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Monday
Jun172013

Animal Crossing: New Leaf first impressions: Guess what, it's Animal Crossing

I've been playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf since it came out at 12am EST on June 9. When I first launched the game, I was giddy and couldn't wait to start fishing, picking fruit, catching bugs, and digging up fossils. Then I realized it was 12am EST and no in-game store was open, so all my plans were killed by the game's real-time clock. What did I do? I time traveled. I did the one thing I find most despicable among Animal Crossing players, but I had been waiting so long and couldn't bare waiting ten hours just because the game is as good as dead in the middle of the night when you have no tools or anything other than a backpack full of fruit you can't sell or plant. And so, I time traveled for a brief moment, bought myself a shovel and a fishing rod, and then immediately time traveled back to where I came from; for those unfamiliar with the franchise, time traveling is not a part of the game, it is done by changing the console's internal clock, thus, tricking the game into believing it's a time different than the actual time. I have not time traveled again since.

Nothing against those who time travel, but you guys and gals are stupid. Alright, that wasn't nice, but I find time traveling in Animal Crossing--unless you've been waiting years and just need some tools because the game is empty at midnight without them--pointless. The charm of Animal Crossing has so much to do with its use of real time; having to wait for something that is only available at a specific time or during a specific season, etcetera, makes the game feel special; if you time travel, you rip out all that makes the game special. If you feel inclined to time travel in Animal Crossing, you might as well time travel in real life, to a point in the future when you've already beaten the game and have no more reason to play.

Now that I got that little time traveling confession/rant out of the way, let me say something extremely unsurprising: I love Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Is this version significantly different than the previous versions? No, but it's been a while since I've played an Animal Crossing game--I skipped the Wii version--and I can't help but love the mindless stupidity that encompasses the game. Do I like fishing or catching bugs in real life? Hell no! But, for whatever reason, I will fish the shit out of Animal Crossing as soon as I can--it's the best way to earn money and pay off loans as fast as possible. That's right, I spend hours of my time fishing inside a game in order to pay off in-game loans because I find it fun. Does it sound like fun? Hell no! (I think there's an echo in this article.) That's the thing about Animal Crossing; it sounds like the worst game ever and the only way to know if you will enjoy it is by playing it yourself. I'm currently in love, with the old and new, and would have bought a 3DS for this game alone if I didn't already own one.

Speaking of new, there are a few additions that add a little spice to this seemingly bland game. For the first time in the franchise's history, you are the mayor; who doesn't want to be in power, right? So far, I haven't been able to do much--it takes a bit of time to get all your powers--but what I have done--instituted the early bird ordinance so stores would open earlier and started building a new bridge--has made me feel like I have a bit more control with how my town plays out and it's a nice change. Other than that, I keep doing my daily routine, occasionally visiting others' towns, stealing their fruit, always excited to see what I might find in a store, in the ocean, on the island and in my town; I think it sounds just as stupid as you, and yet, I keep coming back every day.

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