to Animal Crossing. Population: Growing!"
Synopsis: Tired of video games that run out
of steam far too quickly? An exciting new role-playing game has
been released for Nintendo's GameCube, and it's likely to garner a huge following. Similar in nature to The Sims, Animal
Crossing features a "virtual village" populated with
human-like animals. Players live in their village, tend to everyday
routines, and communicate with other villages. There is a 24-hour
"real time" clock in the game, which means that the sun
will set when the "real" sun sets. The game's clock also
coordinates with real time dates, so that seasons change
accordingly. The developers of Animal Crossing seemed to
have tapped into the popularity of the social aspect of games with
a unique communication feature. Using a memory card, kids can transfer
their character to their friend's village and interact with
the characters in their game!
Kids can fish and garden,
interact with neighbors, collect furnishings for their homes, and so
forth. The village life unfolds day by day. An extra bonus in the package is a free
Memory Card--and kids will definitely need one in order to
fully enjoy Animal Crossing. This game is particularly
well-suited for "gaming" families. Although only one
player can play at a time, up to four players (alternating) are supported.
In the beginning: Players begin the game on a
train. They "talk" to Rover--and select the settings for
the clock, and choose a name for their town and character. Once in
the village, they need to choose a home. However, they only have
1,000 bells (the village's currency), and homes (that are small
and virtually bare) can cost upwards of 18,000 bells! In order to
pay off their house, they need to work for Tom Nook, a raccoon
shop owner. They plant seeds, meet the other inhabitants of the
village, and so forth. They also learn that they can catch fish
and insects and sell them, and they can do favors for others. Players
quickly become busy--they can change their animal character's
outfit, select furniture for their home, visit a store to shop or
sell items, compose and mail letters at the post office, dump
garbage, and so forth. Later, players can remodel their house and even add
The village begins with a small
population. Over time, animals move in, and some move out. The currency in Animal
Crossing is "bells". Players can buy a variety of items,
such as a "lovely" kitchen, sprinkler, space station,
Papa bear, daffodil, and elephant slide. Some of the kookier
decorations are the tiger bobblehead and a number of types of
gyroids (unusual moving decorations). They can also acquire fossils, different types of
stationery, wallpaper, music to play in their tape deck, and
useful items like shovels and fishing rods.
Players can earn and play old Nintendo
game classics (NES games such as Donkey Kong) by doing favors for other
creatures. Kids and adults (for nostalgic reasons, perhaps) will
love these old classics! Children enjoy changing their character's clothes and
creating patterns to use on their clothes and umbrellas.
One of the especially fun
features of the game is the ability to send presents to a friend.
If two siblings, for example, are playing the game (they cannot
play it at once, but they can play alternately), one child can
mail an item to the other child's character. They can also visit
each other's homes. Mailing letters and receiving letters is
a big part of the game and this is a plus for children who can
always use some reading and writing practice.
The real-time clock in the game
is a dynamic feature that is truly enjoyable. For example, kids
can gather raffle tickets for a draw that occurs at a specific
"real-time" later date. If they play the game early
in the morning, Copper (the police-dog) might say, "Out early
this morning, are we?" Blathers the Owl wakes up at 6:00 PM.
This game is loaded with things
to do. There's even a taste of the stock market in Animal
Crossing--players can buy turnips and resell them for a profit.
Sundays, for example, are turnip-buying days. Players also have a
choice between selling or donating the fish and insects they have
collected. Should they make money from their catch, or donate it
to the Museum? We're guessing that donations will improve the
village; and donators even get credited! The different animal
characters have their own unique personalities. For example, Pelly
and Phyllis both work at the post office, but Pelly is pleasant
and Phyllis is downright grouchy.
Our testers are entirely
enthralled with the game. The only caution that we have so far is
that Animal Crossing is very addictive! The real-time
clock feature of the game might make some children anxious to play
every single day. Note also that
children should have some reading and spelling skills, or they
will need help from older siblings or adults.
The GameBoy Advance-GameCube link
cable adds extended gameplay. It allows players to travel to an
island where they meet a villager and they can set up a home on
the island that is shared with the other villagers. Via a download
tool, It lets players make new patterns for free, and there are
better tools with which to make the patterns. When players leave
the island, they can choose to put the island on their GameBoy
Advance so that they can play with the villager (somewhat like a
virtual pet) on the GameBoy.
Tips from a tester: Fish near the
beach; go fishing when it's raining; use your shovel to hit rocks
(bells might appear if you're lucky), and wear green (as camouflage) in order to catch insects
more easily. Bees are worth a lot of bells, so try to catch them
with your net after shaking a tree. But beware that they can sting
you! Have you tried setting the game clock ahead? You'll
find weeds all over the place, and cockroaches and bats in your
home. The good thing about it is that the items you earn in the
"future" can be brought back to the present. So, for
example, if you're impatient for your house to get remodeled and
upgraded, you can switch the clock forward by a day, and then
return to the present day again.
We'll have more updates to this
page as we test the game further.
Rated 'E' for Everyone.
For more information, user
reviews, or to buy the game, follow this link:
- Involving and
- Replay value is
exceptionally high: village life unfolds day by day,
with new surprises over time.
- The real-time clock
lends dynamism to the game.
- Children need to read in
order to understand what they're doing; this budding
readers to practice reading.
- Excellent for
- Appeals to a wide
- Although up to 4 players
are supported, this must be in alternating format.
- Players found the
interface a chore at times; and the characters
"talk" a little too much at times.
|For Nintendo Game Cube
guide is Prima's official guide to the game. In its 144
pages, players can learn about the 200+ animals in the game,
see a full calendar of events in the town, receive tips on how
to obtain the items and locate fish and insects, and more.
the guide now by following this link:
the guide now by following this link:
Animal Crossing: Prima's Official...