Why is Nintendo’s life sim so addicting?
As you might have noticed, I (and countless other MyIGNers) have been hopelessly lost in the world of Animal Crossing: New Leaf. What seems to be an innocent little sandbox life sim has completely taken over our lives, demanding our attention, commanding us to pay our endless loans. I just can’t stop playing it, and many others here undoubtedly feel the same way.
So what’s the appeal of Animal Crossing? That’s what a lot of people have been asking me lately. It is a bit deceiving, I admit, and it’s pretty much impossible to explain. So that’s why, people-who-have-yet-to-purchase-this-game, I’m going to (try to) explain to you guys why every gamer needs to play Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Wish me luck.
Animal Crossing is basically Nintendo’s version of The Sims, if you want some sort of analogy. But what sets AC apart is that it’s less about you and more about the big picture. Many people ask me what the point of Animal Crossing is, as in what is the goal. The answer may or may not surprise you, but there really is no goal in Animal Crossing. Rather, you decide when to end your game.
But if you really want an answer to that question, I guess the goal of Animal Crossing is to, simply, be the (very) best. The game has multiple different rating systems to check how you’re doing, from a fictional agency that rates your home decor to citizen statements that rate your town performance. How do you raise these ratings, you might ask? Simple. Do stuff. Collect fossils and donate them to the museum. Catch fish and sell them for moolah. Pretty much everything you do will affect your town in one way, shape, or form. And that’s where the magic begins.
A lot of what you do in Animal Crossing is interacting with your residents. What makes the NPC’s in Animal Crossing unique is that each resident has a distinct personality, and you’ll grow to love them more and more each time you talk to them. And trust me, you’ll really want to talk to them. They are your neighbors. They are your constituents. Everything you do will affect them somehow. And before you know it, you’ll be doing stuff to things and doing things to stuff that you didn’t even think was possible even in your wildest dreams. What?
It’s the charm of Animal Crossing that makes you fall in love with it. Partway through the game, you’ll unlock a secret island, to which you must ride with a Japanese mythological creature – a Kappa – to experience tropical paradise. Along the way, he’ll be singing songs to you with the most asinine lyrics you’ll ever hear… and I love him for it.
On a more personal level, I’m trying to get my neighbor Kitty to fall in love with me. I don’t know if it’s possible to court another neighbor. But I don’t care. She’s friggen hot. I love her attitude; she’s always giving me sass. And she invited me to her house once! It was lovely, full of… really, really expensive stuff. And then she told me she used to be a model and she came to my town to escape the paparazzi. Yup, I’m in love…
My other neighbor Merry decided to throw her own birthday party the other day. She told me to bring her a gift, so I did. Actually, I just wrapped an old shirt in wrapping paper and gave it to her, but she didn’t mind. She loved it! And then she invited me to her place, where we partied. It was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in an Animal Crossing game. Her cake took up four times the size of her body, and she and my neighbor Avery wouldn’t stop humming my town’s theme as they walked around Merry’s house aimlessly. And while that may seem perfectly normal, keep in mind that I had changed my town theme to the main theme of “Xenoblade Chronicles”… so here I am at Merry’s birthday party, with two (likely drunk) animals running around a giant birthday cake singing Xenoblade’s theme song totally out of sync. Only in Animal Crossing.
I can go on and on about this game. I can talk about how I made my neighbor Deli say “Welcome to 7-11” every time I talk to him. I can talk about how one of K.K. Rider’s songs made me feel like a cowboy. I can talk about how I totally loved lighting up firecrackers next to my neighbors on New Year’s Even in Wild World. But that would be too much. I already spent all this time talking about the insanity that is my town in Animal Crossing. I probably never accomplished what I wanted in this blog either. Ah well. That’s enough reason for me to love Animal Crossing: New Leaf, I guess.
It’s the end of the day, 10:59 p.m., Animal Crossing Time. I lie there in my bed, thinking to myself… just what am I doing with my life? I spent the past four hours in a virtual world, spending the day fishing and catching bugs, collecting dinosaur fossils for some dumb museum, and paying off a loan that will unfortunately just keep on increasing. Why am I doing this? Is it really worth my time?
The clock strikes. It’s that familiar intro to Xenoblade’s main theme again. 11 pm. A pause. A moment of silence. Then, the 11 pm theme. And this is why I love Animal Crossing.
Animal Crossing owners! Why do you love the series so much? Non-Animal Crossing owners! What’s keeping you from buying New Leaf? Discuss in the comments below! Also, if you have questions about ACNL, I’ll happily answer them below as well!