If it hasn’t been made obvious already, I’m a gamer. I’ve been playing video games since I was a toddler and consider them my main hobby. During these 25 years, I’ve played many types of games, but simulation games have always interested me. My sisters and I used to play the likes of Harvest Moon 64 and The Sims 1 & 2 for hours on end. And, long before we ever owned one ourselves, we rented a Gamecube and a copy of cutesy-looking Animal Crossing. We didn’t accomplish much at the time, but we were sucked in. Once we had our own Gamecube, it became an easy buy for us.
It was much simpler than The Sims, in that you don’t have to micro-manage hunger and bladder control, and more carefree than Harvest Moon, where farming often felt tedious. We named our quiet village “sunkiss” (not my idea). My sisters chose female characters and I chose a male, mostly because I wanted to emulate a TV character I liked and have lots of “cool” things in my house. And for a while, the game took up our free time. We all spent hours paying off in-game debts to upgrade and decorate our houses, spent money buying neat clothes or making our own, and collected tons of bugs, fish and paintings to send to our town’s museum. To this day it’s one of a select bunch of games I felt I was actually playing WITH my sisters, not against.
But there was a downside to the first iteration of the series: Complicated town visits. If you wanted to see a friend’s town and vice versa, you had to trade memory cards. Because we knew no one close by who had the game, after a while it became dull to us.; Everything we could accomplish pretty much was accomplished save for a few things here and there. And, as more games popped into our collection, Animal Crossing soon fell by the wayside.
I revisited that town about a year ago and experienced a load of nostalgia while playing it. Characters I hadn’t seen in years, a house with roaches and my character still dressed in the same shirt as I left him. I spent some time contributing to the museum and cleaning the town’s new weed population, and then…left the game alone again. I felt the same as I’d left – there was just not much to do other than start all over.
But now I HAVE started all over with the newest game in the series appropriately titled Animal Crossing: New Leaf for 3DS. The familiar elements are there, but there are plenty of new things to do and the added bonus of visiting friends via internet connection. Plus, I can take it anywhere I wanna go! The game has renewed my love for Animal Crossing in ways I wouldn’t have thought possible back then. I can’t wait to move forward in the game and plan to not let it suffer the same fate as the original did.