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StriderHoang avatar 1:06 AM on 08.23.2013  (server time)
How to win at Animal Crossing: New Leaf

People who scoff at playing Animal Crossing or are intimidated by jumping into the series simply don't understand the intricacies that come with interacting with wild, untamed animals as they talk about macaroni and cheese or how they bought too many beds and how willing they are to give the extra to you. There's also the well known fact that Animal Crossing works in real-time so that when its 2pm where you are, it is 2pm in your imaginary town of animals unless of course you've set the time and date incorrectly in your 3DS, in which case, you monster. What makes you tick you sick freak?

Do you want to play Animal Crossing? Do you not know how to enjoy slow, village life much like a small, high class dessert that costs $8 but is only worth around four or five bites? I'm here with two months of animal life to guide you on the steady path to animal success. You may also recognize animal life as the G rated alternative to thug life so pick either or.

Pace yourself
Animal Crossing isn't a game to be enjoyed for several hours on a binge like Call of Duty or Civilization or Shadow the Hedgehog. It's a game meant to be played for a half hour to an hour each day as you incrementally build your town day by day, introducing new features, new villagers, and new buildings. When you first arrive, there will be five animal neighbors with barely a store and forest life. Over time, more neighbors move in (hopefully ones you like and not scary ones like Pietro or Katt), your stores expand and increase their stock, and interesting things appear in your town to make it visually interesting like a zen bell or a bonfire or a random pile of pipes.

Not to mention you can match the town's activity to match your own. It's hard to imagine a town not set to night owl so you can play in the wee hours of the night when you work a job but you can also set the town to beautiful mode so that villagers pitch in to remove weeds and water the flowers. That way, you don't have to worry about playing a little everyday as maintenance and upkeep is partially held up by your townies. Weeding? In my game? Screw that! Let that snooty rabbit on the edge of town take care of that noise!

Image from phuzzycomics

Set goals for yourself
Animal Crossing has all sorts of things you can do that take more than a day to complete. Expanding your house, building public works projects, designing rooms in your house. Animal Crossing doesn't have a set goal but it sure as hell has goals. You just have to make them yourself.

For example, I wanted to build The Roost cafe as soon as possible so I could snag that nice looking cafe uniform shirt. But I knew the cafe wasn't going to be immediately available. First I was going to have to bring in fossils to Blathers so I could encourage him to ask me to build the second floor of the museum. After having that second floor built and having it around for 14 days, Blathers would ask me to build the cafe. Then I'd be able to raise funds to build it. Then, once its built, I can work at the cafe several days and eventually the barista, Brewster, will reward me with the uniform I wear during work.

My girlfriend had a different goal in mind. She wanted every piece of fruit you could have and plant carefully planned orchards in her town to make it look as nice as possible. Having as big an orchard as possible so she could harvest a huge bunch of fruit and relish the money that comes from having so much colorful fruit.

I also aimed to collect all the bug furniture that comes from succeeding at the summer bug-off competition. AlphaDeus committed to the goal of turning all the fossil models into miniatures and displaying them in a personal museum gallery entitled, "What is this? A museum for ants?"

A goal could be as accessible as a few days to as complex as needing several weeks to reach. Reaching for your goal in addition to your daily routine is a big deal towards enjoying everyday in your town.

Establish a head canon
When all else fails to grab your attention, you can always create your own internal stories from the day to day interactions with your neighbors. The animals of Animal Crossing have some surprising dialog in store for you and you'd be surprised at the kind of things they'll say and what you can infer from reading between the lines unnecessarily.

For example, I have two koala's in my town, the lazy Ozzie and the uchi Canberra. I imagine they have a sibling relationship since Ozzie acts like a kid and Canberra asserts her maturity often. The two would often play together though Canberra needs to keep Ozzie out of trouble.

Lolly is a sweet cat who lives by herself near the train tracks. She's a university student, often times going to the museum to learn about natural history and biology while also going out to hunt for her own specimens to learn first hand. She'll also often ask me for help in catching rare, hard to find specimens like sharks and valuable beetles.

Hopper, my favorite, is a cranky old penguin who's been living in Harbor since it was first made. He's much nicer than he actually appears, simply lording his age and experience over the younger denizens of Harbor a bit too much and appearing stuffier than he actually is. He's my close confidant though and I love shooting the breeze with him on calm blue days while fishing the nearby river. We've exchanged quite a few interior design tips too, as we've visited each other's homes a lot.

As you can see, there's more to be invested with if you put your own story behind your villagers. My girlfriend loves two particular neighbors, Filbert the squirrel and Bill the duck. In fact, they're neighbors! And by coincidence after the fact, she put her police station (run by Booker) between them. In her head canon, Filbert and Bill are constantly vying for her attention. And Booker is awkwardly playing mediator between the two, despite having the assertiveness of a starving mouse.

Even after two months, my time in Animal Crossing is still relatively warm. Despite a few new games coming out, I'm still called back to check on my fruit, neighbors, and whoever is visiting town. Even though I've been playing forever, there's actually still a few new things to unlock, such as the final store renovation and a few golden tools, not to mention seasonal changes and holidays! So get out there and experience a new leaf!

All other images from danbooru (warning, potentially nsfw)

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