Movies, Games & Fun

Why I keep playing Animal Crossing

My beloved Animal Crossing: New Leaf already turned 3 years old. And I’ve loved it since the first time I got my hands on it.

At first I would spend hours talking to my villagers, doing chores and decorating my town. I would play for at least an hour every day. I obsessed over this game for the first months I had it.

And then.. you might know what I discovered after the first 200 hours of play time. Everything is perfect until burn out happens.

But that’s okay. It happens to the best of games.

The good thing is that there are many, MANY ways to get the inspiration to keep playing. Here are some of the reasons why I keep playing Animal Crossing, 3 years and 320 hours later. 

1) I love visiting other towns on the Dream Suit to see what friends or people on the Internet did with their towns. I’ve found so many different themes, it’s amazing how creative and enthusiastic someone can be as a mayor. Most codes I found them looking for tags in Tumblr and some of them via Reddit
2) I want to get all the badges. In gold. It is very difficult to achieve that, but the nice thing is that I can keep playing forever until I get them all.
3) I don’t time travel. I know a lot of people time travels because they want to get things faster, but I think waiting is an essential part of this game. It’s very rewarding when I wait for a tree to fully grow or a monument to be completed, and then log in a couple of days later and find it finished! It certainly takes a lot of patience (and I don’t have a lot!) but I’ve learned that not every endeavor comes with instant gratification.
4) I’m a collector. OF EVERYTHING. Wether it is a pog collection, Kinder Surprise toys or the Animal Crossing fossils, I gotta catch them all. And this game is filled with things to collect: Bugs, Fish, Furniture, Art, Seasonal Gifts, Pictures, Fossils, Gyroids, Tools, Music, Clothes… It’s an enjoyable task for me to collect all the things. I had to get the Official Game Guide to have a printed catalog of all the items to collect.HNI_0089pesca
5) I change the language from time to time. I speak Spanish and English so changing the language is an easy way to get a fresh set of catchphrases and expressions. I’m sure I still haven’t heard all the different interactions and even if they are similar in different languages, they still use different jokes and nicknames.
6) Some times a year I go through the pictures on my 3DS and look at my old screenshots from the game. I get to see my firsts interactions with old villagers and the ceremonies for some of my town monuments. It makes me so nostalgic that I want to play the game just to greet my old friends or read their letters.
7)
I have the Beautiful town ordinance, which means I can leave my town for a long period of time without worrying about finding it full of weeds.  I know the guilt of finding a house full of cockroaches discourages some people of playing the game after a long pause, but with this ordinance that’s not a concern.
HNI_0072a8) I take my 3DS to big events, like Comic-Con. That’s the perfect way to get lots of streetpasses. It’s so fun finding new houses to visit and check their decoration, and I can even buy some of their furniture if I want to.
9) I decided to change the main theme of my town. Since I’m a big Disney fan I started the game with the purpose of turning y town into Disneyland. With the Fairy-Tale public works and my house in the shape of a big castle, with rooms dedicated to different princesses, I worked towards this goal during two years. And then I felt like I needed to refresh my motivation so I just picked a new theme and I’m working towards it right now. This alone should keep me busy for the rest of the year.
10) I make long-term plans. Like planting a bunch of new bushes or getting a garden full of hybrid flowers. Since I don’t time travel, these plans give me a reason to check the game every day or couple of days.
HNI_0098 HNI_009911) I like my villagers and want to keep them happy. I know they are not real and feel a little silly writing this, but I really like my villagers and see them as my friends (-a different kind of friends-). The are so quirky and funny and likable that exchanging a couple of words with them makes login in worth it. I know some people likes their villagers so much that they stop playing the game when they lose their favorite (or because they fear losing them). Dora, my best friend in the game, left me because I didn’t play for two days. I felt so betrayed because I used to talk to her every day. She used to say she would write a book about our adventures some day… And just like that, without even telling me her intentions, one day I entered the game and found a letter with her picture attached. Don’t judge me, but I almost cried :(. I didn’t feel like playing for the rest of the week. But, you know what? Dora wasn’t my only friend. I also had Colton and Cranston, and even if none of them was as close to me as Dora, I knew they would love to be BFFs with me if I gave then the chance.
12) I learned to move on. I know is easy to get attached to some characters but when I learned to let them go when they asked, I started en
joying them even more. Because villagers come and go I don’t get tired of watching the same faces over and over again. I remember the good things about them as a way to keep them close.
13) Grinding if one of my favorites parts in every game. And it’s something I can do in Animal Crossing for HOURS. Can’t sleep? I’ll go to the island and catch bugs for an hour. I want to play something but I don’t feel like turning on my brain? I’ll go fishing. I would do any grinding activity for free, because I enjoy them and see them as stress relievers. The fact that I get bells or items in exchange makes it even more satisfying.
HNI_0083c14) I started making QR patterns. Nothing extraordinary but enough to keep me motivated. I loved designing Mickey Mouse sweatshirts for my Disneyland themed town. And my villagers started wearing them! How cool is that?
15) I trade items on ACTrade. I think it was during the pinnacle of my Animal Crossing obsession that I came across this subreddit. It is still the best forum to trade and sell items I’ve found. And it was so fun to host giveaways, or a great sale, and have dozens of strangers come to my town. I used to trade rare items I didn’t want for others I hadn’t had the chance to get. I liked the community so much that I would read the trading posts every day  –even if I didn’t plan on trading-. I stopped after some months because I didn’t want to ruin the fun of waiting for items the normal way.
16) I started watching the game as a parallel to real life. I know some people quits playing because they see it like a chore. They feel like they have to play every single day to avoid getting punished (getting weeds, missing special events or losing villagers…). But I’ve learned to appreciate the fact that the game moves on even if I quit playing. It makes me feel like my town is alive: seasons pass, villagers move in and out, flowers grow and others die and my friends know I’ve been absent.

I’m now on my way to 400 hours of play time. I play for a couple of hours every week and sometimes and I don’t touch the game for half a year, but I’m happy that I can go back to it whenever I want to. Even if my town changes a little and some of my friends leave with just a note behind, I can always go back home.

I hope these tips give you some motivation if you are going through a rough patch with the game. And remember that bad times… are just times that are bad. 

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Tell me about your favorite Animal Crossing memory 🙂 I’d love to hear it!

This article has 2 comments

  1. ktn

    Found this from reddit! Recently I’ve felt obligated to keep playing so my villagers don’t leave, in fact one already left and I felt horrible. Her name was Ruby and she had a space theme house. It was so cool and she became a favorite of mine. Right now I own 7 cat villagers, and losing any one of the them would break my heart. I don’t know, something about letting go of them just pains me because in the past villagers that I don’t like would move in to replace them. This has helped me though, and I think I get why I should start playing for fun a lot more now. Thanks for posting this, I needed it!

    • Celeste

      I’m so glad it helps! I definitely understand how you feel. When Dora left me I almost stopped playing the game forever :(. But when I see it the way I see real life, I know that it’s for the best to let go of some people. Like when you change schools and miss your old friends… and the you find a new best friend in your new school! I found a new best friend in Fuchsia, so I’m glad I kept playing.

      Thanks for your comment, btw! I’m sure there are many cat villagers that would love to meet you some day :D.

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