Animal Crossing

With the rise of mobile computing, largely considered the third big movement to shake up the technology industry, we have seen the rise of the .99 cent or free app. And there are some solid gaming efforts out there from Flight Control, Wordament, Candy Crush, Plants vs Zombies, that can be found on iOS, Android and WindowsPhone. If you search on Nintendo on Bing or Google, you will find hundreds of articles on the fall of the gaming giant. I grew up with Mario. It is a bit sad to hear that the plumber is going belly up. Apparently the profit margin in replacing leaky faucets isn’t what it used to be.

Yet, instead of letting my kid play these .99 cent game apps on my phone I went out and got him a Nintendo hand held and this little game called Animal Crossing. To be honest, I didn’t want him moving the buttons around on my phone or hacking the password anymore. It was the more expensive option at 29.99 for the game vs .99 cents but kept my sanity in check. I could find my phone and mail buttons if I went in this direction. As an added bonus, the box had these cute little animals on it.

If you are unfamiliar with Animal Crossing, it starts with the player moving into town with a bunch of animals (sounds like any good American town), buying a plot for your house, and doing odd jobs to pay it back. Once you become debt free like Dale Ramsey, you get another upgrade to your home and then have to work to pay that back. There is a lesson here for the House and Senate. You can earn bells (dollars) by selling fruit, catching fish, and doing the occasional odd job. At first, this sounds simple enough. Probably a waste of 29.99. This could not be further from the truth. You do indeed get what you pay for.

After a few days, my kid convinces me to move into town to play with him. I start the game up, get welcomed into town and away I go. I soon realize this game has a social structure. Bertha the Hippo is probably the friendliest animal in town. She gave me an orange one day, which I could then bury and start an orange crop. Trees grow in this game. You can earn bells by selling them to pay for more upgrades to your house. I needed a new fence and my roof painted. More oranges were needed. And maybe a few apples too.

I also realized I’m not a fan of Bam, the goat. He lives across town. Bam is always asking for my fish and not willing to pay for them. He also needs to go because he is constantly fighting with Monique, a cat with impeccable taste in clothes. She always has the nicest umbrellas to show off. My kid and I are working on a way to get rid of Bam. I have already complained to city hall that he pulled up the flowers in front of my yard. He really didn’t but I like Monique. And it would be nice to see some new animals in town. Nice animals. Not Bam.

After the 4th of July fireworks (yes, this game celebrates holidays), I remember catching my first shark. These are worth big bells. Like 8,000. Smelts, on the other hand, are worth nothing and probably should be tossed back in the river. You see sharks are usually caught at night, sometime in the wee hours of the morning during a full moon. It’s sad I know this.

I then discovered the local market. You can design furniture and purchase rare items here. I found a red Mario hat that went for a cheap 450 bells. It was a steal. To buy more stuff at the store, you can even resell your old furniture through consignment. There is another animal that has its own version of Pawn Stars open every day from 7 to 10. You have to be a bit careful on who you resell to. Some animals pay more than others. And then there is the turnip market. Buy low, sell high. So much to do in this little town and not enough time.

I then had the bright idea to check the play time on the Nintendo 3DS parental control settings. Animal Crossing had to be shut down at least for awhile. Too much screen time for my kid. Then, I realized that most of that play time was my own. That’s a sad discovery. My kid then asked me if I had Animal Crossing when I was a kid. I then explained that we had this great game called outside, which is where he needed to be. Sure, I probably stretched the truth on this one. I played Mario for hours. But sounding tough made me feel good.

Even though the I put Animal Crossing in timeout, every now and then I look over at the little red handheld device on the shelf and wonder what Bam is up to. He’s probably digging up my flowers. I better start it up, just to make sure that’s not happening. And if it’s not, maybe I can see if there is anything new to find at the flea market. I hear you can buy the master sword from the Legend of Zelda. Hopefully, I can buy it before Bam gets it.