Animal Crossing: New Leaf and Me


I’ve made no bones about being a long-time and stalwart Nintendo fan. As such, I own and play my 3DS on the regular. I believe it’s truly one of the best handheld systems to ever exist, and it’s not even about the 3D function. I’m a super fan of the effect, but if it gives you a headache? Turn it off. The game selection alone is worth the price of admission. Not only does it have a solid library of first- and third-party titles, but the eShop contains a whole world of fantastic games to choose from, from downloadable versions of said first-party Nintendo titles to a myriad of smaller indie titles. Download Cave Story immediately, if you haven’t already. Also, the Gameboy Color classics Zelda: Oracle of Seasons/Ages are both available for $4.99 each for a limited time. Just so you know.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released for download on the eShop at midnight this past Saturday, and anyone who’s experienced the crack that is the Animal Crossing experience was all over it. I am most assuredly a member of that club. Now, I’m not a total AC fiend—the last time I played a game from the series was the original on my (proudly) purple GameCube—but I totally jumped at the chance to immerse myself in this latest iteration. Not only did I get the thrill of instant gratification by obtaining a full version of the game mere minutes after it was presented to the public, but I was able to get cracking on making my town the best it could be a few hours early. I am the mayor, after all.

Here’s the thing about Animal Crossing, though: it’s totally a life sim of the most mundane quality. All you do is work your butt off in order to pay your debts to a racketeering raccoon! Okay, that’s a bit hyperbolic. Tom Nook is the tamest of loan sharks, considering he charges no interest, and lets you pay back your loans entirely at your own pace. Nonetheless, the game’s major play mechanic consists of embarking on a series of collection quests in order own in-game property. This fellow on twitter sums it up pretty well:


Why then, is it so damned fun? Why do I not mind fishing and collecting bugs for hours? For some reason, there is nothing more thrilling to me than logging into my newly christened town, running barefoot along the beach (you can take your shoes and socks off and run barefoot on the beach!) and collecting as many seashells as I can carry, just to sell them to the highest bidder (read: the recycling shop, the only game in town).

Many studies have been made on this style of gameplay, where we gamers are reduced to rats who repeatedly tap into the reward centers of our brains. Almost every facebook/mobile social game ever takes advantage of this instinctual impulse. But where said facebook/mobile games are annoying, Animal Crossing is a delight.


Picnic? Don’t mind if I do!

Honestly, I think it comes down to cold, hard cash. Those mobile games that are so addictive? They make grinding for levels well, a total grind, then tempt you to skip ahead to a better in-game situation by trading in real-life currency. Sure, you can take the time to level-up through your own hard work, but there will be boredom, and there will be lots and lots of clicking.

With Animal Crossing, you pay your one-time fee for the game and that’s it. I’m not ruling out the possibility for DLC sometime in the future, and Nintendo would be wise to capitalize on our desires for exclusive furniture/clothes/wallpapers/carpets, etc., etc., etc. But for the most part, your villager and mine are free to be you and me. Like I said, there’s no deadline for paying off your house payments, and you also don’t have to incessantly bother your friends for help in making your town function.


There’s always time to stop and enjoy the one of the museum’s many aquariums.

The other thing the AC titles do with aplomb is regulate your play schedule. Shops are only open for certain hours during the day, and your in-town friends go to sleep at night. Just like real life! This isn’t a game you can play into the wee small hours of the morning. They also do this totally beautiful thing where they promise lots and lots of cool stuff tomorrow.

Hey! There’s going to be a fishing competition! Tomorrow. Plant this exotic fruit and you’ll have trees that will gift you with their bounty. Tomorrow. Send your town residents friendly letters and they may send you gifts in return. Tomorrow. Want a net to catch all those crazy bugs you see flying/crawling/digging around? Well, the Nooklings’ shop only has shovels and fishing poles for sale today, so come back tomorrow.


K.K. Slider is the new Daft Punk!

There’s this awesome dance club that’s opening up! Well, it’s opening up like twenty days from now assuming you pass all the requisite town ordinances. And so on and so forth. Get ready to check into this sucker every day for the next year.

The vibe is laid-back and totally relaxing. There’s an impetus to play every day, but fifteen minutes is sufficient to glean a good experience. Nothing feels like a chore, even if that’s exactly what it is. Plus, everything and everyone is just adorable.

I’d go on about the merits of this lovely little idyllic slice of life that is Animal Crossing: New Leaf, but I’ve got fish to catch.

Want to share the experience with me? My friend code is 5069-4610-2958. Leave yours in the comments and we’ll New Leaf it up!


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  1. I’ll be getting the game tomorrow, I can’t wait! :3

    I played the hell out of Wild World on the DS, it really is the ultimate chill out game.

    Added you, my code is 0962-9828-4651.

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