Nostalgic News: Animal Crossing was released 15 years ago today

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Animal Crossing might not have a villain or any real objective, but this charming GameCube release kicked off one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises. The original Animal Crossing was released 15 years ago today on 15th September 2002.

Stressed? It’s never been easier to escape to a rural getaway. Animal Crossing is basically just a life-simulator, but it’s a life where the most stressful thing is winning a fishing competition. Although your landlord Tom Nook asks for vast sums for your mortgage, Mr. Nook doesn’t seem to mind if you spend the majority of your cash on various pieces of unnecessary furniture instead. It’s completely directionless, but you’ll quickly find yourself cancelling real-life plans because Alice the Koala invited you to dinner.

It works using the GameCube’s internal clock so there are in-game benefits for playing consistently. For example, if you’re looking for a specific piece of furniture, you’ll have to check in the shop every day. There are even special bonuses for playing on Halloween or New Year’s Eve. If you’re not playing 24/7, you’re probably missing out on some exclusive event. It is possible to time travel by tampering with the console’s settings, but Mr. Resetti will give you a firm talking to for daring to cheat.

Although Animal Crossing released in the U.S in 2002, a game named Animal Forest actually made its debut in Japan in early 2001. Animal Forest is nearly identical to its similarly named counterpart released in America and Europe. This does mean that Animal Crossing didn’t technically debut in 2002, but I mention it because it shows the ridiculous amount of time dedicated to localising the game. Nearly every line of dialogue spoken by the villagers was rewritten and a majority of the items were either renamed or completely redesigned.

Even though the GameCube original is considered a classic, the franchise has appeared on practically every Nintendo console since. It’s only continued to grow in popularity, the Nintendo DS version selling over 11.75 million copies since its 2005 release. If you’re looking to rediscover the series today, Nintendo have recently revealed that Animal Crossing will be coming to iOS and Android later this year.

Remind yourself of this timeless classic by checking out gameplay below: 

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Culture Editor, Pokémon Master, Time Lord and occasional History student. Just don't ask me anything about music.

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