As Animal Crossing celebrates its 20th anniversary, we look back at the series’ influence and growth, from Dobutsu no Mori to Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Few firms are as capable of turning failure into a success story as Nintendo. As we all know, handy psn cards can be a wonderful example. It not only improves the gaming experience but also accelerates the game download procedure.
Whether it’s turning the fortunes of the laughed-out-of-town DS around nearly overnight and developing it into one of the most successful handhelds ever, the Midas touch is definitely real.
Even in its worst hours, Nintendo has proved that it can come back stronger than before, and the tale of Animal Crossing begins with what had to be considered one of the company’s greatest missteps.
The N64 was the only console of its generation that didn’t ride the CD wave, whether due to stubbornness, legal snags, dependence on existing knowledge, or something else entirely.
However, when the advantages of this new medium became clearer, and close partners began bringing their games to platforms where they could both broaden their horizons and mass-produce items for less money, Nintendo grudgingly pressed the ‘conform’ button. To some extent.
The 64DD disc add-on for the N64, which was only available in Japan, was so badly designed that it got more credit. The add-on was revealed before the N64 was even released, and it included support for a magnetic disk solution with just 10% of the capacity of a CD.
In terms of vision, the promise of cartridge load speeds, disc sizes, and internet connectivity was ahead of its time, but by the time it arrived in December 1999, it had fallen far behind in terms of implementation, and the 64DD ended up with only nine released titles. The list of planned games that ended up elsewhere as a result of this utter failure, on the other hand, becomes considerably more fascinating.
Most of the more ambitious projects that needed the hybrid technology were shelved outright, while many big first-party blockbusters like Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Paper Mario were toned back to operate as pure cart-only games for the N64.
You might overlook the title Dobutsu No Mori when looking through the list of such games that eventually made their way to the N64, but it’s actually quite significant – it’s what you might know as Animal Forest, the quirky and unique village life simulation that would later be upgraded, improved, and re-released in the following generation as Animal Crossing.
Having a good time while doing mundane tasks
Animal Crossing is a game in which you do… well, not much. It’s one of the most laid-back games ever made, with you simply wandering around your small village, making friends with the local animal folk, and performing menial tasks to slowly, slowly pay off your crushing debt to resident capitalist tyrant Tom Nook – essentially the devil in a raccoon disguise.
His method of collecting his dues is admirable, but he still charges exorbitant fees just to turn your squalid little living space into something you can be proud of, all the while tempting you with a stock of neat furniture and useful tools that will only serve to drain your Bells – the game’s suitably quaint currency – and lengthen the process of upgrading your homestead.
Similarly, museum curator Blathers would like you to hand over precious fossils, fish, and bugs to him for preservation, despite the fact that these are among the more profitable goods to sell for a profit.
On one side, you’ve got a raccoon using your materialistic inclination, and on the other, you’ve got an owl exploiting your completionist compulsions, a pincer manoeuvre meant to keep your Bell balance in check and drag out the process of one day perhaps getting out of debt…
At first glance, it appears to be a pleasant and peaceful game, but when regarded in this perspective, it resembles a busman’s holiday – a fuzzy, primary-coloured reproduction of what is happening on the other side of the television screen for many of us.
Towards New Horizons
Even yet, Tom Nook’s most daring idea was saved for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which would be released in 2020 on Nintendo Switch. Tricky Tom has sold you a vacation package to a deserted island paradise, and he expects you and a few other vacationers to build a new community from the ground up, starting with little more than a few hurriedly constructed tents.
Due to the absence of basic infrastructure on the island, you must explore the island in order to acquire raw materials, which is an important element of the crafting system that allows you to create new tools and furnishings.
New Horizons gives you unparalleled control over the development of your town, allowing you to pick where animals make their new homes and even change the island itself with the new magic shovel, a feature long-awaited by fans.
Since Dobutsu no Mori first aired on April 14, 2001, the series has travelled quite a distance. Animal Crossing has undoubtedly exceeded even Nintendo’s greatest hopes 20 years later.
New Horizons is Nintendo’s fastest-selling game in Europe and one of the company’s all-time best-sellers. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is said to have sold 31.18 million copies in 2020 alone, making it the second most popular Switch game to date.
Animal Crossing is up there with Nintendo’s greatest franchises while being their polar opposite – so many Nintendo games are centred on pure, beautiful gameplay, but Animal Crossing has very little of that.
Regardless, Animal Crossing’s unique character as a tranquil and pleasant console game that can be played all year makes it a game we’ll never get tired of. Mostly because we’re forever in debt to a heartless capitalist raccoon, but also because they’re great games to play when you simply want to disconnect from the rest of the world for an hour or two.
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