Tag Archives: New Leaf

Doing “Chores” In Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing

Boy, I’m sure getting a lot of mileage out of that header, eh?

I’m not a morning person at all. When I wake up, it’s a struggle to get out of bed and get in the shower, no matter how much sleep I got last night. I also tend to wake up an hour or so in advance of whenever I actually need to be up, so I can either risk getting another hour of fitful sleep and praying I’ll be more awake after some additional pillowtime, or I can just sit there miserably, slowly waking up. Neither option tends to make me particularly happy, so what I’ve been doing lately is sitting in bed and playing some Animal Crossing: New Leaf before I go about my day.

For the last few weeks, I’ve had an Animal Crossing “routine” that I developed to minimize my playtime while maximizing my town maintenance. When all the dust settles, my chores usually take me less than a half-hour, which is perfect for slowly waking up in the morning and then putting away the 3DS to go shower and eat breakfast. The chores are a combination of preventing natural town decay and adding to my collection of emotions/furniture/clothing/museum crap.

After staring at the ceiling for a few minutes and picking a random deity to help me through the coming drudgery of the day, I’ll reach over to my bedside table and grab my 3DS. I’ll then put my phone back down when I eventually figure out it’s not my 3DS (takes a while when I’m groggy), and I’ll grab that instead. The first thing I do is make a complete circuit of my town, pulling any weeds and watering any flowers I may come across. Whenever I see a rock, I’ll hit it with a shovel until I’ve found both the money rock and the gemstone rock. I’ll stop in at The Roost to get a coffee, despite this being a total waste of money with no tangible effect on gameplay and despite the fact that I don’t even drink coffee in real life (although given my issues with waking up, I probably should). I’ll also stop by Lloid’s public works project and spoonfeed him a few Bells to build a vastly overpriced park bench or whatever. I’ll continue with my circuit until I’m sure I’ve found both special rocks, plucked all the weeds, watered all the wilted flowers, uncovered all four fossils, and picked an apple for Dr. Shrunk. After that, I hit up Main Street.

I always head to the right side of Main Street first and get my fossils appraised by Blathers. I only have like six left to find, so he usually gives ’em all back to me so I can get dat sweet $$$ from Reese. I also pop upstairs while I’m at the museum and drop off any gyroids or gemstones into one of the exhibit rooms I’ve set up solely for gyroid/gemstone storage. Next, I check Kicks, the Able Sisters’, and T&T Mart for any clothing or furniture I think I might want. I always buy out all of the flower seeds in Leif’s garden shop just because I’m trying to make my town faaabulous, even though it’s more plants to water later on and they’re all just going to die when I eventually put my character into cryosleep. Tom Crook’s store also gets a visit to see whether there are any fancy new exterior renovations available (although my house looks damn fine as it is, thank you very much), and then it’s over to da club where I give Shrunk his fruit and he programs a new emotion into my robot soul. I exit Main Street, sell all my extraneous crap to Reese, add my new purchases to my home or to storage, and then that’s it. Thirty minutes or less every morning, and my town looks great.

I’m still adhering to this routine fairly rigidly, but a few days ago, I paid off my entire mortgage. I usually view this as a “completion” of Animal Crossing (despite the fact that there’s still a crap-ton of stuff I could save up Bells for), so I’m unsure how much longer these chores will hold my interest. Eventually, I’ll take a deep breath and consign my town to the ravages of time, allowing weeds to proliferate, flowers to die, neglected villagers to move away, cockroaches to colonize my mansion, and so on. I’ve done this many times before with many different Animal Crossing towns, and it’s never an easy decision. To date, I’ve spent over a month’s worth of playtime on making my town beautiful, and to let that all go to waste…sigh. On the other hand, playing a few minutes of Animal Crossing in the AM sure makes my mornings a lot easier, so it’s possible I’ll keep doing my “chores” even when there’s no longer any point to them.

Summer Games

sunshine

I try to play games as little as possible in the summer. I live in a place where it’s cold eight months of the year, so once the sunshine rolls around, I make it my duty to get outside as much as possible. Granted, sometimes I end up just lounging around outside as much as I do inside, but there’s still something about the beautiful summer weather that makes me feel really guilty if I’m locked up inside playing video games. On the whole, I still end up gaming more during the summer than I do during the rest of the year, mostly because I’m far too busy and stressed out during school to sit down and allow myself to unabashedly enjoy an hour of video game time. So I’ve worked out a system: during the summer, I do outsidey things during the day, and late at night, I fire up my game consoles. Guilt-free!

The beautiful weather actually does have an influence on the types of games I want to play during the summer, though. Around June every year, I always get the urge to play a few certain games because of their ties to the season. I don’t know, man, it’s just a mood. These seasonal urges aren’t entirely uncommon for me; for example, I always want to play Final Fantasy Tactics Advance in the winter because of the snowball fight tutorial, and I always want to play Knights of the Old Republic II in the fall because…okay, well, I haven’t figured that one out yet.

Every summer, I can feel Super Mario Sunshine calling to me. Practically everyone I know considers the game a huge misstep, but it came out when I was at a very impressionable and optimistic age, and I loved the hell out of it. Mind you, I had never played Super Mario 64 at this point, so I had no comparison (today, I would admit that Mario 64 remains the better game, but I still don’t consider Sunshine a misstep). The setting of Isle Delfino is probably the biggest thing that draws me in; picturing it right now in my mind’s eye, I can see the neatly European architecture of Delfino Plaza, the idyllic greenery of Bianco Hills, the gentle pastel colours of Noki Bay, and even the dusky calmness of Sirena Beach (even though the hotel was haunted, I still found it to be pretty cozy). When I first played the game as a youngster, I would sometimes make Mario go for long swims in the ocean to “cool him off,” because I genuinely thought the water looked immensely refreshing. Basically, the entire setting looked like a beautiful resort island that I desperately wanted to visit and just relax on its sandy beaches, play in its theme parks, and chill in its villages. Isle Delfino remains one of my favourite settings in any video game, and its summer vacationy design is undoubtedly the reason why I get a hankering for it every summer.

Animal Crossing is the other game that I always want to play in the summer. Hell, thanks to its real-time seasonal system, every season reminds me of Animal Crossing. It was bright and sunny the other day and I remarked how it was “perfect Animal Crossing weather”; a few minutes later, it started raining, and I noted how nice it was to watch the rain because it “felt like Animal Crossing rain.” As I’ve written before, the game is my current obsession and I may have a problem. Releasing New Leaf in the middle of summer should’ve been a death sentence for a niche game like this one, but it was the best way to ensure that I picked it up. Apparently lots of other people felt the same way, because at half a million sales in a month, Animal Crossing’s days as a niche series may be quickly coming to an end.

The summer is always the best time to play Animal Crossing. There are a lot of town events, the rarest fish come out, the bugs come out (period; try finding a good crop of bugs in the winter), and the whole town generally looks and sounds lush and pleasant. I think nothing of taking my 3DS outside with me and playing some New Leaf on the back porch because, strangely enough, I often feel Animal Crossing is meant to be played while surrounded by actual nature. It’s a game of chores, and somehow, being out in the grandeur of nature or whatever makes the most tedious Animal Crossing tasks go by a little faster.

I know gamers get urges to play certain games all the time. It’s how digital distribution services make a killing; by having a selection of impulse titles (usually repackaged nostalgia) priced to move and ready to snap up any customer who wanders in and says, “Oh man, you know what I really have a craving for right now?” It would imagine that I’m not alone in having certain seasons trigger these impulses as well. Are there any summer games you have a hankering for right now?

Animal Crossing: My New Obsession

Animal Crossing

The last game that completely dominated my life was Fire Emblem: Awakening. I bought it in late January due to a shipping mishap and didn’t stop playing it until about mid-May. Since then, I’ve been going back and forth through a few different time-wasters like Final Fantasy Dimensions and Star Wars: The Old Republic, but nothing’s really grabbed me since.

About two weeks ago, a friend of mine intimated that he was considering purchasing Animal Crossing: New Leaf. This took me by surprise, since he’s never played any Animal Crossing games in the past and has never shown any interest in the series whatsoever. The two of us play a lot of obscure games together, even some that would be considered casual, but I didn’t think a game about interior decoration and fuzzy animal neighbours was really his jam. When he took the plunge, I found my excuse to pick up the game for myself.

I didn’t really need New Leaf, because I had just bought City Folk for my sisters and we were knee-deep in that particular iteration at the time (still are, in fact). But boy, was buying New Leaf ever a great idea. This game is by far the best version of the series, so much so that it makes the broad leap from 2002’s Animal Crossing to Wild World look much smaller by comparison, while also making the pitiful jump from Wild World to City Folk (the latter game being basically a slightly enhanced Wii port of Wild World) look downright pathetic. If you’ve ever considered buying an Animal Crossing game, and you’ve never played one before, you’re in for a treat with New Leaf. In the past, I would’ve said that if you’ve played Wild World then there’s no point in playing any of the others, but New Leaf is worth double-dipping now (or in my case, quadruple-dipping).

I tend to play a lot of games solo, even if they have online multiplayer. Yet for some reason, I really enjoy the online multiplayer in New Leaf, so much so that I genuinely look forward to visiting other people’s towns. I like seeing how they’ve customized things, which residents they have, how far along their Main Street has come, what their native fruit is, what their home is like, what they’re wearing, etc. I went to my Twitter pal Milin‘s town a few days ago and really just screwed around; I didn’t really do anything that helped me progress in-game except steal a bunch of his fruit. Yet we had 4 people in the town, partied in his pad, dug holes around his house, and despite none of it really making an impact on our in-game progress or really consisting of much other than just hanging out, it was still a memorable experience. Pictures were even taken to document the occasion. Altogether, it was an oddly compelling online experience, and one I admit I kind of prefer to traditional multiplayer.

So, with that being said, if any of you have the game and want to get some multiplayer New Leaf going, I’m totally down to play. You can follow me on Twitter and DM me your Friend Code, or just email it to me at pixelbubble@gmail.com. Sound good?

Animal Crossing Stories

Animal Crossing

I love combing my social networks whenever a new Animal Crossing game drops. The most unexpected people are outed as fans, people who I would usually assume are too “cool” for a quirky, younger-skewing game like Animal Crossing. I’m by no means someone who considers himself too “cool” for “kiddie” Nintendo games, but neither am I really the target audience for Animal Crossing. I like being able to complete my games in a linear fashion, make steady progress through the storyline or the dungeons or the stages or what have you, and then shelve it, knowing that I can enjoy the full satisfaction of having seen all there is to see. Animal Crossing, as sandboxy as game as they come, presents a problem for me in that I have to invent my own challenges if I want to consider the game “completed.” Of course, as many fans of the series will tell you, it’s impossible to truly “complete” Animal Crossing.

I remember the months leading up to the first game’s release in 2002. There was an issue of Nintendo Power where a few of the magazine’s writers kept a diary of their interactions within the game. My sisters and I read that article over and over again until the countdown to the game’s release became almost unbearable. We had planned out our individual towns, houses, and characters months in advance. When the game finally came out, we played it for a year straight without ever getting bored. To us, the general game concept was just that good. Usually, a game that “can be played infinitely” is code for “gets boring due to a lack of objectives real fast,” but to our young minds, this was the only game we needed. We travelled back and forth and visited each other in half-hour shifts ad infinitum. The the only thing that would’ve made the game better for us would have been splitscreen multiplayer, something the series still doesn’t have (although it received online multiplayer with the DS follow-up, Wild World).

A long time ago, neighbour had an all-nighter gaming bash for his 12th birthday, and since I was the GameCube guy, I brought my little purple box along with Super Smash Bros. Melee, Soul Calibur II, and F-Zero GX. I let someone else set it up on the upstairs TV, then headed into the basement to watch people play Gran Turismo (A-Spec, I think) and Devil May Cry on the PS2. People left the PS2 area every so often to check out the other systems on other floors of the house, but eventually I realized that they weren’t coming back. I began to worry that they had started the Smash Bros. tournament without me, so I headed upstairs to the GameCube room. What I found was a dozen preteen boys (yes, the same ones that would be pointing out your homosexuality on Call of Duty these days) huddled around a 13″ TV calmly playing the Animal Crossing disc that I had accidentally left in the GameCube. They had started a new file, with the player character named for the birthday boy (he was allowed to play five minutes longer than anyone else). You bet your ass these kids fought like hyenas over the controller before devising a hierarchy by which turns were taken, with certain players assigned certain roles (bug catcher, fruit collector, fisherman, etc.) according to their caste. It was a suburban Lord of the Flies.

I didn’t touch Animal Crossing all through high school and halfway through university. My mom was just getting into video games when the 3DS was about to come out, so I suggested Animal Crossing as a nice, calm game we could enjoy together. I gave her my DS Lite and preordered a 3DS (whoops), and I picked up the last two copies of Wild World that my local EB Games would ever see. We’ve been playing it about two years now, and of course, the best times are when we’re in the same town together. She likes to arrive at my gate dressed like a psycho, then she proceeds to hide crap all over town and force me to find it. Yeah, it’s a riot.

I don’t know why, but my sister wanted to play Animal Crossing the other day. I had been eying the Wii iteration, City Folk, ever since it dropped to $20 under the budget-priced Nintendo Selects label. It arrived last Friday, just before we would’ve had to endure a painful weekend without it, and we’ve been playing the heck out of it ever since. She’s already strip-mined our town and purchased her first house expansion. Me? I bought a watering can.

Now, New Leaf just came out, and it looks like the biggest leap forward the series has made since Wild World. I tend to be a generation behind with my Animal Crossings, so it’ll likely be a while before I pick it up. Deep down, I know that somewhere along the line, I won’t be able to resist its siren call of mortgages and weird animal friends. I’m sure I’ll try to pick it up when it’s just gone out of print (City Folk was a hassle to wrangle).