Everything important in life, I learned from “Animal Crossing.” If you are unfamiliar with the establishment, it’s basically a game about life where you have your own character, house, town and independence. Between the series’ four main games (“Animal Crossing,” “Animal Crossing: Wild World,” “Animal Crossing: City Folk” and “Animal Crossing: New Leaf”), the franchise has sold millions of units worldwide. From this game, I learned things like how to manage money, understand people better, decorate a home and so much more.
All of the money management skills that school didn’t teach me, “Animal Crossing” taught me. In the game, you have the ability to pay your mortgage to a certain point where you are allowed to renovate your house to a larger size. This taught me that if I really want something, I will have to work very hard, make sacrifices and save up for it. In addition to the house renovations, I also learned how to save up my Bells (the “Animal Crossing” currency) for things like furniture and clothing that I liked. Yeah, it’s a pretty realistic game.
In fact, it’s so realistic that if you don’t play the game for a few weeks, you get bedhead that costs 3,000 Bells to fix at the salon. Also, roaches infest your house because no one’s living there. Gross, but realistic.
It gets even more real through the game’s oddly accurate social stimulation. I learned so many social skills and cues that I still use today. These things include getting to know your neighbors despite how weird they might seem, getting shy people in your community to feel comfortable enough to open up (like Sable from the Able Sisters clothing store), helping people who just moved to your town settle down and doing community service. These are all things that actually happen in real life. “Animal Crossing” prepared me for these things.
The game can get super emotional, too, like when your neighbors move away and you never see them again. Sometimes, you’d be talking to them and they’d say they were thinking about moving, sometimes you’d walk into their homes and see nothing but cardboard boxes with all their belongings packed up, or, the worst of all, sometimes if you didn’t play the game for a certain period of time, they moved away without a word. If you find out your neighbor is moving away, though, you can convince them to stay. I distinctly remember crying when my neighbor Kiki moved away in 2006.
The Animal Crossing atmosphere is unique because no other game can offer this type of experience. And guess what? Now I get to play it again — except this time, I’ll be playing on my phone instead of a Nintendo console. All of us “Animal Crossing” lovers have been waiting years for this game to be available on a cell phone format. The new game is titled “Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp” and it will be available on iPhones and Androids. Pocket Camp was soft-launched on Oct. 25 in Australia, but it’ll of course take a while before it hits the shelves. This version will continue the “Animal Crossing” theme of allowing players to interact with the residents in town, decorating and renovating their houses, shopping for clothing and furniture, and performing other tasks.
“Animal Crossing” was a huge part of my childhood, and I’m beyond excited to play it again. Although this time, I’m hoping I won’t get terrible bedhead for not playing the game. 3,000 Bells? Really?