I don`t know why I am writing this right now, when I could be playing Animal Crossing. I can`t figure out a single reason why I would be spending my time writing about what a joy Animal Crossing is, when I could just be playing it. My life has been consumed by the welcoming, primary colour based digital drug that is Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Animal Crossing is a very hard game to describe in basic terms. At its least, it is a town building simulation game. What this entails, however, is incredibly varied. You start by entering the town, and due to a case of mistaken identity, you are instantly made mayor. This means that you are given free reign over the town to do with as you see fit, achieved by town ordinances and public works. Town ordinances are laws which affect what kind of town your town will be. Do you want to have a clean, nature loving sanctuary? Choose the “Beautiful Town” and you will never have to deal with weeds or dead flowers again. To make a more of an impact of the town, public works allow you to plant new buildings like cafés and clubs to give your town some really interesting features.
Before all of your mayoral duties can be done, however, your daily tasks must be accomplished. These include gathering a variety of fruits to be sold at the recycling centre, Re-Tail, gathering fossils to be donated to the museum, fishing, bug collecting, the list goes on and on. These acts are how you will earn that precious currency, bells, to make your town the thriving metropolis you want it to be.
This is where Animal Crossing`s greatest strength lies. It takes every possible measure to make sure you keep coming back. Fruit only grows once every couple of days, so you need to come back to earn the maximum amount of bells. Shops only restock once a day, so if you want new items to buy, you`ll have to check again the next day. Ordinances take a day to come into effect. Changes to your house take a day to build. So you can see how all these thing escalate quickly to see that you have to keep coming back. Animal Crossing plays very heavily in the part of the human psyche where games like RPG`s and card games like Magic the Gathering lie. Humans like seeing things that they own grow and become better. You will find yourself filled with joy when you build that second floor on your house, or take in a show at the brand new club you helped to build, and everything Animal Crossing gives you this dose of psychological goodness in nearly every aspect of the game.
Another trait Animal Crossing possesses is that there is really no other game like it on the market. I have never had the same experience with a video game as I have spending the 20 hours or so I have spend in the world of Animal Crossing. It’s the perfect kind of game to sit down with for 30 minutes, nice cup of coffee in hand, and just immerse yourself in your town. Talk to your neighbours, do some fishing, and just generally relax.
I love this game. It is unmistakably one of the strangest games I have ever played, and many parts of it on their own seem broken and almost dull. However, everything comes together into a glorious symphony for the eyes, ears and brain that will eat your time whole. The combination of progression and constant hooks to keep an eye on your town means you that you will never escape the loving arms of Tom Nook and Isabelle and all the other animal-like inhabitants of your town. You want to help them. You want to make your town better. You want that last piece of Nintendo memorabilia from the shop for your collection. You’re going to want it all! Now where the hell is my 3DS….