How Are You Supposed To Enjoy Animal Crossing?

I know how to have fun playing a Mario game, a Zelda game or a Metroid game. I get Pikmin. I get Fire Emblem. Hell, I got Cubello. But I never got Nintendo's Animal Crossing series. Help me understand!

I've tried the GameCube version, the DS one and the Wii one. Nintendo kindly sent me a copy of the 3DS one — June's Animal Crossing: New Leaf — which I just started playing yesterday. And by "playing" I mean that I've dug up some fossils, written a couple of letters to virtual animal-people, shaken some fruit from trees, stepped on some flowers, sold some seashells, fished some fish and stood outside stores that open later than I wake up and close before I again try to play the game at night.

People love Animal Crossing! Do they love that stuff?

Am I doing it right? Am I really supposed to be writing letters to virtual animal-people?

My colleague Patricia Hernandez knows how Animal Crossing is meant to be played. She's an aficionado. We're having her review it, not me. Me? I need advice.

What's the secret? Play it in small doses and watch the seasons change? What if I don't care about drawing my own shirts? Am I doomed to not get the glory of this game?

Wait...

Is the trick here for me to stop thinking of Animal Crossing as a game? Is it better thought of as something else?

I'd like to have the kind of fun other people have with this series. Thank you.


Comments

    Why do people find minecraft fun?

      Precisely the question I've been asking since it was in beta

    I played a huge amount of Wild World, and one of the main reasons I kept coming back to it was the variety in the dialogue. Some of the stuff the villagers say is hilarious and it often comes out of nowhere. I could play the game for a full year before I'd start to see events repeating themselves. The fishing and bug-catching tournaments were particularly cool. I'd catch a large butterfly, thinking I'd be able to win with it, only to return to the Mayor and find that another villager had caught a giant Birdwing in the time I was off bug-hunting.

    I had so much fun with that game, but it's very difficult to describe why. Maybe it's because everything is so cute and happy in Animal Crossing. It's just such a fun game. There's no violence, swearing or over-the-top sexual promiscuity being shoved in my face. I can just relax and enjoy in the knowledge that my character is totally safe; no one wants to kill me. Animal Crossing appeals to my creative, imaginative inner child like no other game.

    Last edited 04/05/13 6:03 pm

    I have no idea why I have so much fun playing AC. All I know is I've never had as much fun playing a game other than I have playing AC. Just don't think about it in terms of objectives I guess.

    It's like asking 'how do you have fun in minecraft' or 'how do you have fun in the sims'. Animal crossing is about making your own fun most of the time. Personally I love trying to find all the fossils, I enjoy the fishing, and I enjoy razing every tree in the original village and then putting them back in lovely straight lines. But that's probably just my OCD showing.

    It's about development and customisation. Like a JRPG, but without the fighting and story, really. Build up your house. Hunt for items. Fill up the museum. It's great fun... which is strange, given I spend most of my time playing FPS's and RPG's.

    Blame the wife, I suppose ;)

    I loved the original game, it OWNED MY SOUL for about an entire year. I haven't invested in either of the sequels, mainly because they looked like exactly the same game. I'm undecided with "New Leaf."

    If it's any solace, it took me about a week to properly get into the swing of the game. I felt like I didn't understand it at first. But I would usually play no more than 30-60 minutes per day. Just check in, see what the neighbours are doing, pay off a bit more of the mortgage...

    AC on Gamecube owned the souls of my brother and me back in the day, almost as much as SSBM. I dared not to pick it up on DS. For 3DS though I may have to >_>

    I played the shit out of Wild World. In the beginning I was pretty "meh" about the game too, but then the more I played the more I got hooked. It got really mundane after a few months (where I was playing maybe 20 mins each day), so I had to force myself to stop playing, as I wasn't really enjoying it anymore. It's really an all-or-nothing game...

    I liked it for a while on DS. The main hook was just all the new little things and discoveries that could be made. I checked in each day in small doses, 20 minutes or whatever. Whether it be as simple as seeing what random items showed up at Nook's shop, or some new tent-shop visiting for a day, discovering if you made a snowman you would get a special item, I dunno. Also for a little while I had fun trolling online with other people.. Plus if I got into some kid with too much time on his hands' town, I could take back rare fruits or get a new haircut I hadn't unlocked yet, just steal things in general that I hadn't earned.

    Its okay, you needed a friend code from an online forum to join people's games (Kid-friendly Nintendo), and news spread pretty quick I was a thief. Maybe thats when I stopped? Aha..

    Because it's amazeball's! I think the main reason why I love to 'play' animal crossing isn't so much because your character 'plays' but that they just 'be!'

    For me, AC is like a vacation away from the hectic world. It can be a busy day, it can be a crazy or dull day, you might have had the best day and you just need a place to go and relax at the end of it all. Someone wrote (elsewhere,) that this was a game they played in-between all their other games. That they might have tackled many games back to back, but that AC was the one place they returned too (in between) all those worlds.

    It's familiar, it's constant and yes! very little changes from day to day, (but when there are those subtle changes) in the season, in the town, or with the animals. It's like a little reminder that this little world just goes on fine, in it's own zen time.

    Hello, Tis me, that dude that put 900+ hours into New Leaf already, not even knowing I would put in more than 8 when I first picked up the Japanese copy...

    The Genre is "Social" after all.
    Its an addiction of unlocking things and freedom to do what you want, NEARLY at your own pace Keyword is nearly, the games real time is part of what keeps you hooked, as events trigger during the year, and you unwillingly rush to get your daily unlocks done, yet, you question why you continue to unlock yet you keep doing it anyway. (The gold badges for instance, require some insane hours, 5000 medals earnt of minigames on the island, 5000 fish / bugs caught, 1000 street passes to name a few)
    I guess, because you can flaunt, compare, or help input your ideas with others, and just generally be a dork, both with those you know, and those anonymously (internet island / dream visits).

    There are some amazing ideas put into some of those villages out there, which will either make you drop the game on the spot saying "theres no way I can design this as awesome", or inspire you to hope one day, you will have something just as good, yet, still wondering why your doing this.

    It does sport a bit of fun co-operation/competition for a bit with party-like minigames on the island etc.

    /me expects to see the internet flooded with AC:NL life blogs once this is released.

    COLLECT ALL THE THINGS!

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