Have you ever played a game and thought, "This is great…buuuuut I think I know how to make it better"? Well me too. In fact, I do this a lot. I even already did a blog like this about Dragon Quest Builders. Since that blog seemed to get some decent positive feedback I though I’d do another, and maybe more. But for now, I’m tackling Animal Crossing. Animal Crossing is a great series, for sure. I played a lot of the Gamecube original in elementary school. And a lot of Wild World in middle/high school. And then not so much of New Leaf. Don’t get me wrong, New Leaf is great. But, I reached a point where I don’t have as much free time as I did as a child. The game was too time consuming. So I'm proposing a few changes that, in my opinion, would remedy that as well as just improve the experience all around. So let’s get started with:
Get it? Because it's a casual game.
When I was young I played Animal Crossing everyday without any real issues. After all, I had a lot of free time. But as I got older, and got a job, and more responsibilities, my free time shrank a lot. I had trouble playing Animal Crossing since it cut out most of my free time making it hard to read, write, watch movies and shows, or even playother video games. Animal Crossing became a chore, not a game. You have to play everyday if you want to keep your town lovely and your villagers happy. It's too much of a commitment for me these days. So I propose a mode that makes it so you don't have to play everyday. Maybe extend fish and insect seasons (by no more than a week or so), make events that only happen late at night or real early in the morning happen at more convenient times. You know, for those of us that can't justify waking up at 5 am to play a game. Kind of like how the Fire Emblem series has a mode for casual players and the hardcore, permadeath enjoying players. It would make folks like me with less free time not have to "commit" to the game and be able to enjoy it, without taking away the game that others like so much.
I couldn't find a complimentary picture to go with this topic. (shrug)
One of the things that bothered me about Animal Crossing: New Leaf was how there was so much stuff you could build in your town, but so little space. However, I'm sure some people like the town size as is, so I propose a solution. The ability to expand your town. This would of course, cost a lot of Bells and there should be a limited number of times one can expand with several ways to do it, meaning you have to choose where to expand carefully. Build onto the mountains? Perhaps claim a nearby island? Or, you know, just another grassy area? It would be great especially so you could make one of these areas a dedicated orchard, or playground, you know, whatever.
Choose a Villager:
Art by crayon-chewer from DeviantArt
If you're like me, then you restart Animal Crossing a lot when you first start out. Not to get a good town layout - well not JUST to get a good town layout - but also to get a favorite villager in your new town. My solution to this is simple. When Rover (or Kapp'n) is asking you questions at the very start, one of those questions should be, "Do you know anyone in (whatever you name your town)?" Then you get a chance to type in a villager's name (cough) Mitzi (cough). Perhaps if you misspell the name, but are close, Rover/Kapp'n takes a "guess" as to who you were referring. This would guarantee you start with at least one villager you like. And yeah, I suggest you only be able to choose one. Part of the fun of Animal Crossing is its random nature, so you can't have too much control. Another thing, said villager should be less likely to move, being a "old friend" and all that. Which reminds me.
Again, couldn't find a complimentary picture. This time I went with weird.
So I used to play a GBA game called Urbz: Sims in the City. Much like AC part of the game was talking to people and getting them to like you. One of the things I liked about Urbz though, was that there was a menu that showed your relationship with these characters so you knew which characters you were starting to lose friendship points with. Being able to see a meter that shows how close you are to losing a villager instead of hoping they'll tell you they are considering moving would be super helpful. Also it would stop me from needlessly spending lots of time talking to villagers who I don't even need to. Again this is all about making the game easier to manage and less time consuming. But it's also about making the game more fun as you won't have to deal with losing the villagers you like, or at least, you'll be less likely to.
Star Fox Cameos:
Imagine seeing these guys around town. And giving them ugly shirts.
With the introduction of the amiibo compatibility for New Leaf players gained the ability to have Wolf Link, Pig Ganon, and Epona move into their towns. Which is awesome, although a bit annoying to be locked behind amiibo. However, I do have another issue with it. THE HELL IS FOX McCLOUD?! Seriously, we get an anthropomorphic Wolf Link and Epona, but not the already anthropomorphic Star Fox characters. I want to live next to Fox, get some coffee with Wolf, smack Slippy with a net and drop him in a pitfall. Now granted, maybe this would be too much, as my town would probably only have Star Fox characters, but I still want it. Maybe they could just swing by once in a while. I mean, they fly around space. Maybe they crash land in your village a la Gulliver? Whatever the case, I want to see the Star Fox team in Animal Crossing.
Give Villagers Jobs:
Since New Leaf made you the mayor, I think it's only fair that the other villagers get jobs, the lazy louts. Being able to hire villagers to do things for you, like pulling weeds or watering flowers in exchange for paying them a small weekly salary would be great and free up a lot of playtime for more fun activities. So long as you pay on time, and give them praise for their jobs (as long as they're doing it) the villagers would do their job well. Plus employing villagers should increase the likelihood that they'll not move. After all, why move from a place where you have friends AND a paying job? But really, allowing the player to shift some minor responsibilities in exchange for some minor Bells would be really great and would make the game feel less like a chore, and more like fun.
For such a popular series, finding photos for these topics is hard.
We all know how it feels to have a character you don’t want move in. You spend a part of each day bugging them, hoping they’ll leave. Hitting them with your net, pushing them into pitfalls, purposefully ignoring them. We all devolve into bullies. And that’s not fun. It’s all not always effective. I swear I tried to get rid of one villager super hardcore and he stayed just to spite me. Hell when he said he was leaving I told him to leave and he went, “Ha, funny joke. Guess I’m staying.” SCREW YOU PIG! Ahem, anyway, I propose the following. As mayor you should be informed of anyone who wants to move in. You get to see a small profile about them and then get to choose whether you want them or not. This would eliminate the need to bully unwanted villagers out of town and help you get your ideal villagers. And for those who don’t want this, make it optional.
The Return of Classic Games:
Easiest pic to find of this whole thing.
One of the coolest parts of the original Animal Crossing was the ability to play classic NES games. With the advent of the Virtual Console that idea is long gone. Which upset pretty much every Animal Crossing fan. Now look, I know this will never come back. At least not in the capacity it existed before. But, I have a compromise. Make them demos. First 2-3 levels or so, to get you interested. Just enough to wet your whistle. It’s not ideal, but it would be cool. Also make one NES and make the games catridges. Treat it like the stereos. You get the game, load it onto the NES, and then you can select them from a list. Also add SNES, GB, GBA, and DS games. And Virtual Boy.
Well those are my ideas for how to improve future Animal Crossing titles. Some of them are a little odd, but I do believe that all of them would improve the game. At the very least for people like me, who would love to get back in the series, but don't have the spare time to commit to it everyday. Tell me what you think of my ideas in the comments. If you have some ideas of your own, share them in the comments. We all have ideas on how to improve the games we love, and I'd love to hear yours. Until next time, remember, just because it isn’t broken doesn’t mean you can’t fix it.