Animal Crossing (video game)
North American cover art of the GameCube version
Animal Crossing[a] is a life simulation video game developed by Nintendo EAD and published by Nintendo. It is a localized version of Dōbutsu no Mori (Animal Forest), a Nintendo 64 game that was released in Japan on April 14, 2001. It was enhanced and re-released on the GameCube in Japan later that year as Dōbutsu no Mori+, which was localized worldwide as Animal Crossing. Another version, Dōbutsu no Mori e+, was released in Japan in 2003, adding the improvements made to Animal Crossing plus some additional features.
Animal Crossing is an open-ended game in which the human player character moves into a village populated with anthropomorphic animals. The player can interact with the animals, as well as other players through the GameCube's memory card. The game is synced with the GameCube's internal clock and calendar, allowing the game to be played in real-time, which also follows seasons and holidays.
Animal Crossing is a social simulation game, dubbed a "communication game" by Nintendo. It is open-ended, and the player's character can live a separate life with very little set plot or mandatory tasks. Players assume the role of a new resident to the town. The gender and looks of the character depend on answers given to a cat named Rover, whom the player meets on the train the character takes to the town. There are also tasks that players can complete and goals they can achieve. The game is played in real-time, observing days, weeks, months and years using the GameCube's internal clock. Many real-life events and holidays span the year, including Independence Day, Halloween, the Harvest Festival (Thanksgiving), and Toy Day (Christmas). Other activities, such as fishing tournaments and early-morning fitness classes, occur on a regular schedule. When players stop playing, they can talk to their Gyroid, a creature next to their house, to save their progress. If the player turns off the game or resets the GameCube without saving first, a mole named Mr. Resetti appears in front of the player's house the next time they play to scold them for resetting; what they achieved during the previous unsaved game is lost, but everything else is kept.
One of the main goals of the game, given to the player during the game's opening cut scenes, is to increase the size of the player's character's house. This house is the repository for furniture and other items acquired during the course of the game. It can be customized in several ways, such as roof color, furniture, music, wallpaper and flooring. These customizations are judged by the Happy Room Academy (HRA).
Tom Nook, a tanuki (raccoon dog) in the Japanese versions and a raccoon in the American and European versions, runs the local store. At the beginning of the game, he gives the player their first house with a mortgage of 19,800 Bells (the in-game currency). After paying the debt, part of which is done through a part-time job with Nook, the house is expanded, prompting another debt from Nook. The house is expanded several times during the course of the game. Players can sell basically anything to Nook in exchange for Bells.
The village initially contains six villagers, and more villagers move in or out depending on the player's actions. There is a maximum of fifteen villagers living there at a time. All villagers are animals and each has a home that the player can visit. There are many possible interactions between the player and the villagers, including talking, trading items, completing tasks, writing letters, and, in e+, buying medicine for when they get sick. Villagers interact with each other independent of player control.
Nintendo Entertainment System games
Players can collect up to fifteen Nintendo Entertainment System games in Animal Crossing, which are playable via emulation. North American releases are packaged with a memory card that automatically gives the player two games upon creating a game file. Others are acquired in various ways, such as gifts from villagers, hidden on the island, or via special giveaways from Nintendo's website. Seven of the games are included in the original Dōbutsu no Mori for Nintendo 64.
The following NES games are available for play:
Four additional NES games are not obtainable in-game. In North America, two of these games, Ice Climber and Mario Bros., were released through the use of two e-Reader cards, which were not distributed in Europe or Japan. Japanese players received Ice Climber as a gift if they used a special service provided by Nintendo to transfer their save data from Dōbutsu no Mori to Dōbutsu no Mori+; this service has since been discontinued. Super Mario Bros. was distributed in Japan as a Famitsu prize to Dōbutsu no Mori+ players. The Legend of Zelda exists in the game's code, but is not accessible in-game. These four bonus games can be obtained using a cheat device in earlier GameCube releases, but were removed in Dōbutsu no Mori e+.
The Advance Play feature allows players to link a Game Boy Advance to the GameCube and temporarily transfer the NES game to the handheld. This is not compatible with games that were originally produced for the Famicom Disk System, such as Clu Clu Land D and The Legend of Zelda, or are larger than 192 KB, such as Punch-Out!! and Wario's Woods, as they cannot fit into the GBA's RAM. All other games can be played via Advance Play, but multiplayer functionality is not supported and their graphics appear slightly squashed on the GBA's display due to its smaller vertical resolution.
Up to four players can take turns creating their own houses in a single village. They can each affect the village in their own ways, communicate with each other via the town board and mail, and share in the experiences of the village. Multiple players can take turns shipping items to each other via Tom Nook, using a system of codes. Multiplayer NES games are available.
The traveling system allows each player to visit other players' villages. This system requires an additional memory card with the game's data, and three blocks of memory to save travel data. Players can meet new villagers, shop at stores, drop items, and do almost anything else that they can do in their own town. Visitors have reduced privileges and do not receive the same services that they would in their own town. For example, another town's Tom Nook will not travel to paint a roof, which means players cannot buy paint in another town. After visiting another town, one of the villagers may move to the visited town. If the visited town has a full fifteen villagers, this will prompt someone from the visited town to move away. Depending upon how many memory cards a player or their friends own, there can be many other villages to see and different items to find. If a player interacts with a villager who has moved away from their village to the visited village, the villager will remember the player.
Game Boy Advance
Game Boy Advance connectivity plays a role in Animal Crossing, using a Nintendo GameCube – Game Boy Advance link cable. Each town has a tropical island which can be accessed by plugging in a Game Boy Advance with a GameCube link cable. A character called Kapp'n ferries the player to the island for free. An exclusive animal roams the island, whom the player can become friends with. The island has an exclusive type of fruit, coconuts. The player can also decorate a small communal beach house and fish at the shores. On leaving, the player can download the island to a GBA and give fruit to the villager, who drops Bells; if the player returns to the island, they can pick up the money that has been dropped. Players can leave the islander tools to use, such as the shovel or net. Downloaded islands can be traded between GBAs, using a Game Boy Advance Link Cable.
The Game Boy Advance can be used when shopping at the Able Sisters. The pattern design tool can be downloaded to a Game Boy Advance, and the player can then upload designs made on a Game Boy Advance to the GameCube. This feature can be accessed by plugging in a Game Boy Advance with a GameCube Game Boy Advance Cable and talking to Mabel in the Able Sisters shop.
Development and release
The 64DD peripheral served as an enabling technology platform for the conception and development of the game, with its real-time clock and 64MB floppy disk for writable mass storage. Due to 64DD's extended delays and cancellation, the game's development was moved to the Game Pak cartridge medium—the only Game Pak containing a real-time clock—plus a Controller Pak for saving progress. Kazumi Totaka served as the game's sound director. Kenta Nagata composed background music for the fields, Toru Minegishi for the indoor areas and Shinobu Tanaka for the events. The game was originally released as Dōbutsu no Mori (Animal Forest) on the Nintendo 64 in Japan in April 2001. It was the last game Nintendo released for the Nintendo 64, and second to last title released for the system in Japan.
The game was ported to the GameCube as Dōbutsu no Mori+, released on December 14, 2001 in Japan, eight months after the original game. This version contains extra features that were originally left out in the Nintendo 64 version, and also uses the GameCube's built-in clock to keep track of the date and time. With the use of the GameCube's clock, the passing of time affects the game, even between play sessions. This led to the game's slogan, "the real life game that's playing, even when you're not". Dōbutsu no Mori+ cost ¥7,140 with 92,568 copies sold during its first week in Japan.
When Nintendo began localizing Dōbutsu no Mori+ for release in North America as Animal Crossing, the game underwent an immense translation project, which resulted in much more text than the Japanese version. Not only did thousands of lines of text have to be translated, but translators Nate Bihldorff and Rich Amtower had to create new holidays and items to be relatable outside of Japan. Nintendo's Japanese leadership was so impressed with the work done by Nintendo of America's Treehouse division that they added the American content back into the Japanese version and released it as Dōbutsu no Mori e+ along with more new content. It was released in Japan on June 27, 2003, with 91,658 copies sold during its first week.
Upon its release, Animal Crossing was subject to critical acclaim. It was named the seventh best game of all time on the GameCube by the television show X-Play on the television network G4. On IGN, the game holds an "outstanding" 9.1 rating.
Some critics praised the game's use of the GameCube's internal clock and calendar and its inclusion of hidden NES games. However, others, such as IGN's Peer Schneider, criticized its audio and visuals, for being below-standard quality for a GameCube game. According to the review aggregator site Metacritic, the game received a score of 87 out of 100, indicating "generally favorable reviews" based on 42 critics. According to GameRankings, the game received a score of 86% based on 72 reviews. The game was a commercial success, selling more than 2 million copies worldwide. By July 2006, 1.3 million copies had been sold, totaling $43 million in the United States. Next Generation ranked it as the 37th highest-selling game launched for the PlayStation 2, Xbox or GameCube between January 2000 and July 2006 in that country. It is one of the best-selling Nintendo GameCube games. Animal Crossing was rated the fifth-best GameCube game by ScrewAttack on its "Farewell to the GameCube, ten GameCube games" list, saying, "It's a game that plays even when you're not and can last up to 30 years!"  The popularity of the series inspired the creation of an animated film based on the game's sequel Animal Crossing: Wild World, which was released exclusively in Japan.
The game received awards for Innovation in Console Gaming, Outstanding Achievement in Game Design, Console Role-Playing Game of the Year and was nominated for Console Game of the Year, Console Role-Playing Game of the Year, Game of the Year, Innovation in Console Gaming, Outstanding Achievement in Game Design, and Outstanding Achievement in Gameplay Engineering all by Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences.
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