I feel weird pointing this out, because the detail is subtle, but it’s been bothering the hell out of me while I play Disney’s (extremely good) take on Animal Crossing. In my defence, though, Mickey Mouse is one of the most iconic and recognisable characters on earth, and video game graphics practically let you see into people’s pores now. It’s hard not to notice that something is off in the world of Dreamlight Valley, especially when you grow up with these characters.
The Mickey Mouse design featured in Disney Dreamlight Valley is the standard if not classic scheme we’ve all come to know and love. Our favourite mouse boy is wearing oversized yellow shoes, bright red shorts, and big ‘ol white gloves. He’s mid-sized, so Goofy towers above Mickey quite easily. So far, so good. The issue lies entirely within Mickey’s eyes.
There’s something wrong with Mickey’s right eye. The larger oval is misshapen, and slightly smaller than the left eye. The pupil, however, remains the same size. As Mickey’s eyes move about, the effect becomes unsettling: it’s as if his eyes are too narrow or close together. Sometimes, it’s like his pupil is getting crushed by his eye, or like it doesn’t fit somehow. The game will make the assets clip into each other during some moments, depending on what you do.
Mickey’s eyes are also designed to follow you as you move around, and he’s shorter than you, so he’s always looking up. I don’t think this is intentional at all, but the result is that Mickey looks like he wants to murder me half the time. His stare is both wrong and weirdly vacant, like a messed-up painting that’s stalking you around the house, ready to abduct you when you’re not looking. Which admittedly might be great for a game set in Disney’s Haunted Mansion, but just feels wrong here.
I’m sorry if you didn’t notice this before and now you can’t unsee it, because like I said, it’s a small detail. And I apologise if you still can’t see it at all. I’m not sure I would have seen it at all were I not playing alongside a bonafide Disney adult (my girlfriend), who then immediately informed me that Disney has internal guidelines for how Mickey Mouse should be depicted so she knew something was very wrong here. I know I’m not crazy, though. “There’s a certain pose he does too where the lower part of his eyes sink in,” one Redditor wrote in a thread on the Dreamlight Valley forums discussing this very phenomenon.
Now I’m left to wonder: Mickey, just what did happen to Minnie, who is missing at the start of the game? What’s fertilizing the garden that your beloved wife loved oh-so-much, HMM??
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