Never really thought of myself as a roamer or a drifter, but when I think about it, I’ve moved to three different towns since 2002, so maybe I am. I wanted to give you all a virtual tour of the new town I just moved in to, but I’d better explain how I got there, and where I’ve been before.
Anyway, in 2002 I moved away and set out on my own. I’m not exactly sure how I got there, but I managed to reach a quaint little town that I quickly called PacTown. I’m not sure if it was always called that, but the denizens of PacTown were certainly eager to adopt that name permanently. As a big Pac-Man fan, I wanted to name my town after my favorite video game character, but I certainly couldn’t name it Pac Land. That place already exists! The strange thing about this town I moved into was the inhabitants were all talking animals! I think most people would’ve freaked out at that. But in my experience, after rolling up the world in a ball, dancing with a pink-haired space lady, and shooting turtle shells at go-karts, a town full of talking animals didn’t faze me much.
Shortly after arriving, I started to worry. I came to this place with next to no money, and no house to live in. Luckily I met a local business critter named Tom Nook who supplied me with a house and a part time job at his store for a while until I could get on my feet. Now, I’ve heard plenty of stories about Tom over the years, about how he is a shrewd and evil raccoon with ties to the Mafia and hated by everyone. Well, all I have to say is that Tom Nook is very misunderstood and I don’t think he’s that bad at all. First off, he’s not even a raccoon. He’s an animal called a tanuki, which is a dog-like creature, similar looking to a raccoon, who lives in Japan. These animals are featured in many Japanese myths as magical forest spirits who can turn things into leaves, which is why furniture that Tom Nook sells appears as leaves when you carry them around.
And sure, Tom Nook does keep you in debt for a long time with house expansions, but he never bothers you about paying off your debt. You can do it on your own time, whenever you feel like it, which reflects the nature of the Animal Crossing world.
My neighbors in this town were all pretty crazy and persnickety animals, and even though some had a few personality quirks, I got along well enough with them all. I became fast friends with a frog named Prince soon after arriving. Now, in real life, I got the GameCube Animal Crossing game shortly before my birthday, and that year was a particularly rough one in my life, so my upcoming birthday was rather anti-climatic and a bit depressing. But on the day of my birthday in PacTown, Prince the frog came right up to my door and gave me one of the best birthday presents I got that year (sadly enough). It was the full NES version of Donkey Kong, which did cheer me up a bit.
Which leads me to the main reason why PacTown was my favorite Animal Crossing town I moved into (and why the original GameCube game is my all-time favorite GC title) is it’s because you could get fully playable NES games! In fact, I had every single NES game in my house. This was before Nintendo realized they could make more money by selling the NES games separately on GBA and Virtual Console, which is why you can’t get NES games on the other Animal Crossing games. But that was my favorite part of the first game, and getting them all became my main goal.
By arranging all the NES games in my house and decorating the room with Mario themed furniture I got from special promotional codes off of Nintendo’s Web site at the time, I ‘built’ PacTown’s first arcade. Now, I know the animals didn’t REALLY go into my house and play NES games, but it’s kind of fun to think they did when I was away.
Not only did I have my own arcade in PacTown, but I was a contributing member of the community in other ways, too. The animals even built a gold statue of me because I paid off my debts to Nook so fast. And when little brother Jeff and even my own mom moved into PacTown, I helped pay off their debts, too. I contributed to the economy and helped Tom Nook expand his store to the highest level as well.
I also contributed to the arts and history of PacTown. When I moved in, there was an empty museum run by a smart yet talkative owl named Blathers. He would soon become my favorite character in the Animal Crossing series (I want a plush toy of him). Anyway, for the museum’s aquarium I caught ALL the fish. I donated ALL the artwork to the gallery. And I dug up ALL the fossils for the dinosaur exhibit. Little brother Jeff made a funny comment the other day that the area where these Animal Crossing towns are must’ve been a dinosaur war zone in the distant past since you could find so many different kinds of dinosaur fossils all in one place! Anyway, digging for fossils became one of my favorite pastimes in PacTown and the other towns I moved into later. My only regret is that I was not able to collect all the bugs in PacTown for the insect exhibit at the museum. I could never catch the elusive bee and that one fast moving dragonfly!
I lived life to the fullest in PacTown. I used a device called a Link Cable to visit a rabbit friend on Pac Isle, and a Kappa water imp named Kapp’n rowed the boat to get us there. Kapp’n was a strange seafaring guy who had an odd fascination with cucumbers. I also used the e-Reader to get more furniture and things for my house (I’m probably the only one who actually LIKED the e-Reader). And I had a pretty big collection of the Animal Crossing trading cards. Needless to say, I was really into the GameCube Animal Crossing game!
I visited my animal friends in PacTown for a full year (which is a pretty long time to play a game, really). I did stop coming around as often after that since after a year, you’ve pretty much seen and done all there is to do in the game. So in 2005, I figured it was time to move on, so I packed my bags and moved to a similar looking place that I dubbed PacTown2 (I wanted to name it New PacTown, but the animals declared that name too long).
PacTown2 was just a short taxi ride away. To my surprise, the driver was none other than Kapp’n! It was a rainy, gloomy day when I moved into PacTown2, but I ran into a familiar face once I got there. Seems as though Tom Nook also set up shop in the new town, and he did his same old song and dance to get me started up in the new town. Actually many of the residents of the old PacTown must’ve moved here in PacTown2 as well. Even Tortimer, the turtle mayor of PacTown (not sure how he gets elected mayor every time, but no matter, as he’s just a useless figurehead anyway).
Not only were many of the inhabitants in PacTown2 the same, but most of the town itself was very similar. A few things were streamlined here and there. The town hall now housed the recycling center and the post office, for instance. I couldn’t open up a new arcade in PacTown2 (no NES games), but I did have a museum of sorts with special Mario themed furniture from Nintendo and Toys R Us promotions, as well as other Nintendo themed items like a Triforce and Arwing (never did get a Metroid, though, really wanted one, too).
Luckily for my favorite owl, Blathers, I contributed to the PacTown2 museum fairly well, too. I dug up all the fossils, but didn’t quite make it to catch all the fish, insects, or artwork like in the first town. Turns out that Blathers has a little sister who likes astronomy, and with her help I named a few constellations like Pac-Man. Another new addition to the museum was a coffee shop run by a pigeon named Brewster. The coffee shop in the museum was a big supporter of live music, so now K.K. Slider had a place to play on Saturday nights instead of outside at the train station.
Now, in PacTown, if I ever wanted to visit another town, I’d have to take a train. And the person’s town I’d have to visit would need to be very local, like right next to me (you had the other person’s town on a memory card in the second slot of the GameCube). But thanks to new technology and wireless Internet, all it took for me to leave town, or have visitors to my own town, was just a gate. Guarded by the police officer dogs from my first town, Copper and Booker stood at attention at all hours waiting for me to open or close the gate. I had so much fun visiting other people’s towns and inviting people to my own town. Even though it was a bit cumbersome, with the friend codes on the DS and all. But thanks to all you great people out there who made the online experience of PacTown2 great (you know who you are). It almost made up for not having any NES games!
I stayed in PacTown2 a long time, almost a year. Not quite as long as my stay in PacTown, but the activities and scenery and events in both towns were so similar that the experience just didn’t seem quite as fresh the second time around.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I got that urge to move again. And I literally moved from the DS town to the Wii town as you can take most of your inventory and character with you! So I took a bus this time. Seems as though Kapp’n is driving buses now. I’d see more of him later. Anyway, as soon as I arrived in PacTown3 (hey, I’m on a roll here), I felt right at home. All the animal regulars were back. Tom Nook had me a house and a temp job ready when I arrived, and the town hall, gate, clothing store, etc. all seemed a little too familiar. Hardly anything had changed. Little brother Jeff set up a house of his own, too (the DS town was more of a solo effort on my part).
The big new thing about PacTown3 is it was a short bus ride to a city. Kapp’n the bus driver kappa always takes me there. He’s a little creepy, so I’m glad that bus ride is short. All the animals call it a city, but I’m sorry, that’s not a city. It’s a strip mall. They should’ve called it Animal Crossing: Strip Mall Folk. The ‘city’ basically houses all the folks who would visit your town from time to time to sell their wares. Katrina tells you a useless fortune. Change your hairstyle or give yourself a Mii makeover at the Shampoodle salon. Dr. Shrunk teaches you emotion animations at the comedy club. Buy fancy clothes and furniture sets at a WAY overpriced Gracie’s department store. Lyle, the shifty otter who tried to sell me insurance in PacTown2, is now running the Happy Room Academy office. Crazy Redd is back, too, with a secretive store behind the alley (thanks to Bud the lion for the invitation). The only new things are the auction house (I’ve got a mush dresser currently on display if anyone wants to bid on it). And there’s a skunk named Kicks who will shine your shoes and make them change color (big whoop). So I can’t say I’m very impressed with the ‘city’ near PacTown3.
Just like in PacTown2, there’s a gate in PacTown3 where visitors can come and I can tromp out to see other towns. I’ve visited with a few people already and I hope to see more people’s towns. Here’s my info for anyone interested:
Only problem with visiting other people’s towns and vice versa is 75 percent of the time, Nintendo’s WFC kicks me off because it’s so crappy. I don’t think it’s a problem with MY wireless connection, because my computer and Xbox Live never kick me off. So when I visit your town and keep my visit brief and short, it’s not out of rudeness, it’s just so I can get back to my town to save my progress. And if you ever visit my town, you’re welcome to stay as long as you like, but I’d appreciate a short visit as well, so we can both save our progress. You wouldn’t want to lose all the cool stuff I’d give you in my town, right? By the way, the Wii microphone works great here.
Who knows how long I’ll visit PacTown3 every day? Certainly long enough to visit some of my friends towns again, that’s for sure. Even though I’m not very impressed with Animal Crossing: City Folk, as it’s too much like the DS Wild World game with minimal improvements, it’s still a great game, especially if you’ve never played the others. My favorite is still the GameCube version, though, and it sits right up with my other top five favorite games of all time, which includes Pac-Man, Super Mario Kart, Final Fantasy 6, and the PSOne Namco Museums.
Animal Crossing games are highly recommended for kids and families, too. The games are practically non-violent, and even encourage acceptable behaviors like helping others and giving to a community. It’s almost educational, too, as the fish and fossils you donate to the museum are followed up with facts from Blathers the owl. I’ve heard lots of touching stories about how kids who played Animal Crossing were inspired to write letters to relatives, clean their rooms, collect and learn about bugs, and start a garden. All from doing those activities in the game. I only hope that in the next Animal Crossing game, Nintendo does some serious improvements and additions. In the comments section, do be sure and share your AC codes if you have ‘em! Thanks! –Cary