Animal Crossing New Leaf – Why My PC Has Been Collecting Dust

Ever since my girlfriend bestowed a 3DS XL (the awesome Zelda edition, at that!), my life has changed.  Mind you, before I received this 3DS XL, and before I even moved to Massachusetts, I wasn’t much into handheld gaming and even sold off my DSi and the PSP I used to play Monster Hunter on fairly religiously.  I was spending most of my time on the PC or PS3 and just wanted the cash.  That said, I didn’t think getting a 3DS XL was going to be that big of a deal.  It was going to be ‘neat’ to try out some handheld games again and the bundle I got even came with the highly acclaimed new Zelda game!

Little did I know what power this machine would soon have over me...

Little did I know what power this machine would soon have over me…

So as I was making my Mii and trying to figure out this new piece of technology like an old person trying to work a computer, my girlfriend had a brilliant idea.  “I’ll give you my unopened, spare copy of Animal Crossing so you can play that too!”  I was kind of excited… but having never played an Animal Crossing game before, I didn’t really know what to expect.  But it was morning and I was feeling relaxed, so I thought, sure, I’ll check this out.  I’ll be a mayor of a town full of animal people.

This is how you are treated as the revered new mayor of a town.  Sitting in a cold tent on a snowy stump in the middle of winter after being attacked by bees.  OFF TO A GREAT START, RIGHT?

This is how you are treated as the revered new mayor of a town. Sitting in a cold tent on a snowy stump in the middle of winter after being attacked by bees. OFF TO A GREAT START, RIGHT?

So the game starts off a bit Japanese RPG-like, if you will.  You meet a cat on a train who asks you a bunch of questions that wind up being important and determining what you look like before you are dumped into a town and told that YOU are the new mayor.  Everyone is thrilled that you have arrived to take the part and you don’t have a choice in the matter but it all sounds very exciting.  Sure you could be bitter and confused, but… then again… think of the POWERS that come with such a position!  With great power comes great responsibility in animal crossing, but not the kind of responsibility that turns off gamers like me.

A villager in my friend's appropriately named town comments on how great their mayoral decision was to enact the "Beautiful Town" ordinance.

A villager in my friend’s appropriately named town comments on how great their mayoral decision was to enact the “Beautiful Town” ordinance.

The only real responsibility you have is to build new public projects and keep your townspeople happy; and that’s done by simply talking to them and playing the game!  A lot of the game is random which is exciting for me as a gamer.  I like logging on each day and not knowing what’s going to happen.  You get a variety of neighbors with different personalities, tastes, and hobbies, and it’s very fun to get to know these people that you ultimately have power over.  It’s kind of funny because no matter what you do, they love you (unless you like, hit them with a net or hammer).

Playing Barista in my town's coffee shop.  The game is to choose the right blend of beans, milk, and sugar for each customer!  Sure you could look it up but that destroys the fun.

Playing Barista in my town’s coffee shop. The game is to choose the right blend of beans, milk, and sugar for each customer! Sure you could look it up but that destroys the fun.

I find myself wanting to make my neighbors happy, of course, and I try my best to fulfill their requests, even if it’s to fetch a cherry for them that is literally 3 feet away on a tree.  You can find fish, bugs, and furniture for them depending on their moods and eventually, when your neighbors feel that they have been loved enough (and at random), they will move on to a new town and you will be able to get a new neighbor.

Life may start off in a crappy tent, but it gets better!

Life may start off in a crappy tent, but it gets better!

Enough about what the game is about!  I want to talk about why I have really loved playing the game lately and what aspects grabbed my attention.  First and foremost, the Multiplayer.  I love playing Animal Crossing with my friends.  I got my brother, best friends, and girlfriend to play the game with me and it’s such a great time when we do.  Special, time-sensitive events occur in the game and it’s more fun to experience these together for a number of reasons.

Cut-out standees appear in the center of town on certain days for great photo ops like this.

Cut-out standees appear in the center of town on certain days for great photo ops like this.

Maybe after playing GTAV for months, which I am still absolutely in love with, a peaceful, non-violent cute game was the yin to my yang.  I don’t know what it is, but Animal Crossing New Leaf just has a certain charm to it that really turned me on as a gamer and made me want to invest in my little town and its future.  To expand on that, I just love the sheer depth of play available to you in this game.  You can customize just about ANYTHING: your clothes, hats, an umbrella, your town flag, your tune, where you want your flowers to be, how you want your hair to look… the list is endless!

Constantly improving and redesigning your house is just one of those addictive aspects of the game that might just drive you to madness.  The best part is having friends over to appreciate your hard work.

Constantly improving and redesigning your house is just one of those addictive aspects of the game that might just drive you to madness. The best part is having friends over to appreciate your hard work.

So the customization is endless, but what you can do with your friends in Animal Crossing New Leaf is really endless too.  You can all visit each others’ towns, IM each other, trade, have competitions, and go to Tortimer’s Island where there are tons of fun mini games you can play.  I can’t tell you how many laughs I’ve had just having the three of us whacking each other on the head with bug nets for no particular reason other than the fact that it sounded and looked hilarious.

Havin' fun on Tortimer's Island after a good session of 'hit your friend with a bug net'.

Havin’ fun on Tortimer’s Island after a good session of ‘hit your friend with a bug net’.

Well I feel I could go on and on talking about how great I think this game is but to sum it up, I haven’t been able to put it down (for long periods of time…).  I have barely even touched Zelda because I just love logging into my town to see what’s going on and if my perfect pears grew and what crazy thing my hamster neighbor, Apple, wants from me today.  It’s an especially great game if you have some pals to play it with, but if you’re skeptical like I was about playing a kiddie-looking game full of anthropomorphic animals, let me reassure you: it’s more than you think it is.  My girlfriend keeps telling me she’s “created a monster” by exposing me to this game, but I am so happy I have discovered the joy of Animal Crossing.  I think I will be booting this game up almost daily like putting on a pair of warm, fuzzy slippers until it just gets worn out. 

Sometimes, Animal Crossing just makes you want to stand still and smell the roses.

Sometimes, Animal Crossing just makes you want to stand still and smell the roses.

 

 

 

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