First Impressions: Doubutsu no Mori!

So yesterday after receiving and confirming that my most coveted Nintendo 64 game, Doubutsu no Mori (Animal Forest) was in working order, I decided to play for a little while! I was greeted with a cheerful title screen:

startscreen
Press Start Button! 2001 Nintendo! I can read that!

The welcome screen then appeared- this is where a villager from your town appears, says the time and date, and asks if you are ready to play. I was greeted for the first time by a hippo!

start
Oh man…. learning Japanese is going to be tough!

I thought about it, and I decided it would be best if I played the game that was already saved on the cart. That way, I could familiarize myself with the controls, the dialogue, and just get a general feel for the game. I selected the first name on the list, and I was ready to go!

firstlooks
This female character walked out of her house wearing a skull shirt- she and I would be friends for sure!

Like all of the other Animal Crossing games, I popped out of my house. I immediately felt like I was playing the Gamecube version of Animal Crossing, so that’s how I decided I was going to learn this game. I knew the two versions were pretty similar, so although I was guessing at a lot of their dialogue, I found that understanding what they were saying was not as daunting as I first imagined it to be.

famicomandroach
Cool apple tv, Famicom, and… a roach! Eww!

I peaked into each of the human players’ houses to see what they looked like. I was surprised to see that each house had one very large main room- no upstairs or basement like in Animal Crossing! I’ll miss having multiple rooms when I start my own town, but it’s not too big of a deal.

I talked to as many villagers as I could, and I’m pretty sure that one of them told me that it had been 374 months since they had seen me! Wait, what? The game has been out for 14 years, not 31! I noticed that the date was off by 13 days and the time off by about 30 minutes, but I guess I didn’t pay attention to the year at first. It was then that I realized whoever owned this game must have time traveled extensively, something I’m not very big on doing. I like to play the game “honestly” because I feel like time traveling is cheating. But if you do time travel, nothing against you! It’s just not really the way I prefer to play.

weeds
There is no way I’m going to pick all of these weeds!

I saved my game, then returned to the main menu. After a bit of trial and error, I found the option to correct the time, and I did so. Boy, was the game going to be confused!

yelloweyebrowguy
Hello, pig with yellow eyebrows!

One villager I spoke with said he hadn’t seen me in about 174 months…. that makes a bit more sense, I guess. I’m guessing that whoever owned this game played it enough to pay off their house and expand Tom Nook’s store, but didn’t really play much after that. Either that, or they never spoke to their villagers.

For awhile, I just had fun running around town trying to spot the differences between this game and Animal Crossing. One obvious cultural difference I noticed was that while the NTSC version of Animal Crossing had a wishing well, this version had a really cool shrine. I can’t wait to play through the holidays in this game and see how they differ from our holidays!

shrine
Is this shrine sarcastic like the wishing well is?

At one point, my husband was using a translator that he had on his phone, and we had a blast trying to translate everything. He took pictures of the words on the screen and the translations were sometimes pretty rough, but it actually was somewhat helpful!

I was getting ready to finish playing for the night, when I spotted a sweet dog villager (Goldie in the NTSC version, I believe) sleeping outside of her house! I woke her up, and she seemed quite embarrassed that she had fallen asleep outside.

With that, I returned to my house and saved my game for the night.

wartjr
I have this guy in my Animal Crossing town, and his name is Wart Jr.! However, his Japanese name translates to Sam! Hmm…

I think I will play the saved village for another day or two to get more acclimated to the game, then begin my own village. Thanks for reading!

 

 

At Long Last, Doubutsu No Mori Is Mine!

For many years, I had been coveting a Japanese game for the Nintendo 64 called Doubutsu no Mori- translated in English as “Animal Forest.” (Visit the official website for the game here but be warned, it is all in Japanese) As Animal Crossing fans probably know, this game is actually the very first installment in the Animal Crossing series! It was released in 2001 only in Japan. The sequel, Doubutsu no Mori +, was released for the Gamecube in 2002. This game was localized and became the Animal Crossing that we all know and love!

I have been playing Animal Crossing since the beginning. It was a day 1 purchase for me when it was released here in the States, and it made me instantly fall in love with the series. I had known about Doubutsu no Mori, of course, but I didn’t really have much hope of obtaining it. Besides, I didn’t have a Japanese system, I didn’t want to screw up my N64 by trying to mod it, and any converter I came across always seemed to be pricey!

I had the extreme fortune of coming across a converter on Amazon a couple months ago for only $30! Other converters were listed for much higher prices. I also found several used copies of the game from Japan at decent prices. I decided to bite the bullet and make my purchases, taking the risk that the converter or game wouldn’t even work.

The converter arrived first. It is pretty simple, really- you just plug it into your N64 and put the Japanese cartridge into the top slot. The different between the NTSC cartridge and Japanese cartridge is actually pretty minimal- just a difference of a couple cart locator tabs.

converter
Very simplistic!

With the converter in my possession, I anxiously awaiting my gift from overseas. Imagine my surprise when I got home from work today and my husband handed it to me!!

doubutsunomoricartidge
I’ve waited 14 years for this!

I was so excited! It took about 3 weeks to arrive, and I’m glad it got here safe and sound. Of course, now came the important part: making sure everything worked! A part of me didn’t even want to try to turn it on- I knew if the converter was bogus or the game was busted, I was going to be so upset! But I didn’t buy the game just to stare at it on the shelf, so I loaded the game and fired up the N64!

nintendo64converted
This is what the game and converter look like… please ignore the dust on my N64 lol! I swear I do play it!

The second I heard the intro music, I got the biggest smile on my face. I knew I was in for a treat!!

That’s all for right now. Check back for another post later when I write about my first time playing Doubutsu no Mori! Bye!