I guess Animal Crossing is a game that evokes some powerful memories in gamers all over the world! So that’s why some of our writers have already shared their fondest memories (check them out here!)
So when I talked to my good gaming friend Brian over at Japanese Nintendo, we got this idea that he would add his fondest memories of the game series as well. Bri is very fanatic about his Animal Crossing over the years. With Pocket Camp on mobile getting new updates and new animal neighbours all the time, he makes sure you can always find the latest on the game on JapaneseNintendo.com.
So now I give the virtual pen to Bri, enjoy his favourite memories!
Whilst the Nintendo 64 was the second Japanese console I had purchased (after a Game Boy Light), by 2001 the console was for the most part collecting dust in the living room of my then home. I had just bought a new-fangled Game Boy Advance and spent most of my gaming time racing around Mute City or Cheep-Cheep Island. There was also a little thing called Advance Wars, but that’s a story for another Feature Series! There was however one Nintendo 64 title in 2001 that caught my attention, and that was one Doubutsu no Mori, or Animal Forest as it was known to most English-speaking people.
It was a whole three years later when I finally got to play Animal Forest, or as it was now known, Animal Crossing, when the game received its first English release on the Nintendo GameCube. I never was much of a fan of optical media, and the GameCube probably fits alongside Nintendo’s other two disc-based home consoles (Wii and Wii U) as my least played Nintendo machine (and that’s even counting the ill-fated Virtual Boy). Even with that being the case, I spent likely hundreds of hours in my Animal Crossing village; mostly locked up in my bedroom playing a videogame of me locked up in my in-game bedroom playing the 15 NES games available. See, life does imitate art.
Animal Crossing: Wild World was where I really connected with the series, in a way where I had connected with very few series’ before (The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy and Seiken Densetsu being but a few). Explaining the appeal of Animal Crossing to a non-fan is often a fruitless task; the games’ pointlessness is essentially its point. More than just the number of ‘pointless’ tasks and activities that your player partakes in, it’s the characters of Animal Crossing that truly help bring the game to life. From the opening cutscene with Rover, to the daily interactions with (insert your favourite villager here, mine was Walker and later became Chrissy!), your Animal Crossing friends really feel like they are becoming your actual real-life friends.
Perhaps the most important role that Animal Crossing has played in my life isn’t anything directly in-game related, but in that it has twice propelled me to start blog-writing. The first was a total commercial failure, but saw me write a daily online diary from the perspective of my villager in Wild World, the second you may know as Japanese Nintendo.
After waiting several years to play the original Doubutsu no Mori, there was no way I was prepared to wait any longer than I had to to play Animal Crossing: New Leaf. So, on 7th November 2012 (UK time!), I downloaded Tobidase Doubutsu no Mori to my then White Nintendo 3DS LL. Eight weeks later, my blog was born! One of my biggest regrets of the first few months of my blog’s existence was for not reviewing the Japanese 3DS version of Animal Crossing, where it would have been one of just a handful of games to review full marks (Tomodachi Collection: New Life and Dragon Quest XI being two others from memory).
Fast-forward to August 2018 and where does the series go from here? Well, back in April 2016, the then Nintendo Co., Ltd. President Tatsumi Kimishima stated that the Animal Crossing mobile title (Pocket Camp) “will be connected with the world of Animal Crossing for dedicated gaming systems”. Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aimé confirmed too back in June that there will be a “next Animal Crossing” game. But where is it?
Like the publicly documented Yoshi for Nintendo Switch, the ‘next’ Animal Crossing title has likely encountered issues within its development process. Perhaps Nintendo EPD are trying to work out just how to connect the game to Pocket Camp and keep us playing both games simultaneously? Or perhaps they are struggling with how to fully distinguish the game from the mobile version (which is gradually becoming more of a full Animal Crossing experience in itself)? Perhaps the game will see cardboard fishing rods, bug-catching nets and shovels? Whatever the case, one can only hope that any such delays lead to the best damn Animal Crossing game we could hope for!