Animal Crossing, For The Hardcore Only
Here’s a thing: Animal Crossing is one of the most hardcore games you’ll ever play.
Not because you have to learn patience and skill like in Dark Souls, or memorize endless lists of hero movesets and potential matchups like League of Legends. It doesn’t require precise timing like Street Fighter does, or a certain number of actions per second like Starcraft. And yet I would still put Animal Crossing in the hardcore category, a game that attracts the endlessly dedicated gamers among us.
Because Animal Crossing requires dedication.
And I don’t mean the kind of dedication that all of the other games I mentioned above require, being dedicated to any of those games requires a massive time investment but that time investment is rewarded by front loading all of your play time. The more you play League of Legends and the less time you spend not playing it the better you’ll generally become. But not Animal Crossing.
Animal Crossing requires dedication on the level of life altering years. To get everything out of Animal Crossing that you possibly can you must alter your daily schedule.
For anyone who hasn’t played Animal Crossing, the premise is simple. You life in a little countryside town. You can go fishing, dig up fossils, hang out with your neighbors, and customize your clothes and house. It’s sort of like Harvest Moon, but with less focus on being profitable and more focus on just doing your thing and building your own house. Oh, and the game happens in real time.
And that’s where the hardcore of Animal Crossing comes in.
See, in a normal game if someone said “Hey I want to visit you at 10pm!” you wouldn’t have a problem with that, even if it was 2am in game time. You could leave the game running and in a few minutes it’d probably be close to 10pm game time because most games run on a compressed day night cycle. But not Animal Crossing. If someone says 10pm they mean 10pm. Your time. Your real world time. Even if they’re asking you this at noon, they mean 10pm. If you forget? Sucks to be you. No take backs. If you reset the clock to go back in time? That appointment no longer exists.
Starting to catch on?
There are tournaments, too! Fishing, bug catching, etc. The fishing tournaments only happen every few months, but it’s also the only way you can get the best in game fishing rod. As of today, the next fishing tournament is in October. The last fishing tournament happened in May. Did I mention that the new Animal Crossing came out on June 9th? Yup. Unless you were a member of the press, or you’re cheating, you literally had no chance of doing a fishing tournament before October.
So many things in Animal Crossing demand your time like this. If you want to get all the singles from the game’s resident blue’s artist, KK Slider, better hope you’re free at 8PM on Saturdays, otherwise you aren’t getting them! Want some toys from Santa on Toy Day? Ignore your family, play Animal Crossing!
Of course, if you miss a particular holiday in Animal Crossing that’s it. You missed your chance to get that special item or participate in those special events sucks to be you, now wait a whole year for it to come around again. Animal Crossing gives no shits about your real life obligations, all it cares about is the town and your animal friends inside the town.
Not all of the hardcore challenge of Animal Crossing comes from the absurd time demands, though that is the most significant part, but also the constant maintenance of your town and the relationships you have with your townsfolk. Every day weeds will pop up in your town. Remove them, or people start leaving your town and flowers will stop growing. (Speaking of the flowers, don’t forget to water them everyday or else they’ll all die too!)
Did you forget to send letters to your townsfolk and talk to them every day? Well, they’re just gonna move over to someone else’s town where they’re appreciated. There’s nothing more sad than running around an empty town, picking weeds, in the vain hope that someone else will want to come and visit you and maybe stay for a while and be your friend.
Let’s not forget what attracts people to your town in the first place: culture! There’s a museum whose exhibits you, yes you!, get to fill in. The bugs and fossils and fish are easy enough to do, except certain ones are only found certain times of the year, but the paintings, oh the paintings.
See, there’s a character who is a traveling art dealer. He’s a fox. (Literally.) He has real and fake paintings. And unless you’re really good at figuring out his tells, or know ancient artworks really well, or are willing to spend maybe hours digging through the internet to find the painting and good comparison shots, you may end up with a fake painting.
Oh, did I mention that you can only buy one painting at a time? And that he only shows up maybe (MAYBE) once a week to sell paintings? Yup! To fill out the museum in the town you have to play as an art authenticator, and if you fail you get no chance to get a new painting for days or weeks.
Welcome to Animal Crossing.
What makes Animal Crossing so insidious is that it is presented in such a friendly way. Everyone in the game is nice to you, goes out of their way to help you, and is generally very friendly. It’s actually jarring when an animal tells you that they don’t want to help you because you just expect everyone to be nice to you. T
There are more difficult games, absolutely, but there are few games that require the sheer life altering time dedication that Animal Crossing demands. You could always cheat, sure, but that defeats the whole point of doing the game properly. It’d be like starting a game against bots in Starcraft and giving yourself 100,000 of all resources. What’s the point of playing if you automatically removal all challenge?