Animal Crossing (2002) by Nintendo

Animal Crossing was a mobile game before there was a mobile platform, and oh boy did I love this game.  Nintendo finally found a way to encourage players to turn on their GameCube everyday, you had to see what Tom Nook’s store had for sale.  I was collecting the modern set and there was always one more piece to look for.  Every time you walked into the store and found something that you wanted it was like Christmas. This was the epitome of the random number generator in games and there was nothing you could do to influence the result.  But the beauty of Animal Crossing was that everything was cosmetic.  As soon as you started the game you could unlock all the tools and equipment and do whatever you wanted.  The goal was to mold the town into a place that you wanted to visit every day.  If there was something that you didn’t like you could probably change it.

There have been a few sequels to the game on the Nintendo DS, Wii and the Nintendo 3DS.  But each of them added functionality that merely enhanced the games features without changing anything dramatic.  I like the simplicity of the original game.  I had a set routine that I would go through every day that is still true when I play the more recent releases.  First, check the fruit orchard for new fruit to sell.  I would also plant trees close to my house so that I could check them quickly and easily.  Fruit would grow on the trees every three days, so you would know in advance if you would have fruit to sell.  For me this was my main source of income.  For fruit that was native to your hometown Tom Nook (a racoon that had a controlling stake in the town’s economy, and owned the only store in town) would buy them for 100 bells each.  However, if you found some fruit from another town he would buy them for 500 bells.

You could quickly amass a small fortune from the fruit market trade if you planted enough trees of the correct variety.  For me it was worth getting a second GameCube and second copy of the game in order to trade fruit back and forth.  This was a special time in the GameCube’s life cycle because you could bring your memory card to a friends house and visit their town or vice versa.  You weren’t able to play at the same time, but you could take their fruit back to your town or buy something from their store and you could even write letters back and forth.  Like I said before, Animal Crossing has mobility written into it’s core design philosophy.  And thankfully my second GameCube would be used by my younger sister to play her favorite games and create her own Animal Crossing town.

Other than that the Museum was my main time commitment.  I vowed to collect every fossil, fish, and bug for the lovely Blathers.  As a bonus, anything that I collected twice could be sold back to Tom Nook and increase my fortune.  You would use bells to expand your house and pay back your ever increasing debt to the bank.  Animal Crossing ended up being a harsh mirror for the real world economic practices of society.  I am surprised they didn’t saddle you with student loans as soon as you started the game.  Right now I am just waiting for the inevitable Nintendo Switch edition for this classic series!  Let me pay back my loans in real life and on my video game system!

Tomorrow we discuss the 16 year old MMORPG, Final Fantasy XI.

Jake “prettyboyplaid” Fredericks

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