Animal Crossing Craze

march 16, 2006

When I originally got Animal Crossing: Wild World for my Nintendo DS, I got it along with Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time. I played Mario & Luigi for a little bit while trying out Animal Crossing. I didn't "get" Animal Crossing with my dabble into it and it went into a drawer. Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time is pretty good, but not as good as the first and I have put it down. I have curtailed my playing of the "killer app" MarioKart DS also. Why? Animal Crossing! Ever since I started playing it sometime last weekend, I have been hooked! It is not like the game has anything specifically exciting about it, but the game is so well designed that it keeps me coming back. The digital "living world" in Animal Crossing continues when the DS is off. And there are so many events in this digital world. There are fishing contests, concerts, seasons, and other stuff. The characters all have their own schedules (one only eats dinner at 11PM and I am welcome to join if I come at that time). There is so much stuff to do also. There is the mundane stuff like weeding. Then there is fishing (which is really cool). There is shaking apple trees for apples. There is shaking random trees for money. There is also fossil hunting and butterfly collecting. There is interacting with the digital characters to keep them from moving away. You can also design and decorate your house. Design and decorate t-shirts, hats, umbrellas, wallpaper, flags, flooring, and a garden. Oh, there is the whole "bell" economy of the game. There is A LOT to do in the game. None of it is plot-based and all of it is free-form. It is kind of like The Sims, but you don't have to tell your character to pee, take a bath, or go to work. Your character never becomes unhappy or depressed. It is just some good old non-violent fun. The game is well suited for short and casual play. A couple of minutes a day is all that is needed to keep things normal (like weeding and chatting with other characters). You can spend a lot of "other" time doing the other stuff listed above. There is also online play, which is a bit hard to get going since there is no matching up or lobby for the game -- and that explains the popularity of my Animal Crossing Friend Code posting where there are people dropping by everyday to let others know their Friend Code. I have not played a lot online. I have visited one person's town once and have had one person visit my town twice. It is kind of cool, but it is hard to get in touch with people. What is fun is being able to play the game with my wife. We can share the DS. She plays some times and I play other times. We both take care of the same town and take care of stuff in the town (like weeding and keeping the other town folk happy). Animal Crossing: Wild World is digital crack packaged in a kid friendly box.