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StriderHoang avatar 12:17 AM on 07.02.2013  (server time)
The dark story beneath Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is regularly known for its sugary sweet, laid back atmosphere. Neighbors are squirrels or ducks who are typically generous and give you free stuff just because you're cool. But there is a dark undercurrent hidden beneath the surface. You can truly play Animal Crossing in any fashion you want and that includes creating some dark themes for your visitors.

In Animal Crossing New Leaf, you cannot visit random villages. You can visit your friend's towns, which is great because you wouldn't want a random tourist to run around in your town and ruin all your hard work. At least when your friends come over, you know where they live in most cases and you can bring physical punishment upon them. There is however an option to visit towns anonymously without having to worry about inflicting permanent damage on it: the Dream Suite. Once this public works project is built, you can upload dream data of your town (earning 5,000 bells as reward) which allows other mayors with a Dream Suite to browse a catalog of dream towns to visit with impunity. They are dreams after all, so your real towns aren't affected.

Now for most mayors (lazy), you'll be sharing your own town and how you flavored it, like where you put your campsite or your cafe. For really hardworking mayors though, it is their chance to show off some really unique, themed towns. And this is where we come to the infamous Aika village. Aika village has a level of infamy on social media for being a truly awe-inspiring, horror themed town. I first saw pictures of it but did not know it was Aika village. It was until my friend, Mayor Steffu, shared a picture of her visiting Aika village and showing the mysterious grave that can be found on the far end of Aika village. Most mayors who know about it agree that it is a defining town that makes the Dream Suite relevant. Especially since it's been out in Japan and Asia in general for much longer than the West, longtime owners have had plenty of time to design truly interesting villages like Aika village.

When you wake up in Aika village, you're greeted by a surreal landscape; almost as if you're not fully awake for the dream yet, as well as a lone gift that gives you a chilling premonition of how this town will turn out. A single doll for your inventory, alongside several water maiden statues breaking up the monotony. Immediately in front of you is a house, which of course in this strange world, beckons you to enter. The music that plays during dreams helps immerse you into the creepy world as well, not to mention the mayor suddenly appearing as you walk around.

The first house shows a serene moment in time. A small family celebrating something with a little girl wearing Aika's outfit enjoying the attention and happiness of what is probably a fleeting moment in time. K.K. Hypno is also playing in the background and it's Aika village that makes most mayors who know the legend of Aika village fearful of receiving this particular song from K.K. Slider when he plays Saturday night.

But move over to the cliff overlooking an unconnected beach and you'll see an eerie grave which taunts you with its inaccessibility.

As you progress through the rows upon rows of perfect peaches and roses, you'll soon come upon several bushes and holes that corral you into a specific path unless you can work to dig up the pitfalls and bushes that contain you. A lone fortune cookie also tempts you and if you pick it up, you'll find a reference to Majora's Mask which only fills you with more dread on top of the quickly deteriorating village, eerie music, and sense of dread that something chilling is coming your way.

After forcing my way off the beaten path to reach the police station, I was greeted by Copper who's lost and found was filled with beehives. Truly a perplexing story point. Even more perplexing is a graveyard nearby filled with copies of the doghouse furniture piece. Is there anything connection to Copper's presence nearby?

The next house takes the story beats of the homes to a quick nose dive as you enter a pitch black room filled with stools and exit signs. Things are only weirder in the adjacent rooms with a doll party with food and artistic statues depicting the fall of Adam and Eve. At this point, while not directly creepy, it is slightly unnerving to see all this instead of some happy-go-lucky town filled with bright, colorful themes.

The next portion is what cements Aika village's image as the premiere scary town of the Dream Suite. Weeds pop up, trees are dead, and worst of all, the next house is a very deliberate shanty house. And inside you're quickly greeted by a doll with an ax in front of it. In my interpretation, things have gone horribly wrong with Aika, and she murdered her family in a fit of insanity. If you can maneuver the bookcases, you'll find a dilapidated piano room, a room filled with torn out pages, a murder scene, and worst of all, a scene right out of Poltergeist with the doll sitting in front of the television.

I must add that every time I exit a building and I see Aika right next to me, it is genuinely startling.

The last house at the end of the town is like the first in terms of set up, but shows the aftermath of the grisly murder. The floor is littered with trash, it's a mess everywhere, and the former room with all the paintings have the parents scribbled out, as if it was pre-meditated murder. And the final room to check out appears to have contained the evil that is Aika and the doll.

It's worth noting that somewhere in Aika village is a wetsuit that can be worn in order to reach the lone grave on the stranded beach. And what does one find if they dig it out? Well, what else but a creepy skeleton!

The Dream Suite is a great diversion. It's nice to be able to visit your friend's towns while they're not on but it's also cool to check out all the stuff we missed while Japanese players had their grubby mitts on the game with their a head start. Even if you're not sure of the Dream Address to travel to, you're sure to find some interesting towns and homes if you browse according to region and check out the Asian countries. If you want to personally explore Aika village, punch in 2600-0218-7298 and get ready for a bracing story that'll chill you to the bone.

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