animal crossing and it’s relaxing mechanics

Animal Crossing is a ‘community simulation’ game that is developed and published by Nintendo! I have been a massive fan of it since I was 10 years old. I remember my parents getting me Animal Crossing: Wild World back near my birthday in 2006 and I remember loving the game to bits. The game is very simplistic in the way it works however has improved greatly over the years and added more and more stuff to do in each newer version. So far I own the gamecube version, Wild World, City Folk and New Leaf! You could say the series is one of my top 5 game series and that’d definitely be right!

I decided to write about the game today because I recently picked up by 3DS again and started a new town on Animal Crossing New Leaf and I remembered how lovely and relaxing the game is for me now, even at 19 years old. The soundtrack to all of it’s games is so soothing and you never get tired of it. My favourite pieces of music from the series are probably these:

To be fair, it is very hard to pick just 3 or 4 favourites as I love majority of the music on all the games! So much so, I even have a google chrome extension that plays hourly animal crossing music if I turn it on!

I feel like the whole series is a perfect kind of handheld or console game for people who lead stressful lives, have anxiety/panic issues, depression or even just like games that let them forget about the busy world. I admittedly struggle with anxiety and stress myself so I can see the reason why I’m so drawn to the Animal Crossing series. The music is relaxing, the art style is colourful and eye-pleasing and all the things that you can do in your game is very calming in the way it can give you the feeling of accomplishing tiny things and the feeling of organisation and tidying.

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When I start a town on Animal Crossing I love to let my character talk to all the NPC villagers in the town, they all have different personalities and their automated conversations are mostly all positive and friendly. It’s a small and cheesy reason to love this game, but having phrases like “Isn’t it a lovely day today!” or “Good morning, remember to take a break!” shown to you as you play through the game are slightly uplifting to your mood. In a busy lifestyle you might feel you miss out on little things like being told ‘Have a nice day’ or that you seem happy or energetic and it definitely makes me get a warm feeling when playing Animal Crossing.

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You can also decorate your town as you play, collecting furniture from the game’s ‘recycle shops’ or even from calendar events, other characters, special visiting NPCs or using the game’s wi-fi to go to your friend’s towns and see what their town stores sell. Basically, it feels like you are making your own little unique, relaxation haven in which you can decide what happens. Obviously, only if this is how you want to play your game – I love seeing other town designs and how some people base there’s on horror towns or just everything goes!

To get in-game currency, after collecting ‘basic equipment’ like fishing rod, a net, watering can, shovel, axe and a slingshot, you can start to explore your town and help (or destroy) the environment and the town museum. You do this by collecting bugs in your net that you can free, sell for coins or donate to the town museum. That also goes for fossils that you dig up or fish you catch. It’s very traditional ways to get money which suits the game’s style and it makes it very fun and you get so lost in it that it relaxes you. Being able to finish off a complete dinosaur fossil at the museum or collecting favourite bugs or fish to give to villagers is like a tiny accomplishment and makes you feel good. Using your watering can to create a bed of pretty flowers in your town is also a lovely feeling.

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A lot of gamers now seem to be cautious of playing ‘casual games’. This is very ingrained by the idea of ‘proper games need violence/guns/story-telling’, which is mostly likely influenced by what games are popular on the market currently like Call of Duty, Halo and Grand Theft Auto. Nothing is wrong with playing a game that does not include violence, weapons or a story. Some of the best games in history don’t have any of these. Think of the Sims series, Super Mario, Tetris, Pac-Man, Pokemon etc. etc.
Nothing is wrong with games with violence and guns though, I do love using weird, corrosive rocket launchers on the Borderlands series or using magic to defeat enemies in Dragon Age. But if any gamer ever wants to try a ‘casual’ game on the Nintendo platforms, I’d definitely recommend trying out Animal Crossing New Leaf.

So yeah, that’s my recommendation of the day! Also have a look at the trailer for the upcoming Animal Crossing spin-off game Happy Home Designer, coming out October 2nd in Europe!

Thanks for reading,

Lenah x x

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