Animal Crossing is probably one of the most addictive series of games I have ever encountered. It’s something I like to wind down to after a session of intense gaming, and is a series that I have followed from the start. It’s a game that I can pick up and play as much or as little as I want, with lots of fun interaction between me and my animal neighbours and visiting friends for a pleasant, relaxing experience.
However, I haven’t been able to forgive the series for offering too much of the same. Although there are some subtle differences, there hasn’t been any huge changes to the formula, and it has made me question why I continue to buy the games and pay for an experience that I have already had. People would argue that you shouldn’t try to fix what isn’t broken, but I feel that we deserve more from the series.
The upcoming Animal Crossing game for Nintendo 3DS sounds like it offers the largest differences to the series so far which could set it apart from its predecessors. For example, you are now the mayor of the town and Tom Nook plays the role of an estate agent rather than a shopkeeper. You’re also able to add more customisation to furniture and your clothes than ever before. Here’s a few changes and ideas which I think could improve the experience of this Nintendo 3DS chapter even further.
Collect stuff from people you pass in the street!
StreetPass is a major feature of the Nintendo 3DS, and one that will be present in Animal Crossing 3DS. If you pass someone that owns the game, a version of their house will appear as a model home in your town that you are free to visit and explore. With more gamers now owning the system, it makes sense to offer this feature; but why stop there? What if players could exchange more things through StreetPass such as furniture and clothing? You could pass someone and gather certain pieces of furniture or items that are rarely seen in the game or are hard to collect.
Here’s an example: A player could display a selection of items in their shop, and these would be sent to the equivalent shop in the StreetPass recipient’s game for them to purchase. In turn, the player would also get a choice of items to purchase themselves from those they’ve passed. If it was an item you wanted more than one of, you could simply order it from the shop catalogue, similar to what you were able to do in previous games. If there are items that the player doesn’t want to buy, the player could speak to the shop owner and select the items they were not interested in, and the item could be removed from display. This would be a great incentive to use StreetPass and make it easier to collect different sets of furniture. I want Nintendo to give me a further reason to take my Nintendo 3DS on my travels to collect StreetPass hits, and I could even see small events taking place where people would attend to complete a certain set of furniture or get a rare item that they’ve had difficulty finding.
Paying off my house? Pfft…not a problem! …Or is it?
I would assume that even as the town mayor, you would still be able to purchase a house and pay it off in the same way as always, as this is a core element of the series that shouldn’t be changed. Sadly, I do feel that this process is completed far too quickly in previous games. I feel that I should be able to take more time over expanding my home and be rewarded for it in the long term.
I think multiplying the cost of the expansions by ten and offering more opportunities to upgrade would give me a bit longer to work on my home and an incentive to get some awesome new rooms to display my items in. Alternatively, room expansions could take longer to build, keeping the cost of the house the same, while ensuring longevity. Who even heard of building an entire room in a day anyway? I think a week would be a more suitable timeframe for a new room expansion. Or how about lowering the value of items overall so I can’t be tempted to sell fruit at 500 bells a piece? That way, you would earn bells more slowly. If I don’t have the easy bells to spend on my home, I can’t rush it.
Animal Crossing is a game that you can play all year, whether it be collecting every item or every fish and insect, you can potentially pay off your house in a month or two, and to me, that’s not right. I’d like to be able to build on my house over time and enjoy the experience. Of course, I could always choose not to build expansions to my house, but when it’s so easy to gather bells up, what else can you really spend them on? I need reasons to hold onto them once I have a lot, and ensure that in a year’s time when I have amassed millions, I still have something awesome that I can save up for and purchase. In addition to buying street lamps, benches and fountains for my town, perhaps I could pay for improvements to other houses? Or maybe even a second home?
Get your hands off my flowers!
One thing I am always worried about when inviting friends over to my town is that once they’ve left and you save the game, you’ll find that items are missing or destroyed in some cases, such as trees that have been cut down, or flowers that have been run over and ruined. Had some rare ones that you were trying to breed? Forget it, they’ve been stolen or demolished by jealous or careless friends! So Nintendo, why not allow me to put some sort of fence around things and ensure that only I can chop down trees or pick flowers? What has taken a week to build up can be destroyed in moments by friends. This would certainly put me at ease when inviting people into my town.
Let me collect more stuff!
Throughout the year, players are able to catch different fish and insects depending on season and time of day. There’s also items such as paintings and fossils that can be checked by Blathers in the museum. We’ve had to collect these same four things over all of the games, so I would like to see further collectables in Animal Crossing 3DS. How about ancient artifacts? Stone tablets that you find in the ocean or when digging around. Over time this stone tablet can be pieced together in the museum. Blathers would be urging you to go out there and collect other pieces of the artifact which, once completed, will tell some elaborate tale, perhaps talk of a civilisation that used to live on the land? Shells on the beech could also be collected; I remember collecting a lot of them over the years but never having a use for them. Perhaps you could give them to someone in your town to be turned into something decorative for your home?
No more friend codes!
Thanks to the Nintendo 3DS asking for a single overall code, it should surely bring an end to typing in the name of the player, their town and their friend code just to visit a town. Just allow us to open our gates and let people in! Maybe allow gates to stay open in Sleep Mode and let players enter my town while I’m sleeping, providing that they don’t destroy my town, or draw a phallus on the Bulletin Board to see when I awaken…! Perhaps add a notification system to see who visited the town while in Sleep Mode, and maybe a log of notable things they did. Maybe the game would tell me if Mikey came over and bullied my town folk, or if David ran over my flowers. I KNOW YOU DO IT! I’m watching you…
I have too much stuff, give me more space!
Perhaps it’s just me, but I collected so much stuff in Animal Crossing that I eventually ran out of room, and because I was reluctant to part with my items I missed out on a lot of giveaways by Nintendo via WiiConnect24. Just extend our storage units and make them easier to navigate so we can hold more stuff, please? Perhaps there could be a vault in the basement where I can hold items that I no longer use but want to keep, while my wardrobe and drawers hold the items I switch around often.
Although there are plenty of changes I would like to see in Animal Crossing, I am happy to see a few things make a return too.
Bring back Nintendo themed items because they were AWESOME! Triforce? Baby Metroid tank? A 1UP mushroom? I’d love to see those and other items return, as well as some brand new ones. Perhaps we can get themed furniture sets for some major gaming series? For example, you could have a Zelda themed set with a Temple of Time wallpaper and floor, Master Sword, Spiritual Stones and pillars. Nintendo have expressed an interest in offering DLC for their games, this would be an excellent opportunity for them to take my money!
SpotPass is also a great opportunity to receive exclusive items from Nintendo. It was already done with WiiConnect24, which was used to send special items to fans such as the Red Pikmin hat and a DSi chair! I think this feature will be used so much more for the handheld Animal Crossing rather than the console version. One thing I would like to see changed is how items are delivered to you. I always found myself holding too many items and was unable to collect my new items, so perhaps Pete the postman would consider leaving the items at the post office for me, so I can get them when I wish?
I would also like to see the return of the Island Cabana from Animal Crossing on the GameCube, that was accessed by connecting your Game Boy Advance with a link cable and visiting Kapp’n at the dock who would take you to the island as he sings. Nintendo have already confirmed that there is a small island that can be visited in the game, so let’s wait and see what happens!
Finally, we must have K.K Slider return to sing us songs on a Saturday night at The Roost. I don’t think there’s a single Animal Crossing fan out there that doesn’t like K.K Slider, and if there is… what the hell is wrong with you?! Perhaps this time K.K Slider will have learned a few Nintendo themes. How about rocking out to the Big Blue theme from F-Zero or The Legend of Zelda theme?
It would also be cool to see K.K have a house in the town so you can visit him and listen to him practice his music. You could have a conversation with him during the week, and suggest themes you would like to hear him play on the upcoming Saturday. This could increase the chance of a certain song being played. If it’s the first time you’ve heard the song, K.K gives you a copy of it so you’re able to listen to it on the radio in your home, perhaps after listening to songs on radios in other towns, you can suggest these to K.K.
Animal Crossing 3DS certainly has a lot of potential, and if you’re not using your Nintendo 3DS enough already this game will more than likely give you reason to do so. How many other games give you the same replay value a whole year after you first played it? I can’t think of many! Oh, and one more thing… love or hate him, Animal Crossing wouldn’t be the same without Mr. Resetti, but for all our sakes, be sure to save your game before switching your game off!
Darren Kerwin+ Darren is a 26-year old gamer from the United Kingdom, who has a strong interest in video games, writing, socialising and Parsnips. He runs a Metroid fan website called Shinesparkers, which he describes as being his main gaming obsession. He's also written and contributed to several websites and publications. You'll often find him on Twitter talking about random stuff - just smile, nod your head politely, then move on..