I spend a lot of time reading about and writing about video games. I read many many press releases every day. I run a small video gaming website devoted to Wii and Nintendo DS games. We're still a new site and still finding our voice. But every now and then I actually find some time to play a video game just for fun. Lately I've been consumed or rather every bit of my available free time (all 3 minutes of it daily) has been consumed by a new Nintendo game - Animal Crossing: City Folk.
Nintendo has released 3 Animal Crossing games. The first in the series was Animal Crossing for Nintendo GameCube, which was released in 2002. Next up was Animal Crossing: Wild World for Nintendo DS, released in 2005. The latest, Animal Crossing: City Folk was released on November 16, 2008. I did not play the GameCube version of the game, but still play the DS version daily if just to water my flowers. If you don't water the flowers they will die. The game allows you to breed hybrid plants. I have over 100 hybrid flower plants in my DS version of the game. I've played it for over 2 years and there is absolutely no way I am going to let my hybrids die. And, yes, I know it's a game.
Animal Crossing: City Folk is a terrific new addition to the Animal Crossing series. Some people have complained that it's too much like Wild World. I disagree. It's a lot like Wild World, but there are some fun new additions to the game. One of the best innovations is the addition of the Wii Speak microphone. I can play with friends all over the world and talk with them while playing. It beats stopping whatever you are doing in the game (for me usually fishing) to type to chat. Speaking is so much easier. There is also a Wii Speak channel that is independent of any games. You can send voice mails to your Wii friends and chat with them. A friend in England is picking up the Wii Speak microphone so we can chat.
Another change from prior games is the addition of a City to the game. There is a bus stop in my town so I can catch a bus to the City. The City has a number of interesting businesses to visit - the Auction House, Gracies Grace (high-end furniture and clothing), a theater where you can learn different emotions, Redd's (black market goods), Shampoodle (hairdresser), Katrina (Fortune Teller), and the Happy Room Academy (they rate the interior of your house). In addition there is a shoe shine and you can match your shoes to your clothes. I particularly love this addition. I can't stand the red shoes I'm stuck with in the DS version. Yes, I do know it's just a game.
My town is named Statia after the island of St. Eustatius in the Netherland Antilles. My character is named Qwill (such a surprise). I'm still in the process of planting trees and flowers to achieve perfect town status and get the golden watering can. After that I'll cut down all the excess trees that I had to plant to reach what the game considers perfection. I prefer to concentrate on breeding hybrid flowers!
Basically, you start off with a small one room house, catch fish and bugs to sell in order to raise money to pay off your mortgages as well as donate to your town fund, buy furniture, etc. You interact with your townsfolk, who are all animals. You buy goods at Nook's. The more you buy, the bigger Nook's becomes until you have a Nookington's. You can donate funds to your town to get 1) an additional bridge, 2) a town fountain, and 3) and lastly a windmill or a lighthouse. This barely scratches the surface of this game.
In winter, you can build snowmen and if you do a good job, the snowman will send you a present.
There are lots of holidays and celebrations throughout the year in Animal Crossing: City Folk. The seasons change. You do various things to earn Bells (the unit of currency) so that you can have a bigger house and buy furniture and clothing. It's a lot like real life even though it's just a game. Perhaps that's why I like it so much. Of course, unlike real life I can simply turn it off!
Qwill's Qwestion: What's your favorite game for any game system or the PC?
[The photos I've included were taken in the game while I was playing. That's another nice feature, snap the photo and save it to an SD card. Not supplied with the Wii, but it's easy enough to get one and put in the slot in the Wii.]