The Animal Crossing Movement: Why Now is the Best Time to Own New Leaf

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If you’ve been keeping tabs on my E3 exploits, you must know that my trip there and back was a hellish one.  I missed flights, got stuck on the runway for over an hour, and was seated right next to a bathroom for my longest flight.  That chemical toilet odor still haunts me…

One thing helped keep me sane: Animal Crossing: New Leaf.  Being able to lose myself in a world filled with worry-free critters where money (literally) grows on trees was the best escape I could have asked for.  Even at my most trying moments, I could defuse all that anxiety or frustration with a quick walk through town.  Sure enough, I’d find a small errand to run or a fossil to have appraised.  That bit of meaning would be enough to make me take a deep breath and realize everything was gonna be OK.

When I landed in LA and finally hopped on Twitter I was amazed to see how many people were Tweeting images from their game.  Nintendo may be old-fashioned in a lot of ways, but their decision to launch social media-based image sharing alongside the release of Animal Crossing: New Leaf was a wise one.  Social media was a part of what made the game virtually impossible to find in Japan after the first week.  Netizens took to Twitter sharing QR codes and screenshots and naturally spectators wanted in, creating huge demand.

Omg same shirt. You bitch.

I can understand why.  Being a part of the craze at it’s peak makes the game enjoyable on a whole other level.  Seeing what’s happening in other player’s games is like a glimpse into the future.  More than one of my Twitter friends has been biten by a tarantula — one of the few harmful bugs in the game.  I’ve yet to come across one, but seeing that there are all these copies of the game out there randomly triggering little events — it’s pretty incredible.

Not only is it fun to talk with others about our individual experiences, but it’s even possible to play together online by simply swapping friend codes and converging in towns.  Play is a strong word actually… maybe “hang out” is better?  Once you visit someone or let them come to your town there are no clearly defined goals: just have a shared Animal Crossing experience.  Going to the island opens up the possibility of more direct means of what you might consider “playing”, but it’s still very laid back.

The other day, while taking a boat ride with Sarah, I  noticed that that we both couldn’t help but smile.  Animal Crossing is just that kinda game — you won’t ever catch a glimpse of your face twisted into a focused scowl (that happens to me when I play Monster Hunter…).  Now, that same sentiment is being shared and spread online by tons of other players.  It’s an amazing feeling, and I love being a part of it.  So if you’re on the fence about this game, just know that now is probably the best time to own it.

P.S. If I managed to convince you, please consider snagging one of our newly launched Animal Crossing themed tote bags over at Culty!

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