Took a decade off from Nintendo’s forest lifestyle simulator? Doesn’t matter, because your in-game friends haven’t forgotten you.

As the recent successes of the NES and Super NES Classic Editions illustrate, going back and revisiting the video games you played as a kid can be a lot of fun. Sure the graphics might not be as advanced or the gameplay as polished as those in brand-new titles, but sitting down with controller in hand to once again play an old favorite can bring back all sorts of happy memories.

And, if you’re really lucky, sometimes the game will have happy memories of you too.

After finishing Japan’s notoriously tough college entrance exams, Japanese Twitter user Aya decided to unwind by playing a little Animal Crossing. She doesn’t specify which title in the Nintendo franchise she played, but mentions it’d been 10 years since she last fired the game up, which would date it as either the original 2001 Animal Crossing for the GameCube or its 2005 DS sequel Animal Crossing: Wild World.

The Animal Crossing games are laid-back rural life simulators set in a forest village populated by colorful animal characters (the Animal Crossing series’ Japanese title is even <em, literally “Animal Village”), As such, the gameplay is more focused on things like making friends and helping with community projects rather than saving princesses or finding magic swords. But as proof that those mundane objectives can still be magically moving, when Aya, after her 10-year hiatus, encountered Jay, a birdman resident of her Animal Crossing village, the character greeted her with:

“Oh, hey, if it isn’t Aya! Where have you been for the past 124 months?”

“Jay has been waiting for me for 10 years. That’s why I love him,” tweeted Aya.

By comparing the system’s internal clock to the last save file, Jay can tell how long it’s been since he last say the player, and apparently Nintendo didn’t put any upper limit on his memory, or that of other characters with similar dialogue. Other Twitter users quickly loaded up their copies of Animal Crossing and shared the results.

▼ Gonzo the koala: “Wahahaha It’s been 163 months, but you’ve hardly changed a bit!”

▼ Eloise the elephant: “We haven’t seen each other in…about 191 months, right? You go on a trip? Maybe do some skiing?

▼ Ace the bird: “Oh, it’s you, Bitto [player’s name]. Where ya been for the last 134 months?”

As a company that’s long been known for creating, and playing to, childhood memories, maybe it’s not so shocking that Nintendo thought to include such a forward-thinking feature, but it’s still incredibly sweet. And while a few online commenters chuckled at the surreal, casual way Animal Crossing’s characters will greet a player after an absence of a decade or more, their friendly, off-hand way of saying hello solidifies the feeling of friendship by reminding players that their virtual pals never said good-bye.

Source: Twitter/@sai_dandan via Jin
Featured image: Twitter/@sai_dandan

Follow Casey on Twitter, where, yes, he did listen to the Gundam theme song “10 Years After” while writing this.