Close your eyes. Hear the whistle of the train. The high-pitched babbling of your neighbor. The “ding ding” of your full mailbox.
Since 2002, Animal Crossing has continued to call us home. It stole our hearts on GameCube, and our captivation with it endured through the Nintendo DS, 3DS, Wii, and even on our phones with Pocket Camp. The new versions have added fantastic additions, including new stores, villagers, items and features.
There’s a lot of hype for the newest version that will be released for Switch in March 2020. Which means, it’s time for me to buy a Switch….
But for all the new bells (no pun intended) and whistles, nothing compares to the original. Here’s why:
Doing errands for neighbors
The easiest way to make some quick bells and improve your friendship standing with neighbors is to ask “Need help?” or “Give me a job!” Sure, it was sort of weird that everyone’s videotapes, glasses cases, and comic books were always being borrowed or lent to someone else, but you were always guaranteed a reward.
It was always exciting to see what piece of furniture or clothing you got. Of course, the errands that required running to two or more villagers houses generally wielded stationery….
This is a feature that was noticeably missing in the following Animal Crossing games. In Wild World, I hated having to listen to the villagers prattle on every time we talked, hoping that they ‘d give me a task.
When talking to villagers, three options for conversation is preferred. And the “favors” option kept the game interesting long after you shook all the fruit from the trees and fished all the fish out of the river.
The ease of visiting other villages
Have two memory cards? Great. You can visit other villages!
It was that easy. Just hopping on the train at the front of the village, and visiting another town you created on a separate memory card. Access to new neighbors, fruit, items in Tom Nook’s store were so accessible.
Yes, in later versions you can visit other towns too. But it wasn’t as easy as the GameCube version made it.
The first time I plugged in my GameBoy Advance and saw Kapp’n at the dock, I contemplated running a lap around my house in sheer excitement.
Nothing beats the first time you discover the Aloha shirts, beach furniture and the snow cone machine. It’s always summer, so the fishing and bug hunting is fantastic.
You can hang your own flag, collect coconuts, and skip through Kapp’n singing and blathering as quickly as you want.
In Wild World and City Folk, not having the island escape is sort of a bummer. However, it does happily return in New Leaf. The excitement is back, but the nostalgia for the original island is real.
Furniture, clothing, bells, the golden fishing rod, golden shovel, gyroids – CHEAT CODES.
When I started playing Animal Crossing, it took me a while to realize there were cheat codes for Animal Crossing. By this point, I had put in the hours required to pay off my mortgage and collect most items. But going to Tom Nook to ask for a golden shovel, axe, or a random Gracie shirt I didn’t have yet was so cool.
I know that cheating is, well, cheating, and life is about putting in the hard work. But come on. I wasn’t going to catch EVERY fish in Wild World, and I just really wanted that golden fishing rod!
Here are a few other pros that don’t require much explanation
- No watering flowers
- The Wishing Well
- NES games
- The music
- Town dump
- Tom Nook is at his cruelest
Overall; the first time
Animal Crossing felt like a revolutionary game. The world was wide open, there was so much freedom, and I had no idea what lay ahead of my next mortgage payment, or the next season.
There are new things to discover with each new version, but the basis of the game remains the same.
Now, I do love the hair salon and coffee shop in later versions. And in New Leaf, there are a lot of fun projects to take over as mayor.
More or less, I’ll always scoop up Animal Crossing on the next platform, but I’ll never like any of them quite like the original.
About the Author: Kelcey McClung is a freelance reporter who has been featured in a variety of publications. She loves Star Wars, Animal Crossing, and almost every PlayStation game ever made. If you think you’ve completed all the park objectives in Roller Coaster Tycoon more times than she has, she’ll take you up on that bet.