#460 Animal Crossing

Posted: 12th January 2011 by Mulholland in Games
Tags: , , , ,

18th game played so far

Genre: Life Simulation
Platform: Nintendo 64 and Gamecube
Year of Release: 2001
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo

Something that every game wants to tap into is that addiction centre of the brain. As I mentioned/ranted about in a recent post the games that work best are those that reward at random intervals. Animal Crossing is able to carry this off by running in complete real time.

The lives of these cute little creatures follow a general schedule and there are events that only occur at certain times of the week, month or even year. You also feel incredibly responsible for the little town you create, with every day that passes it becomes more polluted and overgrown, talk about a guilt trip.

Our Playthrough

Since this took a long time to cross the Atlantic from the States the game I bought was actually an NTSC version. I played this on and off for the best part of the year so this is up to Jeroen to play. To do so he’ll create his own town and have fun with the animal villagers.

Our Thoughts

So, how did you get on in maintaining your delightful village of Drotimb? Not bad, although they seemed fairly pushy. I pay off my mortgage, and before I know it, they enlarge it for me and I have to pay back ten times as much. It happens so often though, but in the end you have a gloriously spacious abode filled with plenty of furniture. Indeed, plenty of weird and strange furniture, as well as more ordinary items.

It’s an interesting game, I’d say, although I’m not sure how it holds up long term. After a few hours, running around collecting shells, fishing and talking to people hoping they have a quest can get a bit tedious. I actually spent months playing this and managed to collect all the fossils and nearly all the insects (so much so that I managed to pay off the mortgage of the largest possible house).

I guess that I find it interesting that someone who happily spends a long time exploring every nook and cranny of an RPG world found this to be getting slightly tedious. I think what my worry here is that I don’t see much progress. Part of the thrill of an RPG can be to level-up, gain more powers, get better, and to find more stories. Here, you’re repeating the same thing. Sure, your house gets larger, and you can get more furniture, but your goal is to get a bigger house and get something nice… by doing the same things over and over. It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but it was already starting to feel repetitive.

I always found it somewhat relaxing, a simple life where you can sell fish and plant trees to make your village as gorgeous as possible. That’s true, and it provides that experience, but it’s nothing too exciting, and from all that I’ve seen, it’s a coffee break game. Spend half an hour on each day, and it’s fun; spend five hours, and it’ll be boring after three days.

I disagree completely. I have been able to play Animal Crossing for hours at a time. So I guess this really is one for different temperaments. That sounds very true.

You cannot deny how cute the characters are, especially when your neighbours can be penguins and doggies. Most of them are, and they are mostly set up to be quite distinctive (until you get two who use the same set of phrases with only a word replaced). Plus their babbling is cute.

Then there is the weekly concert from canine troubadour Totakeke (KK Slider in the English translation). The whole reason I would turn on the game on a Saturday would be to hear those cute little animalese songs. Whom I haven’t met, of course, and due to the way the week was layed out, I couldn’t get to see. I think I was waiting in a freezing York station at the time. Remind me later to show you a clip on Youtube. Sure, that might show more of it.

What’s interesting is how the game interacts with the clock and calendar. The town changes as time passes. As we were playing it was constantly snowing. But there can be petals or falling leaves depending on the season. Plus annual festivals where you can get special items unavailable at other times of the year which try to suck you in so you keep you playing. As said, I haven’t seen that, but it sounds amazing.

I guess that to truly get the best out of this game (as I appear to have done) this needs a lot of your time over a prolonged period.

Final Thoughts

This is a fun game that can get quite addictiveif you give it time to become so. It looks good, bright and colourful, the sound’s nice, it’s cute, and there a couple of interesting subgoals to entertain yourself with. It does, however, seem to be a game where you have to be sucked in – if you’re not, it can get dull and you might give up sooner than the game warrants.

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