for Nintendo GameCube
by Jane Pinckard
I do say so myself, Birdland is a fine little town. We have quite
a few cherry trees, which bear fruit every four days, even in
the winter they're a staple of the local economy here. We have
a couple orange trees, too, seeded with fruit I stole one night
from Faunapol. And one precious peach tree, our pride and joy
Justy planted that one, from a peach Grizzly gave him. The orchard
is coming along nicely, although I'd like to plant an apple tree.
here is pretty nice well, mostly. Snooty the Skunk barely gives
me the time of day, but I wrote her a nice letter and gave her
a pretty dress, and now she likes me okay. Goldie and I are tight
she depends on me to help her out, mostly delivering and picking
up things for her. Pierce the parrot used to talk about fishing
a lot but then he moved out of town. He's doing okay in Faunapol,
he wrote me and said he misses Birdland a little. Maybe I'll go
visit him there.
Nook's store is getting bigger all the time, and his inventory
changes every day. You never know what you might find. Down at
the Able Sisters' textile design shop, you can buy umbrellas and
tailored outfits or design your own pattern, and use it to decorate
clothes, umbrellas, even walls and floors. If you think you're
a hot-shot designer, you can choose some of your own creations
to be on display! In fact, you should drop by my house and see
the floors I've painted to match the walls! Don't you think the
colors complement the giant Teddy Bear my friend Justy mailed
to me? Would you like me to mail you something too? Easy! Just
tell me your name and the name of your town, and I'll use Tom
Nook's express delivery service. I'll email you the code, and
you can go pick it up at your leisure!
you have the time, please stop by! Or write me a letter, because
I'll get it the next day. And we can be friends.
says multiplayer has to be simultaneous? The brilliance of Nintendo's
game Animal Crossing is that you don't play head-to-head with other
players. Instead you find traces of your friends as you explore
letters they leave behind, items they send to you, trees
they've planted or pruned, fossils they've placed in the Museum,
the houses they've customized. Together, you and your friends slowly
build an ideal town inhabited by friendly animals. It's a perfect
game for a household. I play it in the morning, then my boyfriend
gets it in the afternoon, and finally my sister might play it in
the evening. It has inspired us to try to get all of our game-loving
friends in on this.
Each memory card can hold data for a single town, each town can
support up to four players. By exchanging memory cards with your
friends, you can go visit their towns and leave them presents, or
fish in the other town's rivers, or pick fruit from the orchards.
A network of social interaction is possible through both physical
exchange and virtual exchange, for the community extend far beyond
the confines of the game.
Many websites devoted to the game bring together players from all
over the world. Here fans can share the designs they've created,
trade hints and tips, or arrange to send each other rare items.
One of the most amazing features of the game is the ability to "send"
items to other players in other games. One needs only the in-game
name of the player and the town, and the game will generate a code
based on the information. You then email the code to your friend,
who could be on the other side of the world. She takes the code
and enters it at Tom Nook's store, the game decrypts it, and produces
the item. It's a brilliant non-direct way to connect people without
The game has no scoring, no levels, no missions; it is an entirely
self-directed game. It is infinitely playable there is no winning,
no ultimate goal. Moreover the game keeps track of real time. Unique
items appear in the game and are gone the next day. If you neglect
to answer letters for a few days the animals will be upset with
you. In the long term, you can watch the seasons change different
fish and bugs will appear in game for you to collect. It's a combination
of neopets, tamagotchi, and an online interactive world in which
your actions have consequences. The model results in an unbelievably
addictive game. Add a layer of Nintendo whimsy in the form of in-jokes
and NES emulators which pop up as rare items in the game, and you
have an utterly charming, immersive, and surprisingly social world
which encourages you to check in every day for twenty minutes or
so. The graphics are unremarkable, but cute and serviceable, the
music part of which you can compose yourself is a bit repeptitive
but sweet. It may look and feel like a kid's title, but it acts
like one of the most innovative and creative games I have played
in a long while.
Jane Pinckard runs Game
Girl Advance and is a member of every blogger's favorite band,
Dealership. You can keep
up with her at umamitsunami.com.