Animal Crossing’s New Night Owl Ordinance Doesn’t Do Much


An image of three villagers stargazing at a beautiful sea of colors in the night sky.

And they say the freaks come out at night…
Screenshot: Nintendo

Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ big-ass update dropped earlier than expected and while it introduces tons of new stuff, there’s one modest aspect players aren’t totally pleased with: island ordinances, and to be specific, that new Night Owl one.

Ordinances, which were first introduced in New Leaf, fundamentally change the way an island and its inhabitants operate. They give you full freedom to customize the island’s basic functions, from forcing people to wake up early to preventing weeds from appearing as often. A few things to know about ordinances:

  1. Each ordinance costs 20,000 bells to enact.
  2. Only one can be in effect at a time.
  3. They don’t go into effect until 6 a.m. the next day.

What are ACNH’s Night Owl ordinance hours?

As you can probably guess by its name, the Night Owl ordinance makes shops stay open longer and villagers go to sleep later. So, for example, the Able Sisters shop is normally open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Under the Night Owl ordinance, the clothing and tailor boutique is supposed to lengthen the shop’s shift…which technically it does. But according to various Twitter users, it’s only staying open for maybe an hour more. While that is an improvement, it’s also kinda frustrating if you’ve played previous Animal Crossing games, where the ordinance went farther than a measly extra hour. 

So, you’re paying 20,000 bells—which is a lot, despite how easy the currency is to accrue—for something that ultimately does almost nothing. And in Animal Crossing, store hours are actually a bigger deal than you might expect since they correspond to real-world time. If you jump into the game at 11 p.m., for example, you may well have missed the opportunity to visit key stores you’d have wanted to. It seems likely that people will continue to change their Switch’s clock to get around the issue.

This is only a small bummer in Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ massive update, though. There’s so much new stuff it can be difficult to parse through it all, but you can check out our advice on 18 things you should do now that the update is out. While you’re at it, also hit The Roost, where special characters now make appearances.

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