Game

The history of Animal Crossing: How the series evolved from an N64 oddity to a Nintendo Switch system seller

Few companies can turn failure into success like Nintendo. Whether it’s a Wii U game that shook at launch but suddenly became a must-play on the Switch, or whether the ridiculed DS’ suburban estate changed almost overnight, it’s become one of the most successful handhelds ever to touch the Midas. Very realistic. Even in its darkest hours, Nintendo has proven that it can come back better than ever, and the Animal Crossing story begins with what in retrospect should be considered one of the biggest mistakes in the company’s history.

Whether through stubbornness, legal mines, reliance on existing expertise or anything else entirely, the N64 was the only console that didn’t ride the CD wave. However, as the benefits of this new medium began to appear, and as close partners began offering their games on a platform that could scale their horizons and mass-produce products for less, Nintendo reluctantly reached out to custom buttons. Well, something like that.

The Japanese-only 64DD disk addon for N64 is so messed up that it deserves further discussion. Announced before the N64 was released, this add-on provided support for a magnetic disk solution that could only provide 10% of a CD’s capacity. The promise of disk capacity and cartridge loading times over an Internet connection was ahead of its time in vision, but when it arrived in December 1999, it was far behind execution and the 64DD only released nine tracks. But even more interesting is the list of planned games that ended elsewhere as a result of this disastrous failure.

animal Forest

Series like Dragon Quest and Resident Evil have brought their next game to new consoles, and most ambitious projects requiring hybrid technology have been put on hold immediately, while many large first-party titles like Zelda, Donkey Kong and Paper Mario have been reduced to pure ones. Kart-only game for the N64. You might see a Dobutsu No Mori title on your list of games that eventually reached the N64 and you might think little of it, but it’s actually a pretty big deal. A quirky and unique village life you might know as Animal Crossing, a simulation that was later updated and improved and re-released as Animal Crossing in the next generation.

One of the 64DD’s flagship features builds on the concept of Dobutsu No Mori as a system-level real-time clock. In order to ship games as cartridges, Nintendo had to build a clock chip in the cart itself to facilitate direct correlation of games between real time and in-game time. It was released at the end of the life of the N64 in April 2001, just a few months before the GameCube was released. Despite the game’s appealing aesthetic and unique premise, it was quickly buried in the hype for a more technically impressive game, but Nintendo didn’t want the animals to escape so easily.

Instead, they decided to port Dobutsu No Mori to the GameCube to give the game a second chance. The clock and calendar built into Nintendo’s new consoles opened up a lot more possibilities, and their graphically simplistic nature made the moves less demanding than other technically demanding games, allowing Nintendo to offer an improved version to Japan’s GameCube. . at the end of the same year. However, the villagers were not yet ready for foreign visits. The game, about entertaining hundreds of unique characters in unique scenarios, was a significant project for the localization team, and as a result, nine months later, in September 2002, the American version was released. The PAL release came completely two years later, and finally appeared in September 2004.

Finding fun in hard work

animal Forest

animal Forest

Why is it not a problem? Now is it okay for these woodland creatures to intentionally slow down one part of the game that could be seen as real and real game progression? There are two answers. First of all, it’s about making the game fun, not the everyday chit-chat. It’s not designed to play for hours on end, but you can best enjoy each piece for a much longer time. Regular events and holidays encourage repeat visits, even if you don’t plan to play otherwise, and the easy daily check-in to keep up with the town’s news is satisfying in its own way. Harvesting, work, and just seeing your home and surroundings at different times of the day can foster a bond with the second life you choose for yourself and those around you.

That’s the second reason slow progression isn’t a problem. It makes the connections you make and the bonds you make with other villagers feel more special, important and real. Check in with your furry friends every day and they will grow meaningfully around you. They will embrace your mannerisms and fashions, write letters, offer gifts, and even express your concerns if your face is not in the city for several days. The more you play, the more you become a part of the village, and when you return to the game after a while, you can become a bitter pill when you receive a letter from the villager that they have moved. But you will make new friends. They are always there forever.

Interlink

Animal Crossing eReader

Animal Crossing: Wild World

retro gamer

turn over new leaves

animal crossing bird leaf

finding new horizons

animal crossing

(Image courtesy of Nintendo)

Still, Tom Nook’s most daring plans are reserved for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which comes to Nintendo Switch in 2020. Tricky Tom has sold you a tour package to an uninhabited island paradise and awaits you and a few other scammers and vacationers to develop a new settlement from scratch, starting with a few tents that you and a few other scammers and vacationers hastily set up. Since the island doesn’t have basic infrastructure, you’ll have to explore the island to gather raw materials, a fairly important part of the crafting system that allows you to craft new tools and furniture.

There’s a pretty relaxed hippie community vibe to this whole arrangement until you remember that certain raccoon got a ready-made vacation resort from the whole deal. New Horizons gives you unprecedented freedom to develop your community, as you can choose where the animals build their new home and redesign the island itself with the new magic shovel fans have been dreaming of for years.

Since Dobutsu no Mori debuted on April 14, 2001, the series has come a long way. Twenty years later, Animal Crossing has surpassed even Nintendo’s wildest expectations. New Horizons is Europe’s fastest-selling Nintendo game and one of the best-selling games in the company’s history. Animal Crossing: New Horizons is reported to have sold 31.18 million copies in 2020 alone, making it the second best-selling Switch game to date.

It’s pretty surprising that Animal Crossing can compete if it’s the complete opposite of Nintendo’s top franchise. While many Nintendo titles are built around pure and glorious gameplay, Animal Crossing offers very little of what is traditionally considered a designation. Still, the unique nature of being a quiet and engaging year-round console game makes Animal Crossing a game we’ll never be able to play. Partly because we’re constantly in debt to the ruthless capitalist raccoon, but also because it’s a great game to sit back and enjoy when you want to isolate the outside world for an hour or two.


This feature was first published in Retro Gamer magazine issue 205. If you want to see more cool features like the one you just read Retro Gamer Subscription Deliver magazines to your door or digital device.


Animal Crossing: New Horizons Tips | Animal Crossing: New Horizon Fish Instructions | Animal Crossing: New Horizons Bugs Instructions | Animal Crossing: New Horizons amiibo Support Description | animal forest sanrio amiibo cards and items | Animal Crossing: New Horizons Flowers Instructions | Animal Crossing: New Horizons Sea Creatures Instructions | How to Increase Your Island Rank in Animal Crossing: New Horizons | Animal Crossing Upcoming: New Horizons Event | Animal Crossing: New Horizons Turnips | KK Slider’s Secret Song Animal Forest | Animal Crossing: New Horizons Golden Tool | Animal Crossing: Secrets of New Horizons


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The history of Animal Crossing: How the series evolved from an N64 oddity to a Nintendo Switch system seller

Few companies can turn failure into a success story quite like Nintendo. Whether it’s the Wii U games that tanked on release but are suddenly must-have games on Switch, or turning the fortunes of the laughed-out-of-town DS around almost overnight and growing it into one of the most successful handhelds ever, the Midas touch is very real. Even in its darkest hours, Nintendo has proven itself capable of coming back better than ever, and the history of Animal Crossing begins with what, in hindsight, has to be seen as one of the greatest misplays in the company’s history. 
Whether through stubbornness, legal landmines, reliance on existing expertise or something else entirely, the N64 was the only console of its generation that wasn’t riding the CD wave. But as the benefits of this new medium came to light and close partners started taking their games to platforms where they could both expand their horizons and mass-produce products for less, Nintendo reluctantly reached for the ‘conform’ button. Well, sort of. 
So botched was the Japan-only 64DD disc add-on for the N64 that it warrants further discussion. The add-on was announced before the N64 itself even shipped, and offered support for a magnetic disk solution that could only offer 10% of the capacity of a CD. The promise of cartridge load times with disc capacities and internet connectivity was ahead of its time in terms of vision, but by the time of its arrival in December 1999 it was decidedly behind it in execution, and the 64DD ended up with just nine released titles. However, it’s the list of planned games that ended up elsewhere as a result of this abject failure that proves far more interesting. 

Series like Dragon Quest and Resident Evil took their next games to new consoles, most of the more ambitious projects that required the hybrid tech were cancelled outright, while many huge first-party titles like Zelda, Donkey Kong and Paper Mario were scaled back to work as pure cart-only games for N64. You might see the title Dobutsu No Mori among the list of such games that eventually made their way to N64 and think little of it, but it’s actually a pretty big deal – that’s what you might know as Animal Forest, the quirky and unique village life simulation that would later be upgraded, improved, and re-released the following generation as Animal Crossing. 
One of the flagship features of the 64DD was to have a system-level real-time clock, which the very concept of Dobutsu No Mori was built around. In order to ship the game on cartridge, Nintendo needed to include a clock chip in the cart itself to facilitate the game’s direct correlation between real-world time and in-game time – a more complex and costly process that caused the game to release right at the tail end of the N64’s life in April 2001, just a few months before the launch of the GameCube. Despite the game’s charming aesthetic and unique premise, it was swiftly buried under hype for more technically impressive games, but Nintendo wasn’t going to let the animals escape quite so readily. 
Instead, the decision was made to port Dobutsu No Mori across to the GameCube in order to give the game a second chance. The on-board clock and calendar of Nintendo’s new console opened up even more possibilities and its graphically simple nature made moving home less demanding that it might have been for other more technically challenging games, allowing Nintendo to get the enhanced version onto GameCube in Japan by the end of that same year. The villagers weren’t quite ready for an overseas visit just yet, however – unsurprisingly, a game about conversing with hundreds of unique characters in unique scenarios is quite the project for a localisation team, causing the US version to land nine months later in September 2002. The PAL release didn’t come until a full two years after that, finally showing up in September 2004. 
Finding the fun in busywork

Why is this not a problem? Well, is it fine for these woodland critters to intentionally slow down the one part of the game that can be seen as making genuine, tangible gameplay progress? Well, the answer is twofold. First off, the day-to-day rigmarole isn’t a grind – it’s what’s fun about the game. It’s not something designed to be played for hours at a time, rather an experience best enjoyed piecemeal over a much longer time frame. Regular events and holidays promote return visits even when you might not otherwise have planned to play, while the simple act of checking in daily to see what’s new in the village is satisfying in its own way – there are always new things to dig up, catch, harvest and work for, and even just seeing your home and its surroundings at different times of day and during different seasons helps you develop an attachment to this second life you’ve chosen for yourself, as well as with those who surround you. 
That’s the second reason why slow progress isn’t an issue: it makes the connections you make and the bonds you develop with the other villagers feel more special, more important, more real. Check in daily with your furry friends and they’ll meaningfully grow around you, adopting your mannerisms and fashion, writing you letters, offering you gifts and even expressing concern when you don’t show your face in town for a few days. The more you play, the more you become part of the town, and coming back to the game after a little time away to a letter from a villager telling you that they’ve moved away can be a bitter pill to swallow. But there’ll be new friends to make. There always are, forever. 
Get connected

Turning over a New Leaf

Looking to New Horizons

(Image credit: Nintendo)
Still, Tom Nook’s most audacious scheme was reserved for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which launched on Nintendo Switch in 2020. Tricky Tom has sold you a travel package to a deserted island paradise, and expects you and a couple of fellow scam vict– erm, holidaymakers, to develop a new settlement from scratch, beginning with nothing more than some hastily erected tents. Thanks to the island’s lack of basic infrastructure, it has you exploring the island to gather raw materials – a pretty crucial part of the crafting system, which allows you to build new tools and furniture. 
There’s a rather agreeable hippy commune vibe to this whole arrangement, until you remember that a certain raccoon is getting a ready-made holiday resort out of the whole deal. New Horizons offers an unprecedented freedom to develop your community, as you can choose where animals set up their new homes and even reshape the island itself with the new magic shovel, a feature fans have dreamed of for years.
The series has been on quite the journey, since Dobutsu no Mori made its debut on April 14, 2001. 20 years later, Animal Crossing has surely surpassed even Nintendo’s wildest expectations. New Horizons is the fast-selling Nintendo game in Europe and one of the company’s best-selling games of all time. It’s reported that Animal Crossing: New Horizons shifted 31.18 million copies in 2020 alone, making it the second highest-selling Switch game so far. 
It’s quite remarkable that Animal Crossing is up there with Nintendo’s top franchises despite being their polar opposite – so many Nintendo titles are built on pure, glorious gameplay, while Animal Crossing features very little of what would traditionally be described as such. Regardless, its unique nature as a sedate and charming console game that can be played all year round makes Animal Crossing something we’ll never stop playing. Mainly because we’re perpetually in debt to a ruthless capitalist raccoon, but also because they’re wonderful games to kick back and enjoy when you just want to turn off the outside world for an hour or two.
This feature first ran in issue 205 of Retro Gamer magazine. For more fantastic features like the one you just finished reading, subscribe to Retro Gamer to get the magazine delivered to your door or digital device. 
Animal Crossing: New Horizons tips | Animal Crossing: New Horizons fish guide | Animal Crossing: New Horizons bugs guide | Animal Crossing: New Horizons amiibo support explained | Animal Crossing Sanrio amiibo cards and items | Animal Crossing: New Horizons flowers guide | Animal Crossing: New Horizons sea creatures guide | How to improve your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island rating | Upcoming Animal Crossing: New Horizons events | Animal Crossing: New Horizons turnips | KK Slider secret songs in Animal Crossing | Animal Crossing: New Horizons golden tools | Animal Crossing: New Horizons secrets

#history #Animal #Crossing #series #evolved #N64 #oddity #Nintendo #Switch #system #seller

The history of Animal Crossing: How the series evolved from an N64 oddity to a Nintendo Switch system seller

Few companies can turn failure into a success story quite like Nintendo. Whether it’s the Wii U games that tanked on release but are suddenly must-have games on Switch, or turning the fortunes of the laughed-out-of-town DS around almost overnight and growing it into one of the most successful handhelds ever, the Midas touch is very real. Even in its darkest hours, Nintendo has proven itself capable of coming back better than ever, and the history of Animal Crossing begins with what, in hindsight, has to be seen as one of the greatest misplays in the company’s history. 
Whether through stubbornness, legal landmines, reliance on existing expertise or something else entirely, the N64 was the only console of its generation that wasn’t riding the CD wave. But as the benefits of this new medium came to light and close partners started taking their games to platforms where they could both expand their horizons and mass-produce products for less, Nintendo reluctantly reached for the ‘conform’ button. Well, sort of. 
So botched was the Japan-only 64DD disc add-on for the N64 that it warrants further discussion. The add-on was announced before the N64 itself even shipped, and offered support for a magnetic disk solution that could only offer 10% of the capacity of a CD. The promise of cartridge load times with disc capacities and internet connectivity was ahead of its time in terms of vision, but by the time of its arrival in December 1999 it was decidedly behind it in execution, and the 64DD ended up with just nine released titles. However, it’s the list of planned games that ended up elsewhere as a result of this abject failure that proves far more interesting. 

Series like Dragon Quest and Resident Evil took their next games to new consoles, most of the more ambitious projects that required the hybrid tech were cancelled outright, while many huge first-party titles like Zelda, Donkey Kong and Paper Mario were scaled back to work as pure cart-only games for N64. You might see the title Dobutsu No Mori among the list of such games that eventually made their way to N64 and think little of it, but it’s actually a pretty big deal – that’s what you might know as Animal Forest, the quirky and unique village life simulation that would later be upgraded, improved, and re-released the following generation as Animal Crossing. 
One of the flagship features of the 64DD was to have a system-level real-time clock, which the very concept of Dobutsu No Mori was built around. In order to ship the game on cartridge, Nintendo needed to include a clock chip in the cart itself to facilitate the game’s direct correlation between real-world time and in-game time – a more complex and costly process that caused the game to release right at the tail end of the N64’s life in April 2001, just a few months before the launch of the GameCube. Despite the game’s charming aesthetic and unique premise, it was swiftly buried under hype for more technically impressive games, but Nintendo wasn’t going to let the animals escape quite so readily. 
Instead, the decision was made to port Dobutsu No Mori across to the GameCube in order to give the game a second chance. The on-board clock and calendar of Nintendo’s new console opened up even more possibilities and its graphically simple nature made moving home less demanding that it might have been for other more technically challenging games, allowing Nintendo to get the enhanced version onto GameCube in Japan by the end of that same year. The villagers weren’t quite ready for an overseas visit just yet, however – unsurprisingly, a game about conversing with hundreds of unique characters in unique scenarios is quite the project for a localisation team, causing the US version to land nine months later in September 2002. The PAL release didn’t come until a full two years after that, finally showing up in September 2004. 
Finding the fun in busywork

Why is this not a problem? Well, is it fine for these woodland critters to intentionally slow down the one part of the game that can be seen as making genuine, tangible gameplay progress? Well, the answer is twofold. First off, the day-to-day rigmarole isn’t a grind – it’s what’s fun about the game. It’s not something designed to be played for hours at a time, rather an experience best enjoyed piecemeal over a much longer time frame. Regular events and holidays promote return visits even when you might not otherwise have planned to play, while the simple act of checking in daily to see what’s new in the village is satisfying in its own way – there are always new things to dig up, catch, harvest and work for, and even just seeing your home and its surroundings at different times of day and during different seasons helps you develop an attachment to this second life you’ve chosen for yourself, as well as with those who surround you. 
That’s the second reason why slow progress isn’t an issue: it makes the connections you make and the bonds you develop with the other villagers feel more special, more important, more real. Check in daily with your furry friends and they’ll meaningfully grow around you, adopting your mannerisms and fashion, writing you letters, offering you gifts and even expressing concern when you don’t show your face in town for a few days. The more you play, the more you become part of the town, and coming back to the game after a little time away to a letter from a villager telling you that they’ve moved away can be a bitter pill to swallow. But there’ll be new friends to make. There always are, forever. 
Get connected

Turning over a New Leaf

Looking to New Horizons

(Image credit: Nintendo)
Still, Tom Nook’s most audacious scheme was reserved for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which launched on Nintendo Switch in 2020. Tricky Tom has sold you a travel package to a deserted island paradise, and expects you and a couple of fellow scam vict– erm, holidaymakers, to develop a new settlement from scratch, beginning with nothing more than some hastily erected tents. Thanks to the island’s lack of basic infrastructure, it has you exploring the island to gather raw materials – a pretty crucial part of the crafting system, which allows you to build new tools and furniture. 
There’s a rather agreeable hippy commune vibe to this whole arrangement, until you remember that a certain raccoon is getting a ready-made holiday resort out of the whole deal. New Horizons offers an unprecedented freedom to develop your community, as you can choose where animals set up their new homes and even reshape the island itself with the new magic shovel, a feature fans have dreamed of for years.
The series has been on quite the journey, since Dobutsu no Mori made its debut on April 14, 2001. 20 years later, Animal Crossing has surely surpassed even Nintendo’s wildest expectations. New Horizons is the fast-selling Nintendo game in Europe and one of the company’s best-selling games of all time. It’s reported that Animal Crossing: New Horizons shifted 31.18 million copies in 2020 alone, making it the second highest-selling Switch game so far. 
It’s quite remarkable that Animal Crossing is up there with Nintendo’s top franchises despite being their polar opposite – so many Nintendo titles are built on pure, glorious gameplay, while Animal Crossing features very little of what would traditionally be described as such. Regardless, its unique nature as a sedate and charming console game that can be played all year round makes Animal Crossing something we’ll never stop playing. Mainly because we’re perpetually in debt to a ruthless capitalist raccoon, but also because they’re wonderful games to kick back and enjoy when you just want to turn off the outside world for an hour or two.
This feature first ran in issue 205 of Retro Gamer magazine. For more fantastic features like the one you just finished reading, subscribe to Retro Gamer to get the magazine delivered to your door or digital device. 
Animal Crossing: New Horizons tips | Animal Crossing: New Horizons fish guide | Animal Crossing: New Horizons bugs guide | Animal Crossing: New Horizons amiibo support explained | Animal Crossing Sanrio amiibo cards and items | Animal Crossing: New Horizons flowers guide | Animal Crossing: New Horizons sea creatures guide | How to improve your Animal Crossing: New Horizons island rating | Upcoming Animal Crossing: New Horizons events | Animal Crossing: New Horizons turnips | KK Slider secret songs in Animal Crossing | Animal Crossing: New Horizons golden tools | Animal Crossing: New Horizons secrets

#history #Animal #Crossing #series #evolved #N64 #oddity #Nintendo #Switch #system #seller


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