Games should be a medium of storytelling, no matter how simplistic. Whether it’s “you killed my father: prepare to die” (for the villain, it was Tuesday) or your decisions shaping a pre-teen’s development in a difficult situation (CLEMENTINE WILL REMEMBER THAT), I feel a good game needs that drive towards a goal to make it truly great. And all storytelling has one core thing in common: conflict.
Something the Animal Crossing series as a whole seems to lack.
I understand that it’s meant to be a sickly-sweet utopia, but even Friendship Is Magic had conflict (not that I’m familiar with that source material). On the other hand, I shouldn’t dump all over it, especially when I haven’t played a game in the series. This is why I decided to get a view from a long-time fan to balance my view.
“[Animal Crossing] is the beeeeest although it is mainly for strange furniture obsessives and people who’d rather talk to small polygonal animals than people (i.e. me). It’s the equivalent of a zen garden.”
So, to the point: Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer. The basic concept is that characters approach you to channel your inner interior designer when animals ask you to craft their residence: basically Animal Crossing: Homes under the Hammer. I initially thought this was a great step in the right direction, especially considering the mishaps we’ve had on TV.
But once again, the dichotomy between expectation and reality strikes, because what we got is this:
Is there a rival company in town? No. Can you get fired if you don’t make enough profits on the houses? Nuh-uh. Can you even get marked down if the animals aren’t happy? Negative. You get full autonomy over both the interior and exterior of these creatures’ houses. It’s not just Changing Rooms, but also Ground Force. You can even scan more animals in using card based Amiibos, to continue the pointless parade of…
… oh. Nintendo, you sly bastards.
There may be no conflict in the game, but long-time fans with money to spare will have plenty when musing whether to buy their favourite animals in Amiibo form to enhance their pleasure of Animal Crossing: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition: The Game.
This is why Nintendo will never go broke.