone, you need to dig up five communicator parts and return them to him. We accept the task, of course, because it’s the right thing to do and not just because we’re obsessive completionists craving the exclusive rewards this water-rat carries.
Once we find five pieces and revive his “communicator”, we get to enjoy even more dialogue from the partially-drowned bird, seemingly putting an end to the shifty-eyed trespasser’s misery. Gulliver expresses great joy in the restoration of his phone and laughs at a hearty conversation with his crew, claiming that they will all arrive soon, and that we should expect something in the mail as a thank you… But there’s something particularly off about this blubbering shark bait’s one-sided conversation.
Gulliver’s phone is still very clearly out of working order. The NookPhone is just like any other smartphone in the real world, in that they light up when they’re being used — and yet, Gulliver’s NookPhone screen remains as black as the tip of his beak throughout his “conversation with his crew.”
Furthermore, it becomes obvious that Gulliver never even tries to contact his crew. After every visit when we fix the misguided liar’s phone, we find a missing communicator part in the recycle box the following day, proving that we’ve never actually recovered all of the phone’s missing parts. Although the part is rusted through by the time we find it in the recycle box, it’s still obvious that it’s a missing part of Gulliver’s phone. You know, because contact with salt water accelerates a rusting process that would typically take many years.
We also never see the aloof timewaster actually leave your island. On days where you choose not to fix his phone or even wake him up, he’s still nowhere to be seen the following day. Even for a seagull, his behaviour is very fishy.
The deceitful chicken nugget could just use your phone to contact his crew, or request assistance from Tom Nook or Isabelle in the town hall, yet he always targets you to do his bidding. Sometimes the mischievous avian comes to your island sporting a new costume and claiming that his name is Gullivarrr — paired with his new accent, could Nintendo be hinting that Gulliver suffers from some sort of multiple personality disorder?
Whether you meet Gulliver or Gullivarrr, it’s the same old story, over and over: you find the sea captain passed out on the beach, you either mend or recover his phone, and his phone is still broken the next time you see him. We never actually see anyone come to his rescue, even though he says everything is in working order and that his mates received his distress call. Maybe Gulliver is just embarrassed that he still can’t get home after we help him, so he acts like everything is fine to protect our feelings, but this doesn’t explain why aiding the mismanaged chip stealer becomes an ongoing phenomenon.
Could it really just be the unfortunate life of a depressed beach scavenger who needs our help? Do we want to believe this feathered lunch thief just stumbles onto our islands again and again purely by chance? Or maybe Gulliver never actually leaves our island, skulking in the shadows for his chance to inconvenience our day?
Or what if it’s something more? What if it’s aliens?!
No matter what we choose to believe, it’s obvious that Gulliver is keeping some kind of secret from us. Regardless of how or why he lands on our islands week after week, though, one thing remains constant: we should still help him out because it’s the right thing to do… By our storage and catalogues.
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