This month, I thought I’d give some love to one of my favorite video game series, Animal Crossing! For those unfamiliar with the series, “Animal Crossing” is also the name of the first game released in North America… but for the purpose of this post, I’ll just focus on the series as a whole!
For me, my love of Animal Crossing started when I was 16. I had been seeing previews of it for months in the Nintendo Power magazine. It seemed like such an interesting idea for a game: rather than have levels to beat and ultimately, an ending, this game continued on indefinitely. You played at your own pace, you completed goals at your own pace, and the best part of it all: you lived among many animal villagers!
The day the first Animal Crossing came out, my mom and I had actually taken my dog to the vet. She cut her leg open on some chicken wire we had in the back yard (my poor baby!) and though it wasn’t a life threatening injury, she needed some surgery to get all patched up. To pass the time, we went to Target, and there I saw the game! I just had to have it that day.
My first days of playing, I was amazed. The animals were so adorable, and there were so many things I wanted to do to perfect my little town. I had a mortgage I wanted to pay off so I could make my house bigger, I had fish and bugs I wanted to catch, I had errands to run for my little animal friends… and I loved every second of it! Every day was a new experience.
The first (North American) version of Animal Crossing came out in 2002, and there have been a few sequels since: Animal Crossing: Wild World, Animal Crossing: City Folk, and Animal Crossing: New Leaf, plus an updated version of New Leaf called Animal Crossing: New Leaf Welcome amiibo. There have been two spin-offs: Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer and Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival. There have been three versions released exclusively in Japan: Doubutsu no Mori (which was released before the first N.A. version of Animal Crossing), Doubutsu no Mori + (also released before the first N.A. version) and Doubutsu no Mori e+. Doubutsu no Mori was also released on the Chinese iQue player, which was featured in a blog post I wrote a long time ago! In addition, Wild World was re-released onto the Wii U Virtual Console. Aside from the iQue player version, I own all of these games. Yes- Every. Single. One! Crazy, I know!
The world of Animal Crossing continues to draw me back in for many reasons. For one, I love the relaxing nature of the games. A few months after I got the first Animal Crossing, I became very ill. I was in the hospital for two weeks and when I got out, I was still pretty weak and sick and couldn’t even go to school. I had to be homeschooled for the last 3 months of my junior year of high school, and that wasn’t super fun. However, I relied on Animal Crossing as my daily escape. Visiting my villagers every day and going through my daily chores made me feel so much better mentally, despite being sick. It really made a difference in my well-being!
Also, I love the fact that the games are real-time. If it’s 3 in the morning for you, it’s 3 in the morning in the game (unless you mess with the time!). Seasons pass just like in real life, which is amazing for me since where I live, there is practically no winter! There are holidays to celebrate, too, which is a lot of fun. Wild World has its own set of made up holidays, but all of the other games feature holidays such as Christmas, Halloween, and Easter!
The fact is, Animal Crossing has been a part of my life for almost 15 years now, and my love for the series has only grown over time! I still check in on all of my towns in my various games, though real life gets in the way and I don’t check them as often as I would like. I’m super excited for the mobile Animal Crossing game (which there is very little information about), and I can’t wait to see new console versions of the series as well, if they plan on releasing more. If not, I have plenty of established villages to keep me entertained! 🙂