I’m an Animal Crossing obsessionist. Just to make sure everyone understands how deep I am into this game, I have a Japanese friend who gets me exclusive items. I have full sets of unorderable items. I have nearly 60 million bells at my disposal. I have over 400 hours logged from playing. I have custom QR codes specifically made to make my character look like a well-paid young man with his priorities set on managing a town filled with 10 talking animals.
However, I don’t want to bore you with why or how I play this game, but rather what enables me to continue playing it. It’s simple: it’s the community. The community aspect of Animal Crossing has given me more to do and discover beyond simply making sure my animals are perfectly happy clams. Between trading items, giving out money, helping others with their public works projects, and creating a beautiful town, it’s an impossible battle to lose when finding the pleasantries in Animal Crossing’s online interactivity.
While all of that sounds perfectly pleasing, it’s not something that is given to you when you start up the game. Finding a good community filled with decent players is where you have to start. Fortunately for me, the community I found was filled with people who were generous, kind, and all-around helpful. As a result, I have a strong theory that the majority of those who play Animal Crossing are the best kinds of people. The game is perceived as being “for kids,” so it’s pretty hard to morph that idea into something to be used negatively or for personal gain. These people do exist, however, but avoiding them is easy when the majority speaks louder.
When I play Animal Crossing, I don’t simply ask for stuff; I develop friendships with other players, and we exchange items to catalog (a term that refers to holding an item in your inventory, allowing you to personally order it to be delivered to your house) or we exchange DLC from different regions that can’t be ordered. There’s a lot of back and forth trading between these people that are my li’l villager buddies.
Another great art of the online connectivity in Animal Crossing is that I get to explore various towns and see how people have decked them out with exciting creativity. My Japanese friend has had the game since November, and her entire town is themed like a Disney park. That is a possible thing that you can do in this game — you can theme your entire town to look like a Disney utopia. Simply being able to see how people have made their towns look nice, how they’ve wrapped them into a nice and cozy town burrito, is thrilling. On top of that, there are always new villagers to see and talk to.
Then there are turnips. For those that don’t know, turnips are the main source of stellar money gain in Animal Crossing. Every Sunday you can buy turnips from Joan, a boar, for prices ranging from 90 to 110 bells. Then, throughout the week, Reese, an alpaca, will buy turnips for prices ranging from somewhere in the 20s to somewhere in the 600s. Here’s where the community aspect of this game plays a large part: you can jump from one person’s town to buy turnips at 100, then sell them at 600 later in the week. In that example, you would’ve made a 600% profit. Let’s say you have an empty character with no inventory slots or storage slots used. That’s 19,600 (196 slots x 100 turnips per slot) turnips that you can now sell. You would have just made 11 million dollars. In one week. That’s crazy.
In mediums like Animal Crossing, there is the core gameplay that is fun, and then there are small things tacked on that take the game to new levels. Being able to play with other people from around the world, trade items, make money, sell items, get new flowers, buy things in other stores, all of it, makes the game one of the most addicting that I’ve ever played. It’s sometimes hard to put down my 3DS and focus on real world responsibilities because there’s so much to do in my town at any given moment. The game says it’s now my new life, and at this point, I can’t disagree.