#158: The Fortune Cookie

woman in grey shirt holding brown cardboard box

Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

I love fortune cookies. They have a plain texture, crunchy taste, and are free with any Chinese takeout meal. What’s not to love?

No, in reality I’ll be discussing fortune cookies as they appear in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, as I recently opened one and got an exceptionally rare item. I felt pretty good afterwards, which is what happens when the odds end up in your favor when they often don’t. There’s a 3% chance of finding a 5-star item in a fortune cookie, which means you have to open roughly 33 cookies to have a chance of getting the item everyone really wants. It’s a bit absurd, especially considering how few fortune cookies are available regularly in the game. They don’t come easily; you have to check the shop at least once a day at 11am to see if the rare ones are here, and more often than not they are missing.

Fortune cookies are the Animal Crossing equivalent of loot boxes, a system put into video games to allow people to buy a randomized box of cosmetic items for a price. The price, of course, is in dollars not in game currency. The loot box system originates from Overwatch, a game I’ve spoken about on this blog. There’s a lot of controversy involving loot boxes because they are seen as a form of gambling; you pay money for a random chance at receiving what you want. Nothing is guaranteed, so it’s not like you’re spending money directly on the item you’re looking for, instead you’re spending money on a chance at getting that item. Hence the gambling issue.

I do think that games are exploitative and predatory when it comes to loot boxes, and I wish they would tone it down. Fortune cookies aren’t super bad, because you can just ignore the items, but in other games, the items available from loot boxes are really, really important. Hence all the frustration, which i totally empathize with.


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