I’m really enjoying Animal Crossing: New Leaf. I picked it up last week along with a new 3DS XL, Donkey Kong Country Returns and Luigi’s Mansion 2. While Mansion is the most fun title, I think, I’ve not really had a chance to get into it properly due to Animal Crossing stealing all of my time away.
I’m finding that I’m spending more and more time in my Animal Crossing town, and I haven’t a clue why. All I’m doing is walking around with a fishing rod or net and catching fish or bugs respectively, while speaking to the other townsfolk and helping them in any way possible. This all comes after doing my mayoral tasks for the day, of course, such as building a camp site or a new bridge.
I’m slowly but surely upgrading my house with all of the profits from the small creatures I’m catching, as well as helping the museum build their collection. It really feels like progression, but not in the usual way you’d expect to progress through a game.
There’s no set-in-stone story, instead it’s my story.
My character has a Wario hat and that’s the only thing that makes him distinct from the millions of other Villagers all over the world, and even then there are probably thousands wearing the same hat. Yet my town feels unique; characters have personalities and feel real, despite being bipedal blue pigs or purple dogs wearing absurd clothes.
The town of Kakorion (yes, Zelda – I even set up the Kakariko Village theme as the town’s tune) isn’t quite bustling yet, but due to the way New Leaf syncs up with real time, it feels like a persistent world, more so than even the most realistic of games can achieve. Maybe that’s why I pour hours into catching fish in order to develop it into my utopia?
I’ve done this before, though. With Skyrim I spent hours forging items, enchanting them and selling them, for little reward other than money or levels. I don’t know if I was having fun or not, but it certainly doesn’t seem as good as the adventure parts on reflection.
I should be playing a game like Zelda or Luigi’s Mansion, something that will make me feel like I’m accomplishing and progressing, although in a way I still am. I’m building this virtual town not just for me but the fake people that are in it and anyone who might take a visit via StreetPass or WiFi.
Unfortunately, I’m probably going to have to send my 3DS in for repair due to an issue with the screen and my biggest worry isn’t that it might not get fixed properly or the warranty won’t cover it but that my townspeople will hate me for being away for a couple of weeks. You see, that’s how it works – there’s the hook – you leave and your people get upset and your approval rating goes down.
There’s no telling what will happen if my approval rating reaches zero, though I presume my town will burn to the ground with rife looting and maybe even some meteors in a sort of apocalypse. I can’t let that happen.
Maybe it’s because it’s so simple: there’s still the worry of paying off loans but it’s more relaxed than real life, and all I really have to do is go to the beach and catch a few Barred Knifejaws rather than spend hours worrying over bills and applying for jobs. It’s almost like a simulation game which simulates an ideal life in its purest form.
I don’t know why I’m playing Animal Crossing, and I don’t know why I want to keep playing every single day. But you should play it too; it’s really fun.