Video Game Wednesdays criteria include a) being electronic in nature and b) being a game
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the latest installment in the popular Animal Crossing series. Other games in the series are Wild World, City Folk, and the original Animal Crossing. Animal Crossing is an open-ended sandbox game.
The beginning of the game has you create a mii-style (though in my opinion, cuter) character through a series of questions. If you want a specific starting look, I recommend you look at the Animal Crossing Wiki for guides to faces and clothing and furniture… and stuff.
After you arrive in town, you become the mayor nearly immediately, get set up in a tent, and begin getting to know your villagers. And earning Bells. (The cash currency in the series.)
Eventually, you’ll be able to buy your house, start improving the village, get more shops, plant trees… the options go on. You’ll be able to visit the island, where you can get bugs and fish in huge quantities (and I’ll give you a free tip – if you go after 8 PM, with a bit of luck and some skill, you’ll get the rarer nighttime bugs, which can be worth up to 15,000 bells back on the mainland. I’ve made over 150,000 bells in one trip doing that.) You’ll see your village tree grow, new villagers move in, some move out, some camp for a night, and some never leave. There’s usually a special event for all major (and some minor) holidays, with special items and (for one of the summer events,) fireworks that you can customize with patterns from your inventory. There’s a wide selection of clothing – hats, helmets, glasses, wigs, shirts, pants, skirts, socks, shoes, dresses – you can get a character (or more – you can have up to four player characters, but only the first one will be mayor,) all your own. The hair salon allows you to get a wide variety of styles and colors, and even color contacts if you aren’t happy with your eye color. The houses are far more expandable than they were in Wild World, and the furniture customization (from the resale shop,) is awesome. Oh, and the Dream Palace is wonderful. If you’re feeling destructive, just stop by, connect to the internet, and find a town, either a friend’s or a stranger’s. Once you’re in… you can wreck the town, and no harm will come to you, the town, or your friend’s feelings. It’s all a dream, after all!
Playing with friends also makes the game way more fun, since you actually complete some villager requests by visiting other towns and getting signatures or whatever. If you don’t have any friends with 3DS systems, look for a Nintendo or Animal Crossing forum, or even just a gaming forum, and look for people willing to exchange 3DS friend codes for that express purpose. (Do be careful doing this, though. 🙂 It is the internet, after all.)
This game felt far more open than Wild World, honestly. I enjoy it a lot more. (Could also be an age thing – I was about 9 or 10 when I played Wild World, and any villagers leaving left me heartbroken. New Leaf allows you to ask them not to go, and if you do, they won’t leave just then.) The graphics are pretty cool, and the 3D gameplay isn’t terribly headache-inducing. Plus, unlike previous games, you can choose NOT to have Resetti in your town. If you reset once, he’ll show up as a freebie, at which point you can choose to talk to your assistant and make the reset surveillance center a community project, which, once it’s built, Resetti will show up if you reset. But you don’t have to build it if you hate Resetti, (or just don’t want to,) which I appreciated, even though I ended up building it anyways. (Again with the age thing – Resetti scared the crap out of me when I was 10. Now I think he’s hilarious.)
Overall, this was a great game, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoy open-ended, relaxing, sandbox style games. Frankly, there’s not a lot to it. You get on, make a character (or four!) and go wild in your town, forever and ever. And ever.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is for the Nintendo 3DS. It’s available at just about any game store.