Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The Animal Crossing Retrospective
Animal Crossing, Animal Crossing. We love you so. Not only have you brought endless joy to children with no friends, you have brought joy and tears to the eyes of adults who maybe had friends and just liked your game. This article is more of a review, but since I am talking about the Animal Crossing series as a whole (the last new game came out in 2008) I decided to call it a retrospective. Because after all; that is what it really is.
Story: You start off your adventure in a vehicle (it varies in every one of the three games) where you are interviewed by a strange animal inside. Your answers to the questions shape what your character’s gender and overall looks are. But where are we going on this mystery vehicle ride? We are going to a town (which you get to name yourself) inhabited with animals who talk and behave like normal humans do. Now for the sake of the article we will refer to it as “Animal Town.” You are the new guy in town, and actually the only human there. You are introduced to the town shop owner Tom Nook, a cheapskate raccoon, who immediately puts you to work for him. After doing pretty much whatever he wants for a little bit, you are basically set free to do whatever you would like. This game is a “free roamer” meaning you can pretty much go anywhere in the entire Animal Town whenever you want to with no real restrictions. So, it is safe to say that this game really has no set story line. The rest is essentially what you write yourself.
Game play: The game play of the Animal Crossing series is really what sets it apart from other video games. Once you have gone through the required mumbo jumbo that I mentioned above you are pretty much set free. Each player owns a house and they can decorate it as they wish. You can buy items at Tom Nook’s local shop. This game is excellent for anyone that enjoys collecting things because there are hundreds of fun items to use to decorate your living space. Some of the things they have are very creative and fun. You can also go fishing and bug catching, with tournaments for both taking place almost every weekend. You can mail letters and socialize with a variety of eccentric animals including an egotistical tortoise and a pigeon who serves some of the most expensive coffee in the world. The main currency in the game are “bells”, which are earned by selling your existing items or selling fruit that can be found on trees everywhere around the town. One interesting feature of the town is that it allows you to set the time in the town. The game runs entirely on real time, even including the seasons and their holidays. If you set it to your time it is September when it is really September, it is dark when it is really dark, and it even snows in the winter time.
Other Elements: This game looks like a box of crayons threw up on the Hogle Zoo. There is a ton of color in this game. Almost everyone and everything in the town is chalked full of smiles and vibrant colors. This makes for a very welcoming and happy environment. The humans look like they came straight out of a Japanese anime with exaggerated features and bright colored clothes. Overall the music is very catchy and really fits whatever situation you are at in the game. There are a ton of music tracks; one for almost every hour of the day.
Summary: Overall, I‘d have to say Animal Crossing is one of those games that is simple and fun. It just puts a smile on your face. The three animal crossing games are out for the Nintendo 64 and Game Cube, the Nintendo DS and the Wii. All of the versions are essentially the same, but the DS and Wii versions are the most recent, so I recommend picking up one of those. This is a game that is great for gamers of every age. It is designed in such a way so that anyone can pick it up and just play. I give the entire Animal Crossing series an overall score of 8.5/10.