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LTTP: Animal Crossing - Am I missing something here?

AHA-Lambda

Member
Jul 19, 2011
23,084
2
0
I just got this today, and I'm sure I'm going against the grain on this one. I heard everyone talking about this game and just got a 3DS, didn't know too much about the game tbh beyond the premise, seemed neat enough, maybe not my thing but willing to try it out. I've just started it but to be honest, so far it seems kinda pointless? And by damned doing the best job it can to get me not to play it =/

In the first game day I go through all of the introductory stuff and after a certain point I am just locked out and was just told to come back tomorrow and I had basically nothing to do. I talked to people, they didn't say anything of substance. I was wondering what was going on?

I just changed the 3DS clock and went back in to get on with it, time to be mayor. Nope, you need to get a house, cool no problem. 10000 bells please. Oh ok. How do I do that? Go grinding for peaches and fishing Tom Nook says. Ah... can I do anything else in the mean time? No.

Ok...


So does this game get any "better" from what may be one of the worst first impressions I've seen, or am I best trading this in for another game for my 3DS?

Lock if this should be moved to community or something.
 

AHA-Lambda

Member
Jul 19, 2011
23,084
2
0
play some more? those seem like pretty early impressions. the game grows on you

that said, its definetly not for everyone

I fucking love it, though.
oh yeah, it's very early, I got bored/annoyed after grinding for bells and went back to pokemon instead.
 

UberTag

Member
Feb 17, 2011
37,332
0
650
Kitchener, ON
If you're approaching Animal Crossing like you would most other games, you're doing it wrong.

The game is intended to be played in slices at a time (an hour or two) over the course of weeks and months (due to all of the seasonal content it has tucked away).

And, in order to get the best bang for your buck, you need to get invested in the AC player community. Compare your houses and how they're furnished. Visit other towns and have them visit yours. Buy turnips on Sundays. Get working on completing your museum. Build relationships with your villagers.

In a lot of ways, AC is a big collect-a-thon title that unveils itself over time. You're not going to see the heart of the game's content until several weeks after you've started it unless you resort to chicanery with your 3DS game clock.
 

BorkBork

The Legend of BorkBork: BorkBorkity Borking
Oct 11, 2004
16,868
1
0
If you have to ask, it's not for you.

I say this in a non-condescending way, because it's a question I have asked myself as well.
 

King_Richard

Member
Aug 19, 2013
379
2
340
Canada
The game has LOTS of terrible design choices (I haven't played since September so I can't name them right now other than how clunky the inventory is), but they're fun games to aimlessly play.
 

Heimbeck

Banned
Aug 4, 2013
1,681
0
0
If you asked me what was good about the game I couldn't tell you, in fact there are a ;pt of little problems with the game.
But for some reason I keep coming back it's strangely addictive and relaxing as well.
 

Chezzymann

Member
Feb 18, 2013
15,470
5
490
I've played for 300 hours and im not sure why.

I guess you have to approach it the same way people approach Minecraft or Terraria.
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
Yeah, if you don't feel engaged now, I don't think you will be in the long run. The game does open up a little more with more player agency after you've finished paying off some of your debts, but that's what you'd be doing here. It's truly an acquired taste. I went in thinking I'd hate it because it isn't my sort of game, but alas, I'm still playing it for some reason. I still don't think it's my sort of game, but there are a lot of little things I like about it.

I'd written a decent amount with respect to why I do respect the game design in Animal Crossing New Leaf a while ago. But going by some of your expectations, I don't think the ideas are going to jive well with your playstyle.

I'll just post some stuff here in any case.

Dark Schala said:
I was telling [another GAF poster] about how good the myriad of design decisions in Animal Crossing: New Leaf are. There are a ton of Little Things that make the entire experience very good. I think I wrote about this briefly on my tweeter once, but I think touched on it more in-depth with qq and I'm surprised he didn't bring some of my arguments up when he was debating with you since he knows my stance on it already.

However, I legitimately think a decision to make the game the way it is and not P2P is an excellent and admirable design decision. This has everything to do with competent design decisions, and it's up to the player to play however he or she wants, whether by playing naturally or by manipulating time (which you aren't encouraged to do by any means because there are small penalties for doing so, which I think are quite clever).

Of course, one of the goals in the game is to essentially collect everything: catch all of the bugs, catch all of the fish, get all of the fossils, fill out your store catalogue, deep-dive, etc. But you as a player merely make that decision. You don't actually have to do a single thing. You can play the game at your own pace and at your own leisure. And the game never really penalizes you for that. I've logged months into that game, for example, and I still haven't done everything with respect to collecting things because I just don't care as much unless I'm close to filling a catalogue. The game doesn't penalize me for doing that at all. I don't have to accrue money, or this game's example of EXP. Shit, I don't really have to do anything because I'm not on a time-limit in-game to complete everything like I would be in an Atelier game, for example.

What I like a lot about the game is that it feels like it's designed very much like an RPG, but you aren't necessarily forced to do everything the game asks of you. It's more "open world" of sorts, with the main objectives being: achieve a perfect town and/or pay off your house debt. The game doesn't necessarily care if you don't even do that. I don't feel like going to the island and accruing bugs half the time every time I play it, so I don't choose to do it. Game doesn't penalize me by adding interest to my house debt, so I still get the house expansion without paying the debt (even though I'd have to before expanding again), so I respect the game for at least respecting my time as a player by its design. The game doesn't really care if I don't really maintain my town and go for a perfect town status, so you can concentrate on other things. It allows the player to allocate their playtime accordingly without pushing the player to meet stringent and time-based objectives in the grand scheme of things.

Although there are time-based objectives in terms of doing quests for NPCs, buying shit at stores before they close, etc. they aren't entirely as significant as you'd think because the game doesn't necessarily force you to do chores for neighbours or buy stuff at shops before they close for the day.

I think the game would be essentially ruined if it became F2P. Animal Crossing New Leaf's design philosophy seems to be telling the player to consider the mantra "take your time". No one's going anywhere (unless you don't tell your neighbours to just "not move out" and even then you don't have to do much with 'em), the town itself isn't going anywhere, and you don't have really any time constraints to deal with unless you're going bug/fish hunting (and even if you did, they're available for a long enough time for you to keep trying to get them).

Of course, ACNL's design philosophy runs absolutely counter to current game design philosophy, which is to do everything quickly, try to finish games fast enough because games should be short and players should move on quickly. There is little semblance of replayability because you need to finish the story, not think too much about how the game is designed, and adhere to the game's constraints instead of making your own decisions as to how you should play the game outside of main game missions. ACNL's focus is also counter to the idea of monetization in video games of its type. However, making the game free-to-play simply goes against the overall design philosophy of the game. Much like Farmville or any other simulation game that requires the player to maintain their games, ACNL has progress roadblocks (ie: your debt for your house, funds for public works projects, etc).

But if you paid real money to reset the Timmy and Tommy inventory instead of waiting per day, resetting the fossils in-town, for Katrina or Redd to come to your town, for another money rock to appear in your town, and for certain clothing items to instantly meet that Gracie Fashion Check, you've essentially won your game without doing much of anything and will instantly drop the game when you've already paid for everything. The design intent of the game is for the player to play through the game for perhaps even an annum if they so choose because there are small changes throughout the year. If you make your round throughout the town, catch stuff, etc. but don't find anything new, your time isn't necessarily wasted because you can sell your products for EXP gain. You're improving and gaining EXP a little bit each day (with the island acting as your "power-levelling" spot), so you're not exactly losing any sort of benefit if you didn't find anything new in-game.

If you're absolutely, positively impatient while playing the game and speedily try to do everything, the game provides you with this wonderful absolutely subtle negative feedback. Run on the grass, and you fuck up your grass. Run around and you scare away fish and bugs if you want to catch them for EXP. Trying to even time travel and doing it often will either make Resetti appear and berate you if you have him in your town, ruins your turnips that you could use to barter and profit from, and even perhaps, if you do play online multiplayer, brand you as a "time traveler" and thus everyone you play with online may learn that you do cheat at the game (so in turn, there is a slight social negative feedback attribute if the player actually cares). If you even press buttons while Kappn's singing his song, he'll berate you for doing that, too. Little things like that just make me like the design aspects of the game even more.

Even the positive feedback is nice. The obvious signs are getting HHA rewards and badges, but even the little things like using emotional expressions with some NPCs to see how they'd react (like there's one character who reacts joyfully if you give any hint of being sad like crying or shock) can be just as rewarding as accruing EXP.

Trying to play ACNL and thinking about it as a game of instantly gratifying the player as opposed to a slower and elegantly-designed process does not allow for the player to benefit from some of the social features like perhaps online trading and online play (which is where the bulk of my enjoyment with the game came from). If you paid to refresh the fossils or stores or whatever in your town, you wouldn't feel the need to possibly exchange with other players or go to other towns because lol, you paid for it anyway, so why even bother playing with other people to exchange anything with them? I've had people just outright give me furniture because since they put it their catalogue, they felt to pass it on to me to put it in my catalogue (thus minimizing my need to send EXP in the direction of clothing or housing items and putting my EXP into more important things). If I needed to complete a set of furniture, I have friends who just go out of their way to search their catalogues, find the missing piece of furniture that I don't have, and just give it to me. Heck, even when I started, I was pretty late to the party and my buddies gave me a bunch of stuff to even start with. That sense of camaraderie would not be fostered and grown in this game if it were F2P. I would expect the community to be even more selfish if that were the case.

ACNL's way of design isn't toxic like the likes of Farmville, because in comparison to Farmville, which is designed to make you spend money as you can't maintain your crops 24/7, you aren't forced to keep an eye on everything you do. I imagine that someone like Coldman, who left his town unattended for months, came back to miraculously find his town still alive and the player not as majorly penalized to the point of not playing it again (you may have to pull a few weeds, people probably moved in, but that's not much of a hassle to fix). You're not fucking running out of class to go check on the computer to see how your crops are doing or hogging places in public spaces to say, "fuck I need to water my crops or else they'll die" or something. I've seen my peers do that when Farmville was in its heyday, so that's why I do respect ACNL for at least respecting my time as a player and absolutely not making me do that shit.

If you did pay for item refreshes or new furniture, you would never have that anticipation of catching new fish or bugs to see if it will be a new addition in your catalogue, making the fishing/bug catching contests even more null-and-void than they already are, making streetpass/online MP interactions insignificant because you can buy whatever you want anyway, going into stores and seeing what the inventory is like, getting new K.K. Slider songs, or even what kind of joke you'd get from the comedian dude. It would ruin the steady growth of the game, and you wouldn't come back to experience the game itself. I'd almost liken it to pruning a bonsai plant. Slow and steady while taking your time will give you greater satisfaction than if you went through the game speedily with less satisfaction if you already paid for all the shit you would've bought anyway. Part of MP is opening your gates to people who want to buy stuff from your stores, doing online sidequests, getting non-native fruit, or going to sell turnips in another person's town. The MP is essentially the best gateway to accruing EXP fast outside of the island since the community can actually be pretty decent. I'd almost liken the idea of going F2P with the game to the level packs they have out for Tales these days (ie: pay us $4 to increase your levels by 5!).

In the end, ACNL is actually a remarkably-designed game. That's why I don't think it's garbage. You aren't forced to do anything, but at the same time, the game is so elegantly-designed where you are penalized when you hastily do something, or you are rewarded when you take the time to look for the little things. Paying $40 for a very beefy game that does respect my time as a player is much better than $1.99 per item or item refresh, because you will likely spend more than that $40+tx.

ACNL is one of the most popular games on my school campus, it looks like. Tons of people have played it. I get a new streetpass house every day, and it's stuff like that that has encouraged me to take my 3DS around more often. Not Mii Plaza games, but for the streetpasses for this game and Pokemon that will benefit me in the long run. The social aspects of this game are so good and well-designed. It's one of the most succinctly-designed games I've played in maybe 5 years. With that said, the game isn't without shortcomings. The inventory space is cramped, the MP could use some work because we do get forced offline for no reason (and I never was in other games before), and the UI could be so much better. Regardless, the overall design of the game is very interesting to me.
Again, this whole sort of "take your time" type of design may not jive very well with you, but that's the way I generally view it. Approaching ACNL like other games is probably not the ideal way to approach it.
 

The Boat

Member
Sep 22, 2010
9,854
1
615
If you're approaching Animal Crossing like you would most other games, you're doing it wrong.

The game is intended to be played in slices at a time (an hour or two) over the course of weeks and months (due to all of the seasonal content it has tucked away).

And, in order to get the best bang for your buck, you need to get invested in the AC player community. Compare your houses and how they're furnished. Visit other towns and have them visit yours. Buy turnips on Sundays. Get working on completing your museum. Build relationships with your villagers.

In a lot of ways, AC is a big collect-a-thon title that unveils itself over time. You're not going to see the heart of the game's content until several weeks after you've started it unless you resort to chicanery with your 3DS game clock.
Yap. It's a relaxing, charming experience you're supposed to take in small doses for a long time. Of course, it might not be for you.
 

oneida

Cock Strain, Lifetime Warranty
Mar 3, 2012
16,038
5
0
Huge red flag that you're approaching this game from the wrong angle. ACNL is video games as escapism, plain and simple. Like that Endless Ocean game on the Wii. There are dozens of obligations everyday that you can fulfill or ignore, but if you try to play Animal Crossing like it's a game you "win" you won't enjoy it at all.

Stop changing your 3DS' clock. Don't worry about paying off your loan (immediately). Put the game down and play it tomorrow. Plant some trees, donate a fish to the museum, and write a letter to a villager. If you want to get into this series, you gotta relax a bit.

435 hours into ACNL btw.
 

Lumpy Onion

Member
Dec 11, 2008
10,608
0
0
OH SHIT! You just reminded me that my town will be a weed and cockroach infested mess next time I play. It's been a while.
 

AHA-Lambda

Member
Jul 19, 2011
23,084
2
0
Right I see, I may give it a bit more time and see how it goes then. But yeah, I guess this may not be my kind of thing.

Might just trade it in towards NSMB2 or Luigi's Mansion or something.
 

Immaculate

Banned
Mar 10, 2013
6,118
1
0
United States
My play time has slowed down tremendously. it just started to lose its appeal(didn't compete in some events or thanksgiving)

the thing thats really putting me down from playing is the inventory system

my mailbox is full, the place where I go store mail and items is full so shit is basically scattered all over place along with stuff still coming in everday

ugh i hate it so much
 

The Boat

Member
Sep 22, 2010
9,854
1
615
Yeah, if you don't feel engaged now, I don't think you will be in the long run. The game does open up a little more with more player agency after you've finished paying off some of your debts, but that's what you'd be doing here. It's truly an acquired taste. I went in thinking I'd hate it because it isn't my sort of game, but alas, I'm still playing it for some reason. I still don't think it's my sort of game, but there are a lot of little things I like about it.

I'd written a decent amount with respect to why I do respect the game design in Animal Crossing New Leaf a while ago. But going by some of your expectations, I don't think the ideas are going to jive well with your playstyle.

I'll just post some stuff here in any case.



Again, this whole sort of "take your time" type of design may not jive very well with you, but that's the way I generally view it. Approaching ACNL like other games is probably not the ideal way to approach it.
Fantastic post you had there.
 

Dark Schala

Eloquent Princess
Mar 2, 2010
20,614
0
0
The Land of Bagged Milk
^Danke. I'm still surprised that I liked the game so much. It wasn't really my thing at all before.
Right I see, I may give it a bit more time and see how it goes then. But yeah, I guess this may not be my kind of thing.

Might just trade it in towards NSMB2 or Luigi's Mansion or something.
Give it a little more time, but if it isn't for you, then it isn't for you. Again, acquired taste.

For the record, Luigi's Mansion 2 is very good and very fun. There's one hump in the middle of the game by way of the Old Clockworks which seems to be a turning point for some, but in general, the mansion design is kind of nice. Music and sound design is great to me. Multiplayer is also very fun with different modes to try out. I'd written a little bit about Luigi's Mansion 2 here, if you're interested (though those Dream Team impressions are a little outdated given that I do think the endgame is too lengthy and slightly repetitive, and those were written as I was halfway through the game).
 

Crunch2600

Neo Member
Dec 29, 2010
224
0
0
If you get into it, it's a game best experienced a little each day. It does sort of mature as more and more things unlock, but it certainly does meter your consumption of the game. You gotta be in the mood for it though.
 

balohna

Member
May 5, 2006
3,830
0
0
British Columbia, Canada
You can't really marathon it and have a good time, especially early on. You just go in and do your stuff for the day then come back tomorrow.

Time travelling is doing it wrong. Plus it opens the more you play. Once you've gotten going you can easily sink several hours in if you're into it. There's lots of stuff to do and the dialog is often hilarious.
 

Derrick01

Banned
May 9, 2011
34,663
0
0
No, it's not even a game really. There's nothing but chores to do and it's really limited as far as the AI goes as you could probably expect. If you want sim games there are far better ones on PC and even on the 3DS like Harvest Moon.
 

Pseudo_Sam

Survives without air, food, or water
Oct 24, 2007
1,950
0
0
If you expected it to be like any other game then yes, you dun fucked up. It's meant to be played a bit each day - in fact, it often withholds content day-to-day. Changing the clock on the system to "get farther" is missing the point entirely and ruins the experience. It's a virtual zen garden, not a high-score machine.
 

Anustart

Member
Jan 1, 2012
8,906
66
625
Ozark, Missouri.
www.twitch.tv
The game isn't for everyone.

Personally I wouldn't mind if they put some actual stuff to do in the game, and by that I mean some arcade games to play, replacing the island "games" with something more involved etc.

As it stands, once you've decorated your house there's practically nothing to do.
 

Derrick01

Banned
May 9, 2011
34,663
0
0
Animal Crossing on the Gamecube had NES games you could play.

That's the only reason I played it. The series just doesn't appeal to me.
Yeah those at least gave some kind of reason to play it, back before the VC existed on Nintendo hardware.
 

NeoGash

Member
Sep 30, 2013
1,202
0
0
Australia
I think it is perhaps the most pointless game of all time. I'm not saying it is bad, but it is definitely not for me. Have it on Wii and DS I believe. Someone in my family was obsessed with trying to get 999,999,999 (maybe it was six 9's) bells or whatever on the DS...legitimately. F'ing crazy, as you could just cheat it I think (though perhaps only with a TTDS).
 

oneida

Cock Strain, Lifetime Warranty
Mar 3, 2012
16,038
5
0
The game isn't for everyone.

Personally I wouldn't mind if they put some actual stuff to do in the game, and by that I mean some arcade games to play, replacing the island "games" with something more involved etc.

As it stands, once you've decorated your house there's practically nothing to do.
The island is terrible, it completely broke the game's economy to the point where I don't go there at all. It also takes far too long to get there, and the game pretty much crashes if something goes wrong with multiplayer on the island. I'm all for Nintendo trying out different things for the series, and maybe next iteration we'll see a more refined version of the island (just like NL gave us a more refined version of the City from ACCF).

Regarding "stuff to do", I find the current amount substantial. I'm already ignoring most of the game when I do my daily check-ins.
 

oneida

Cock Strain, Lifetime Warranty
Mar 3, 2012
16,038
5
0
You did thanksgiving? Gathering ingredients took forever so I just stopped and actually went to enjoy my real thanksgiving haha
In the morning before I went to my gf's thanksgiving, yeah. I only got two dishes done before I had to go, but I thought it was really fun.
 

acheron_xl

Member
Apr 2, 2011
8,345
0
0
Wisconsin, USA
twitter.com
It's one of the only games that makes me, a grown-ass man with a heart of ice, guilty for not playing it. It manages to accomplish the kind of sympathy with it's characters that other, more serious games could only dream of. I feel a genuine, earned affinity for the villagers because of the time spent around them.
 

Stoze

Member
Feb 20, 2013
4,204
0
415
Give it another chance, but honestly it sounds like the game just isn't for you. And at times, it isn't for me either, but I managed to plug in over 100 hours on it.

They do restrict the things you can do daily, but eventually the things you want to do aren't restricted that much (farming bells on island, customizing tiles and your town, etc.). Either way, the game is designed to be played for only a few hours a day, every day. It's like a less extreme version of Seaman with its real-time mechanics.

There's two things that hooked me into the series, and it's the unique, relaxed atmosphere of the games and the feeling of ownership you have with everything. Also, collecting. If you don't like collecting shit, there won't be nearly as much for you to do.
 

MercuryLS

Banned
Apr 21, 2007
13,379
1
0
The real-time clock thing is annoying. I play games at night, everything is closed at night. Fuck.
 

The Boat

Member
Sep 22, 2010
9,854
1
615
The island is terrible, it completely broke the game's economy to the point where I don't go there at all. It also takes far too long to get there, and the game pretty much crashes if something goes wrong with multiplayer on the island. I'm all for Nintendo trying out different things for the series, and maybe next iteration we'll see a more refined version of the island (just like NL gave us a more refined version of the City from ACCF).

Regarding "stuff to do", I find the current amount substantial. I'm already ignoring most of the game when I do my daily check-ins.
That's the beauty of the game. If you don't want to go there, don't. I rarely do, which is why I never had a lot of money. The island, as it is, is basically a way of allowing people to make money faster if they want to speed things up.
 

oneida

Cock Strain, Lifetime Warranty
Mar 3, 2012
16,038
5
0
Oh also I think that the Dream Suite or whatever it's called was a neat idea for implementing asynchronous multiplayer, but I never use it because I can't actually do anything in someone's town. It was cool in the first week to see those super elaborate Japanese horror towns, but it got old super fast.
 

Lotto

Member
Feb 13, 2012
3,214
2
0
Earth
I remember someone around here saying that it's probably the most "hardcore casual game you'll ever play" and I tend to agree. It's very goal oriented without actually forcing you what goal to go after. You make them up on your own accord and hopefully the enjoyment follows. I know I was obsessed with it for the first few months it was out but now I've been preoccupied with other games. I haven't done everything the game has to offer but I consider the time spent with it well worth it (plus since the game works on a real-time clock, there's always something new for at least a whole calendar year, there's probably a winter holiday event coming up soon that I'll most likely jump into for a bit).
 

Davey Cakes

Member
Dec 5, 2008
14,448
466
1,015
Quincy, Massachusetts
It's not the kind of game everyone can enjoy.

To be honest I had a bunch of fun with New Leaf for a while but, like with all Animal Crossing games, I got a bit burnt out.

After building several public works projects (so that people would finally say my town is amazing) and after building my house up a bit, I got tired of the routine. The only way to make the substantial amount of money needed for projects was to go to the island and it's not like every time has a high yield (though if you get lucky you'll return with 150K-200K bells).

The townspeople don't donate shit so as mayor you're not only running the town but you're doing pretty much all your own fundraising.

The biggest problem with me as a player is that I don't do multiplayer. So there's a giant layer to the game that I don't experience, including trading items and furniture, visiting others, etc. A lot of people are passionate about that stuff but it's not really why I play AC.

And then when it comes to having a house, getting points from the house rating committee requires a ton of diligence and proper combinations of things. Problem is, I build and decorate my house to impress myself, not others.

I had fun donating to the museum, for a while. Nearly every fossil collected. Over 50% of fish and bugs collected, etc. I was getting badges for my work. It was nice.

I got my value out of the game in terms if play hours. That said, I know I could do a lot more but I'm not in the mood anymore. Not a knock against the game though, it's still really great in its own right. But, to enjoy it at all requires a certain kind of player, and enjoying it over the long term does the same.
 

one_kill

Member
Jul 11, 2009
5,856
0
0
I think most people approach their first AC game expecting they have lots of things to do right off the bat. It's not unreasonable, but I think it's the wrong perspective to have. AC games conditions players to take their time and enjoy mundane activities that somehow end up becoming addictive.

After a while, it becomes a chore to play. But I only say that after spending 250+ hours.

So keep at it OP. Maybe you'll start enjoying it once you start seeing your town developing, your encyclopedia filling up, and events appearing.