Miyamoto's communication games is finally crossing over to the rest of us, and you better be prepared to spend a few years on this one.
As soon as I walked (read: ran) through the doors of E3’s West Hall, I headed immediately for Nintendo’s booth, trying to get there before at least two thirds of the other media did. I went immediately for 1080 White Storm, only to whimper when the Nintendo rep standing next to it tried to comfort me by telling me that the video only showing they had up was pretty. Dejected, I wandered past Metroid Prime, and even the incredible new Zelda, and I found myself being asked by another Nintendo rep to try my hand at the new build of Animal Crossing.
Who would ever think this would be the game to suck me in for a few hours amongst Nintendo’s enormous lineup?
In Animal Crossing, you find yourself living your alternate life in an alternate world. Thanks to the GameCube’s internal clock, the game reflects time and seasonal changes. So, in the spring months, you may be able to fish for salmon down at the river day after day, but you’ll have to change your itinerary the rest of the year as it becomes harder in the summer to find salmon, and downright impossible to find them in the autumn and winter months. Ultimately, there are rewards to be had in the game that can only be acquired by playing through all 4 seasons in the game, requiring you to continue playing the game for at least a full year.
Day and night changes are also apparent as the town is bustling with activity during the morning and afternoon hours, but gets awfully quiet during the nighttime hours. Fortunately, for the nocturnal beast in all of us, there is still plenty to do in the wee hours of the night. Take a night shift at work, go fishing, and even play through special events that you may not have seen otherwise.
As you probably know by now, Animal Crossing is the US version of Animal Forest Plus, but in the months since its release across the sea, the localization team has been working incredibly hard to not just translate, but actually localize the over 30,000+ files of text in the game. For example, you won’t be finding your town celebrating the Japanese holiday of Setsubun, but you will see events and town celebrations in relation to western holidays like Halloween and Christmas.
Also changed from the Japanese version of the game, is an extended connectivity with the GBA. NES games that could once be purchased in game to play on your GameCube, can now be uploaded to your GBA, so you can take old school games such as Excitebike, Punch-Out, Donkey Kong, and even Clu Clu Land wherever you go.
Overall, this only the beginning of what can be done in this game. The best way I can sum this up, would be to paraphrase what the Nintendo rep next to me had to say.
”I’ve been playing this game for months, and even now I’m surprised when I do something and I say to myself, ‘I didn’t know you could do that!’”