Let me start out this article by asking a few questions. You’ve heard of a series called “Animal Crossing” (or, for some, “Animal Forest”), right? I’m sure that most, if not all, of you have. Here’s my next question for you; have you ever played it? Once again, I am sure that most of you have answered “yes”. Now, I have one final question; what do you do in Animal Crossing?
I’m sure that most of you have answered in a similar manner. “You fish.” “You catch bugs.” You build a house.” I’m sure that there are a few brazen and cocky enough to say “not much”. Honestly, I’ve been asked the same question myself and it always makes me a little confused. What IS it about? What truly makes this game so enjoyable for me? Sure, collecting bugs, growing flowers, and furnishing my own house is fun, but none of those things are really something that makes a series stand out. At least, not to me.
Eventually, the answer began to dawn upon me; the villagers! No, that’s not quite right. It can’t be the villagers, and the villagers alone. Rather, it’s how I view them. The thought-filled letters I send to them. The joy I get from visiting their houses. The favors that we do for one another. I realized that I put so much effort into the game, so much effort into trying to befriend these talking animals, that I had naturally begun roleplaying. Every time I picked up my 3DS to play Animal Crossing: New Leaf, I would immediately and completely become immersed in what was going on in my town. I would find myself wondering things like “what’s Cherry up to?” or “I wonder if Lionel will invite me over today?” Yes. I was roleplaying, and I loved every minute of it.
Believe me or not, all of that immersion taught me some things about roleplaying. First of all, we all roleplay. Just because you think that roleplaying is “something that only D&D nerds or weirdos do” doesn’t make it true. It’s a natural process that occurs whenever someone becomes invested in anything which requires them to adopt an alternate persona. Whether it’s in a game, a sport, a play, or just entertaining one’s younger siblings, roleplaying is everywhere. The sooner you see it as something natural and fun, the sooner you ‘ll begin enjoying it more.
Roleplaying allows you to see past what is physically there, and into a vast and wonderful world beyond. The more creativity and thought you put into something, the more enjoyment you will get out of it. It’s no wonder the people who see Animal Crossing as “just this” or “just that” have less fun. Let yourself believe that what you’re doing is real! Trust me, it’s a lot more fun that way.
Finally, it’s a great way to relieve stress. Having a hard day in day-to-day living? Is the hustle and bustle getting you down? Just leave it for an hour or two. It will be there when you get back, trust me. Focusing on the everyday stresses of real life too much can make a person feel upset, or even get sick. By allowing your conscious to get sucked into the realm of fiction for a while, you ‘re putting all of that stress at ease. Loosen up a bit!
Well, I guess that pretty much sums up what I’ve learned from the wonderful world of Animal Crossing. Until next time, keep on gaming!