Wednesday, September 24, 2008

So I've Been Playing.... - Animal Crossing (GameCube)

I tweaked the title of the new feature a little bit to accommodate games that I've played in the past (and thus would not have "just started" playing), but have given renewed attention. The main reason is that this game, Animal Crossing, is one such game.

First of all, it's ridiculous. The game is ridiculous. Your character is a human with some kind of horns or something, maybe a demon? I don't know, but you're like a little kid and not evil at all. Anyways, you move to a new town and get a house and get to know your neighbors. Not like that, sicko, it's rated E. Your neighbors, of course, are different kinds of animals, from elephants to alligators to dragons, as well as the more pedestrian cats, dogs, and chickens.

Your character spends the majority of his/her time running around doing errands, like delivering items for the various animals of your town, fishing, catching bugs, picking up seashells, etc. You can sell most items at the local mart, and use that money to buy furniture for your pad. There's also a museum that houses local fauna, priceless art, and fossils. To dig up fossils, you need a shovel. To catch fish or bugs, you need a fishing pole or a net, respectively. And to acquire art, you just have to buy it or get it from someone for doing one of their errands.

The game sounds a bit simplistic, and truth be told, it is pretty simple. But there's something about the small sense of accomplishment you get when you pay off your mortgage, or complete a T-Rex skeleton, or catch a rare fish, that keeps me going back to the game over and over.

While there's no true multiplayer option, you can have up to four characters living in your village, and there are a number of small, fun ways your characters can interact. You can make posts on the local bulletin board, place signs in the ground and write on them, write letters to each other, and put items in your "gyroid" (a helper robot that manages the business related to your house) to make them available for other players to purchase. Additionally, the animals in the town will gossip about other characters ("Where has player B been?", "Check out this letter Player D sent me!", etc). A little personality gets added to the game when other people live in your town.

It's a pretty cheap game these days, so if you've already got a GameCube or a Wii and it sounds interesting, it's worth checking out. Also, there's this story, which tugs at the heart-strings just a little bit. It probably won't (and shouldn't) affect whether or not you want to play the game; it's just something for you mushes out there.

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