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:

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!

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!

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.

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!



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