Published on February 11th, 2013 | by Stevesesy4
Why I’ll never play another Animal Crossing Game
Back when I was in high school, I played videos games. I wasn’t a gamer and I didn’t have a ton of time for gaming due to school, after-school activities, and the fact that I needed sleep but I tried to fill the gaps by gaming with my friends. One normal Friday afternoon, I was riding the bus home with my friend Ben. He was a nice guy, nerdy as hell, but nice. He told me that he’d been recently been playing this new game for the GameCube that just came out. It was about being a villager in a town of animals and he had forgotten the name. He said he had it at his house and that he wasn’t really into it. It was boring and kiddish. Those just happened to be the types of games I was into and I kept bugging him about it and eventually he said that I could borrow it if I wanted. It sounded interesting and I wanted to at least give it a try.
I got off the bus at his house, grabbed his copy of Animal Crossing and walked back to my house. As I walked, I stared at the disc and wonder what the game was about. There was a dog-like character playing a guitar and some trees but it gave me no insight into just what that game was about.
I got home, said “hi” to my mom and walked into my room and fired up the GameCube. By this time, my parents had exiled my gaming to my room for the far too many times had I taken up the family room television set with, as my dad would say, “Your Donkey Kongs and Pokemans”. I will never know if he actually thought that is what they were called or if he was just trying to be cute.
The game loads and I find myself talking to the dog-like character from the disc label. He says some things and I just idly press A until it ends. I’ve never been about story. I play a game for gameplay, if I want story I will read a book. As the game progresses, I find myself (or my character) on a train. An anthropomorphic cat comes and talks to me and asks me a few questions like “what is my name” and “where am I going”. I enter my the name and the name of my town, Warrenton.
Warrenton was my hometown in real life (still is) and I liked that I could sort of go to my home in this game. It was an interesting game mechanic, it had a real endearing quality. My train eventually arrives and I get off. Woah, interesting! I get off in a town. It is my town! Warrenton! The first order of business in my new home is, of course, to buy a new home.
I purchase my home, well, I would if I could but thanks to the developers at Nintendo, I don’t actually have enough money to buy my home. The raccoon that I’m talking to who sells me the house insists that I work for him and pay off my house. I have no other choice.
And so begins three months of my life that I’ll never get back. I will never get those three months back. Ben moved away one week after I started. I didn’t answer his calls. I haven’t spoken to him since he moved away. Never. Over those 3 months, I played Animal Crossing until the skin on my thumb grew red and blistered over. I put on a bandaid and kept playing.
I didn’t talk to my parents. I didn’t go out. I would play my game. I would live in my little town of Warrenton. I stopped bathing and when I did, I would rush and not even bother to wash the soap out of my hair. I stopped eating. At school, I would look up different furniture and strategies for the game in the computer lab during lunch. I bought an e-Reader just so I could use the cards to import new furniture. I spent hours pulling out weeds and eventually, I even stopped that, opting to simply hop from time to time in the game by altering the game’s internal clock, collecting all the rare pieces of furniture that you could only get on certain days of the year. My town fell into disarray and ruin.
I was obsessed. Eventually the time hopping, the e-Reader cards, and the long hours blistering my skin drove me to a point where I got tired and bought an Action Replay to take the game even further. By using the AR, I ripped the game apart at the seams and I obtained all the furniture, bugs, fossils, paintings, fish, clothing, payed off my debts, and I even got all the NES games. I played the heck out of those games. I spent hours playing a game where I played games inside of the game. It kept going.
When I first started playing, I saw my fellow villagers as just that, fellow villagers. Over time, my perception warped. They weren’t real, they were just in my way from getting my bells (the in-game currency) or getting my new pieces of furniture. I would send them letters filled with nothing but hatred and they would send me back gifts and talk to me. I just kept telling them how much I hated them.
I went to a dark, dark place in Animal Crossing. It was a mixture of a descent into my own personal Heart of Darkness with a twist of greed, coveting, and pointless collecting. I spent hours basically playing a single-player mmorpg. No one would ever see my museum, no one would read my bulletin board, I had no friends in this game. I was alone. My home, that I had spent so many hours working to pay off wasn’t my home. It was just a house, a house filled with things and cockroaches as it too fell into disarray. It was a reflection of myself. There were the things. The things I had acquired. I had spent real money on the e-Reader cards and the Action Replay and for what? For virtual things. Things you can’t touch, things you can’t even show off. Things. I had become avarice.
My breaking point was when I had had everything. I had done it all. It was over. There was nothing more to do. I had exhausted everything in that game in a mere 3 months and then it struck me. I had lost those 3 months. I had given it to this. I had pushed it to its limits just as it had pushed me to mine.
Animal Crossing has a special meaning for me. It is a crossing, or at least a crossroads, a place for you to sell your soul. A place to sell your soul to the animals that inhabited this faint shadow of my hometown. I will never get those 3 months back. I could have been doing so many things. I could have hung out with friends, learned to play the guitar, fallen in love with some cute girl at school. Three months is a long time. Di you know that after 3 months, a child’s bones start to form in a mother’s womb, the child has their first movements. I had regressed even beyond that, I did not move. I played the game.
People often tell cutesy or heart-warming stories about this cute, fun game but I want to tell you all that I enjoyed the game and my story isn’t cutesy or heart-warming. My story is a warning. I lost 3 months of my life.
Stay the fuck out that town.