Mechanically Beautiful: The Animal Crossing Series


“Animal Crossing” is, most likely, the cutest game you will ever play. Each game is centered around a human villager that moves into a town full of animals. While there is no main objective and no way to beat each game, it still provides for many hours of fun and mindless amusement.

Each installment of “Animal Crossing” has the same basic concept. You start the game by moving into a house or tent given to you by Tom Nook, a raccoon. You learn the basics of the game by gradually paying off the mortgage to your new house. Like “Minecraft”, you don’t start with any tools. You need to collect things, like shells from the beach, to sell at the local mart. You gradually collect enough Bells (the currency of “Animal Crossing”) to buy tools such as shovels, fishing rods, and butterfly nets. Eventually, by selling enough fossils, bugs, and other such items, you can pay off your mortgage. You don’t have to purely pay off your mortgage, though; each game is fairly easygoing and allows you to get to know your neighbors while you earn some Bells.

Tom Nook and Villager. Source:

After you’ve paid off your mortgage, what you do in the game is completely up to you, since there are no objectives and the game goes on forever. I play “Animal Crossing: New Leaf”, the first installment of the series that has the player be not only a villager, but the mayor of whatever town you go to. Each installment offers numerous possibilities for how you can spend your time. You could focus on the vast possibilities of customization and buy series of furniture for your home to give it that perfect theme. You could create outfits for every day of the week. Some people try to collect everything there is to collect. I’m one fossil away from completing my fossil collection at my town’s museum. You can also collect bugs, fish, and paintings for the museum. A big feature in each “Animal Crossing” game is the utilization of the respective console’s in-game clock and calendar. This causes various changes throughout the game. Certain bugs and fish can only be caught in specific times of day and seasons. The weather of the game changes accordingly with the seasons as well. There are also various activities that change depending on the season, such as making snowmen in the wintertime. While all of this might not seem too exciting, it’s certainly a fun time for some mindless enjoyment and cute entertainment.

There aren’t many games that I’ve played that I can say are cute, but the “Animal Crossing” series definitely fits. There are hundreds of potential neighbors for you to interact with throughout the game, so it’s unlikely that you will have the same neighbor twice. You start in your town with a couple of neighbors that you gradually bond with. New neighbors move in over time, as well as when current neighbors eventually move out. Each animal has a distinct home and personality, although I’ve noticed some personalities that seem very similar. These unique personalities make each animal more fun to bond with and learn about. My favorite villager that I’ve had (who still lives in my town, actually) is Bud, a lion. Bud’s personality is very eccentric and centered around working out. He always says something hilarious about lifting weights every time I talk to him. It’s always fun to talk to each animal in the town or inside a house. You start to become friends with them even though they aren’t real.

Bud. Source:

This game has done a great job of getting to me emotionally. It’s amazing how much I find myself caring about these animals that aren’t actually real. Because the game is based off of real time, events in the game continue to happen even when you aren’t playing. So if you don’t play for a week or two, some animals may move away without you being able to convince them to stay. That’s happened to me a few times, and it’s really saddened me. You can also make plans with the animals for later times in the day. If you forget to come back to the game for those plans, which I often do, the animals will still abide to those plans. If you get back on an hour or two later, they will be angry at you for not showing up. I always feel so bad whenever I forget an appointment with these digital friends. This game doesn’t always leave you feeling guilt-ridden, however. There are so many times that I’ve laughed at villagers that my day will immediately be better. I can always turn on this game whenever I’m sad to see the happy, adorable, smiling animals in my town. That might make me sound weird and lonely, but it’s true. Almost every animal is adorable in their own right. One example is Deena, a duck who recently moved into my town. She is so small and adorable that I can’t help but smile every time I see her. I’m amazed at how well this game plays on humans’ emotions.

In terms of graphics, this game has its own unique art style that I love. While “Animal Crossing: New Leaf” is the newest and therefore has the best graphics, I still love the style of each game in the series that I’ve played. The style is very smooth and colorful, making it seem like it came out of a children’s book. The furniture, clothing, and even the insects all have unique styles that I love. The in-game clock and calendar also adds to the effects of the graphics. If you play later in the day, the game’s sky is stunning. The wispy colors of a sunset make me feel so happy and nostalgic. The stars and night sky are also stunning, with stars that look like colorful jewels. There are some occasions where there are even shooting stars or meteor showers, reminding me even more of the real-world sky. The trees and ground also change with the weather as they would in real life. While this game might not have the most superb graphics of a video game, they certainly help add to the game’s mood and themes.


Everything about the “Animal Crossing” franchise helps contribute to each game as a whole. The music is great, each piece being something that I would add to my own iPod. The animals and interactions with them add to the game’s adorableness and whimsical nature. Each piece of furniture or clothing you buy helps add to the customization from the game that helps the game feel more personal and connected to the player. Whenever you catch a bug or fish, there is a pun/joke for each one. That just adds to the mindless fun that this game has to offer. Whether or not you enjoy this game (or think that Tom Nook is some sort of evil tyrant), it’s still an adorable game that will give you a smile whenever you need one.