BagoGames, Flickr

Escapism From The Student Life: Looking Back At Animal Crossing

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Animal Crossing Wild World was pretty much my life between the ages of 9 and 11. I loved it, to the point where my mother actually had to take my Nintendo DS off me one summer because I was becoming ‘boring’.

For anyone who’s never played Animal Crossing before, it’s essentially a role-playing game, in which you change and develop a fictional town. You are in charge of your own house and your town’s landscape, all whilst fulfilling little tasks along the way. You are free to catch bugs, fish in the oceans and rivers, plant flowers, pick fruit from trees and design your own household. Trips to the Tom Nook local shop could mean snapping up a bargain or making some serious money on your own collected goods. It’s basically real life, except with the presence of computer-generated friendly farm animals that populate the town.

Sharks mean serious money, but also serious bragging perks rights around all your other Animal Crossing– playing friends. The pressure was intense.

For anyone that’s ever played the game, you’ll know the overwhelming sense of both excitement and dread that you’d feel when you saw ‘The Fin’. In the evenings during the summer months, you would very occasionally be lucky enough to catch a shark to which it belonged. Sharks mean serious money, but also serious bragging perks rights around all your other Animal Crossing– playing friends. The pressure was intense. I reckon I had a 50% success rate with catching one of these bad boys. I remember yelling upstairs to my brother whenever there was a shark present. He’d run downstairs, just as anxious as I was, and he’d look away from the screen, just to make sure he wasn’t adding any more pressure in an already stressful situation. That is how seriously we both took Animal Crossing.

Better stay away from these sweet tulips im growing ducky, BagoGames, Flickr

Nothing would ever beat the heartbreak of running too fast in the trees, and scaring off the massive Oak Silk Moths that lurked on their trunks. Arguably even harder to catch than sharks; these moths caused many heart palpitations, of which my nine year old self had never felt before. The Birdwing Butterfly would very rarely appear in all its blue and green glory, and having one of these in your house was guaranteed to make a stir when friends came to visit. If you caught a scorpion or tarantula, you were basically an Animal Crossing legend. You had to lurk behind them, wielding your net, and hope they didn’t spot you and bite you, thus temporarily ending the game.

Ironically, having all of what I ever wanted on the game made it very boring indeed, and the bloom was off the rose very quickly after that.

When my brother got some cheat codes for the game, I had unlimited money, all the sharks in my aquarium, and very little left to do in my town. Ironically, having all of what I ever wanted on the game made it very boring indeed, and the bloom was off the rose very quickly after that. Somewhere in the depths of my wardrobe is a dusty pink Nintendo DS, probably still with Animal Crossing in it. Writing this has made me very nostalgic. Maybe if I can find my charger I’ll give it another spin.

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