As many people are aware, there is a fantastic game series produced by Nintendo (of which, it seems, I am a fan) called Animal Crossing. The franchise began on the GameCube in 2001, and has continued on through the last 16 years with its most recent addition, Animal Crossing: New Leaf being released in 2012 for the Nintendo 3DS.
There have been spin-off games for the franchise, both of the most recent of which released in 2015, but I will be focusing primarily on New Leaf.
Now, the premise of these games is that the Player Character (the Villager) moves in to the town, which the player names, and sets up their home. In New Leaf, you come to town as the new mayor. The faithful Isabelle gets you set up with a tent and a lantern, and tells you to talk to Tom Nook about getting a house built.
Here’s a side note about Tom Nook: he is the greediest bastard in Nintendo history. Greedier than Wario, Bowser, and Ganon combined. You will owe him Bells (the currency of the game) for literally forever. It starts off modestly with a small, one bedroom home for 10,000 Bells, and escalates until you have a small mansion worth millions, and no amount of bugs or fish sold will ever quite do the trick. It’s not enough that Nook is a crook; he’s training his sons to follow in his footsteps. Timmy and Tommy Nook run Nookling junction, the town’s general store. Because this is the town’s only store in which one can buy supplies like bug-catching nets and fishing rods, they can set whatever prices they want. Of course, there’s always Re-Tail, the consignment shop run by llamas Reese and Cyrus, but you can’t get the basics required to earn Bells there. It is recommended that players check in to see what other townsfolk are selling every day or every few days, in case a missing piece from your furniture set of choice is on display, and Reese will accept your unwanted bugs and fish in exchange for precious Bells.
The Villager’s main source of income lies in fishing, bug-catching, and digging up buried treasure. There are several collections to complete to keep the particularly avid occupied for several days on end: fossils, bugs, and fish can be given to Blathers, the museum’s curator, to be put on display.
As you go along in New Leaf, you befriend the townsfolk. The higher your friendship points, the more prosperous your town. However, it’s a game that you play hardcore for a couple of weeks, and then put down for six months. Since the game goes on in real time, this means that you leave your town alone for six months — missing your residents’ birthdays, holidays, and fishing and bug-catching contests. It turns out, they don’t like that much.
I have not picked up the game myself in close to a year. It isn’t because I don’t want to play it. It’s because I’m not sure how my residents are going to greet me when I finally re-enter the town I’ve affectionately named Underlan. Also because I still owe Tom Nook 350,000 Bells for my most recent home expansion.