Animal Crossing is a series of games known for disregarding many of the established criteria in video games. This series has no particular ending, set objective (aside from whatever you choose to pursue), or even antagonist (unless you count Tom Nook, but according to some he is only severely misunderstood). I had my start on this series back in 2002 when Animal Crossing: Population Growing released on the Gamecube during September, and needless to say I was hooked. The freedom I enjoyed in this game was different to the one experienced in many games before Animal Crossing had existed, but that gave it a very unique feeling. Of course, as with many other gamers who purchased the game, I had my doubts on whether this quirky Japanese title would sell enough copies to warrant a continuation of the series. This fear was justified by the fact that this was the year when Vice City became the top dog in gaming.
Violent games were everywhere during that generation of games, and then there was Animal Crossing. An adorable game where you fished, caught insects, collected fossils, mailed letters to your animal friends, spoke to those same animal friends, and in general just spent time getting chased by bees while trying to make money for your house. The series defied those concerns by actually becoming one of the Gamecube’s system top sellers. Animal Crossing actually sold nearly 2 million copies, and ensured itself a healthy string of sequels which continue to this day. But, fears arose during this years E3 presentation when it was announced that 2 games in the animal crossing series were coming out, and neither were the much hoped for New Leaf version for the Wii U. Instead, gamers received the announcement of Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, and Amiibo Festival which (perhaps due to the underwhelming reaction of the overall E3 presentation) were met with mixed reactions. A lot of fans of the series were not sure what to make of the game, and the other half were frankly pretty excited. However, once again Animal Crossing shows us how it is truly the Rocky Balboa of gaming by managing to once again beat all odds with AC:HHD.
Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer has been out in Japan for almost 2 months and has already sold 1.2 million copies in that country. I will be the first to admit that if you read one of my first articles in this blog regarding the E3 presentation; you will notice that I had very little (if none at all) faith in this game. Yet, I have been pleasantly surprised by the success and positive reactions that the gaming community in Japan has had to this new itineration in the Animal Crossing series. It is amazing to see the weight that this series now carries in the video game world, and Animal Crossing has literally carved its own niche in the gaming world through sheer willpower. Nintendo was right in placing their bets on this series (something very surprising considering the rate of games that never leave Japan). But, does this mean that I changed my mind/opinion in regards to Happy Home Designer? Not at all actually, quite the opposite.
I will not buy Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer when it releases tomorrow, nor am I excited at all for this game. I do have some newfound respect for the IP in general, but reading some of the reviews and seeing the trailers pretty much confirmed that this game is not the Animal Crossing for me. I admit that it has defied my expectations and will probably sell a decent if not vast amount of copies when it is released on the west, but if I wanted to design homes for other creatures to live with then Sims 3 or 4 will provide much more freedom in this regard. Simply put, while the Animal Crossing main series has carved its own special place in the gaming world due to its particular premise, games like Happy Home Designer don’t feel as unique for me. I have been playing simulations for years and as such The Sims series has been my go to place for this type of genre (the designing and building type of game). I’ll be missing out for sure, but don’t worry about me at all.
I’ll be right here raising a glass for those comrades who are at home enjoying their copies, decorating their villagers houses, and torturing the ones they don’t like. I am proud to congratulate Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer in its achievements, and will apologize for doubting its namesake. I’m going to sit back and wait for the next game in the main series until then; though I should have known better than to doubt the power of AC (get it?). Nintendo, you might screw things up as much as you achieve success, but you have defied my expectations once more, and Iwata I hope you are resting in peace (I know it took me a while to say my good-bye).
I had to say this game really surprised me. I’m happy to see the ability that Animal Crossing has to bring gamers together and despite not partaking in this game it’s a good thing to see spin-offs that aren’t Mario.
Pictures belong to their respective owners and this blog is copyright to the owner.