We’d pay a million bells for an HD console version.
The Animal Crossing video game series has been a favorite to many since its original release in 2001. In this beloved sim game, the player lives in a cozy town as a human character with anthropomorphic animal villagers and NPCs. Gameplay is in real-time and is open-ended, meaning there are no clear objectives to “beat” the game. Instead, players spend time collecting and selling various items, growing plants throughout the town, socializing with the other characters, and participating in occasional special events.
Subsequent to its debut, Nintendo has released three other Animal Crossing games. These titles include Wild World on the DS, City Folk on the Wii, and New Leaf on the 3DS. Each installment is wonderful in its own way, but New Leaf has to be the all time fan favorite for several reasons, all of which involve one key element that gamers ceaselessly crave: customization.
Public Works Projects
The most exciting new feature in AC:NL is Public Works Projects (or PWPs), which allow players to modify their towns like never before. These PWPs are buildings and features the player can add to their town as mayor. They include additions like a lighthouse, a campsite, a coffee shop, a water well, topiaries, various types of benches, and so much more.
Players often use these PWPs to create thoughtfully designed areas in their towns such as playgrounds, farms, outdoor sitting spaces, etc. In previous games, towns could be customized with trees, flowers, and custom designs, but PWPs introduce a unique way of designing towns with unprecedented personality and creativity.
Every game in the Animal Crossing series mostly has the same numerous and diverse furniture pieces with which players could decorate their houses. Players could never change any of the furniture’s design elements–that is, until AC:NL. Now, players have the ability to take most furniture to a blue llama named Cyrus who can change certain colors and patterns to meet personal desires. So if you don’t quite like the tablecloth that table came with, you can have Cyrus change it to an option he has or give him a clothing pattern or custom design to use! This feature allows players to give their houses very specific aesthetics and themes that have been out of grasp until New Leaf.
Houses in Animal Crossing have always looked basically the same: white exterior, wooden door, brightly colored roof, gray pavement, a small fence, and a mailbox. While the size could be expanded and the roof color could be changed, not many other customization options were available to players until AC:NL introduced Nook’s Homes into the town shops. Here, players can choose from a broad selection of house exterior renovation options, including pavements, roofs, doors, mailboxes, and the exterior walls, all of which change daily and come in a variety of colors, textures, and themes.
Additionally, when a player has fully expanded their house, they can choose to completely change the architecture of their house design to a castle, zen castle, or modern house. Much like PWPs and custom furniture, this feature finally allows players’ design tastes and personalities to be displayed in their towns.
With all these new layers of customization, it would have been silly of Nintendo to not allow players to share their personalized, creative towns with other gamers. The feature they created to accommodate this was the Dream Suite, which allows players to share their own towns and visit the towns of others from around the world.
All you need to have in order to visit someone’s town is their dream address, which players are constantly sharing on social networks like Miiverse, Tumblr, Instagram, and various Animal Crossing forums. This feature allows players to visit each other’s towns without playing at the same time in a traditional multiplayer fashion. Popular dream towns have thousands upon thousands of visits, and all dream towns are consistently providing inspiration for players working on their own towns.
Nintendo really benefited from the effort they put into the new features of New Leaf—it’s popularity soared even before its release, receiving rave reviews and high anticipation from the gaming community. The level of design detail was a focal point in positive reviews, many of which noted that the graphics surpassed the game’s predecessor City Folk. After its release in 2012, AC:NL became the first 3DS game to exceed two million sold units in Japan, and it achieved this in only two months.
As of June 30, 2016, New Leaf had worldwide sales of 10.11 million units with an unusually large community of players who remain just as addicted as when they first picked up the game. Pick it up yourself and see what all the fuss is about – you won’t be disappointed.