There's already been a lot of ink spilled on Gamasutra about Animal Crossing: New Leaf for Nintendo's 3DS. We've run an interview with its producer, Katsuya Eguchi. Christian Nutt also wrote an in-depth editorial where he tried to capture exactly why he thinks it's such a well-designed game.
But we're back with another look at it because more perspectives on a game like this -- one that can stand up to the analysis -- are always useful. In this email conversation series, our UK editor Mike Rose and our news editor Kris Ligman join Christian Nutt for a wide-ranging discussion on the game. All three of have been playing New Leaf and each brings a different way of looking at the game, as you'll see.
From: Christian Nutt
To: Mike Rose, Kris Ligman
I really loved the original Animal Crossing for Gamecube, but even the fact that I played it a lot never remotely prepared me for the amount of time I've devoted to this game in the last month, nor how much I both like and respect it. You know how sometimes before the year is up it's just obvious to you what your game of the year is going to be? Well, for me, it's Animal Crossing, and I think very deservedly.
I'd be curious to know what your thoughts were going in and, now that you've spent some time with it, how they align with the reality of having played it.
From: Mike Rose
To: Kris Ligman, Christian Nutt
Okay, so get this -- I didn't like Animal Crossing on the Gamecube. At all. I remember picking it up following all the hype, and both myself and my brother playing together in the same village -- yet he was clearly getting way more out of it than me. I just didn't get it; I'd boot the game up, look for some fruit, smash some rocks, talk to some ridiculous animals (and usually suggest that they greet me with swear words), and then turn the game off, wondering what exactly I'd accomplished, and whether it was a huge waste of time.
So why did I pick up New Leaf, right? Well, it was all Twitter's fault -- I just kept seeing devs and journos gushing over the game with rambling enthusiasm, and I'm the sort of person who hates feeling like I'm missing out on something big, especially when it's to do with video games. For the first few days I regretted the purchase... but then something inside me twigged, and now I'm grabbing my Nintendo 3DS each morning, bombing around collecting everything possible, upgrading this and that, worrying about whether turnips prices will be kind before the end of the week... it's fair to say that I've caught the Animal Crossing bug (although I haven't handed it over to Blathers yet.)
I think the huge difference for me between this version and the Gamecube one is that it's handheld, such that I can immediately jump straight into it regardless of where I am or what I'm currently doing. With the original, I had to turn the Gamecube on, grab a controller, sit down, navigate menus, you know the drill. Here, it's a simple flip of the lid and I'm in. It does make me wonder whether I would have enjoyed the Nintendo DS version (which I dodged due to my hatred for the original game, as you'd expect).