Throwback Thursday: Animal Crossing

Platform: Nintendo 64 / GameCube | Release Date: 2001 / 2002

Nintendo’s quirky village simulation game Animal Crossing would be one of the GameCube’s best selling titles, but it was actually released in Japan for the Nintendo 64 first. The graphics weren’t impressive, but the dynamic relationships you could build with animals that settled in your town were and the multitude of activities that could be partaken for fun or for profit was enough to keep gamers hooked for hours, days and years. There was fishing, clothing design, bug catching, fossil collecting and more plus games-within-a-game with a naively generous selection of fifteen NES games which could be played in full.

Tomorrow is the release of Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer so it’s a good time to take a look at the game that started it all and why it was a standout hit on the GameCube!

Why it was great

As mentioned before, Animal crossing had a lot of stuff to do. Personally, one of the most exciting things to do was go out and hunt some rare insect specimens for the Museum. Unlike the static fossil displays or art exhibits, bugs that were collected were free to roam around their area of the building and the more that were added the more interesting the room got. The variety of fish was also exciting (especially the more unique-looking catches like eels), but confined to their tanks made them a little less visually appealing than the wilds of the insect room.

Decorating was, of course, another high point of the game. Each day was a new opportunity to check Nook’s shop for furniture, wallpaper or more to complete a collection or just add some pizzazz to a tired layout. My rooms always took on a distinctly jungle-esque theme and were overflowing with whatever plants I could find, borrow or steal (I admit, I didn’t really lose that cute polka dot shirt Officer Booker). Clothing was another way to uniquely represent yourself with almost limitless fashionable (and unfashionable) outfit combinations.

ac-stellaAnimal Crossing was also one of the only games I was willing to watch someone else play as a fidgety 13 year old. My sister and I would take turns talking to the villagers and each had our favorites who we’d send gifts to and stop for extra conversations if we saw them. I still remember who we liked; I was very connected with Stella the Sheep and she developed a friendship with one of the gorillas. Back then it was hard to imagine anyone wanting to spend their free time observing someone else gaming, but this is the age of Twitch and now I’m more than happy to watch pros get some nice ganks in League of Legends or watch a master Pokémon trainer battle up the ranks online.

All in all, it was a great early simulation game that didn’t simply focus on building a town or kingdom, but challenged players to be themselves inside a fantastical setting and impact the world around them.

What do you think? Any favorite memories? There are some great Animal Crossing stickers that just came out for LINE messenger as well!

A cross-dressing Link doesn’t cut it for everyone

triforce-heroes-zelda-dressNintendo’s upcoming cooperative action-adventure game The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes can be played by a single player, but the game’s developers really want it to be enjoyed by three people simultaneously (sorry, 2 players are actually out of luck!). There’s also apparently a lot of clothing collection involved, because fashion is key in the kingdom where the game takes place and what you wear impacts the game. Nintendo even included a dress, the iconic gown worn by Princess Zelda, for fans wanting to express themselves outside of the usual gender norms.

The gaming press was quick to squander any potential for positivity regarding the issue, with IGN quickly digging in on why there was no female character available when given the opportunity to interview game Director Hiromasa Shikata. According to Shikata the story was simply that the heroes were male, which is unsurprising since most Legend of Zelda games focus on a silent, male protagonist usually named Link. Smelling blood in the water, other gaming sites raced to pick up the story. Polygon, Destructoid and GameSpot all lined up pieces about the gender bombshell, which had been dropped on them as if the almost 30 year old series was about controlling a female protagonist named Zelda.

There’s a line between encouraging diversity and respecting the right of artists to tell their own tale. When gaming sites write that the story “requires male heroes” (GameSpot) and infers that blaming gender choices based on how the background of the game has been constructed, there’s no longer a respect for the medium. Why does any game have male or female protagonists? Because that’s how their individual stories were written. It isn’t an excuse, it is simply design.

The games that offer choices to players are usually immersive titles which want the players to put themselves into the game, but Legend of Zelda has traditionally just accepted a player name in terms of customization. There are outfits now! And dresses! But the additions don’t add up to much when the top Google search results are crowing about the lack of female Link clones. Would interest be as high if there were three identical Princess Zeldas working together as the protagonists? Yes, perhaps even even more. Unfortunately, this is not that game.

Not everyone is going to be thrilled that the Nintendo 3DS gets another Zelda title and the cooperative aspect may not please all, but sexism isn’t one of the game’s problems. What are your thoughts?

Hyrule Warriors coming to 3DS and bringing two familiar faces

As seen in this newly discovered trailer:

The original Hyrule Warriors on Wii U is being ported and produced by companies Team Ninja and Omega Force for a Nintendo 3DS adaptation. It is unofficially announced as of now but as you can see it appears the game will be contain all the characters from the Wii U version…plus two more!

It has also been discovered that purchasing the 3DS version while already owning the original Wii U version will allow the owner to unlock King of Hyrule and Tetra on their Wii U as well.

hw3ds

 

What do you think of this big news!? This will be the newest Zelda game on the 3DS following the enormous Majora’s Mask 3DS release, and now Zelda fans who own a 3DS but not a Wii U will get the chance to finally play the renowned Hyrule Warriors.

On June 14, Lucas smashes back into our lives!

According to recent announcement via the official Facebook, Lucas from the series Mother and veteran of Super Smash Bros. as of his appearance in Brawl is making his way onto the Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U as purchasable DLC on June 14!

From the official announcement trailer we saw a preview of Lucas in action and it is apparent that he will play similarly, probably exactly the way he did in Brawl as we’ve seen with Mewtwo, with the addition of his mega cool Final Smash skill.

“You bet on me… but it seems you lost, huh? Yep. I fell. As did you, after you bet on me. I think that for a while, I’m gonna act like a fat worm and hide myself inside a hole. So don’t talk to me. The heroic and cool Rope Snake you once knew is dead. In a tiny, quiet voice, I say… So long.” – Rope Snake

lucas wii

 

 

“Hold still and lemme shoot you.” – Falco Lombardi

 

 

At 11 am Eastern Time, June 14, Lucas will be available on the DLC shop on both systems for $4.99, for access to Lucas on one 3DS and one Wii U, or $3.99, for access on only one of the systems.

Are you as excited as we are!? Check back on June 14 for some electrifying gameplay of Lucas!

Chibi-Robo returns, now on the 3DS!

Today, during a surprise Nintendo Direct, a new Chibi-Robo title was announced! Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash! Unlike the traditional Chibi-Robo title, this one will be a side-scroller and feature action in addition to the quirky puzzles our friendly robo gets into! Chibi-Robo uses his plug as a whip to attack enemies as well as to reach places he could no get to before. Charging his plug increases its power and length in which it extends. Check out the trailer!

As mentioned, an amiibo compatible with the game is to be released exclusively as a bundle with the launch of this game. We currently know this amiibo can transform Chibo-Robo into Super Chibi-Robo and can be leveled up as well as unlock in-game collectible items.

Who could ever say no to this little guy?
Who could ever say no to this little guy?

Chibi-Robo!: Zip Lash will be released on the Nintendo 3DS system this October! Come back for more info, here on RL, when its released!