If you’re not the joystick-handling crowd, know this much: Animal Crossing is a Nintendo franchise, the newest installment of which recently came out for the Nintendo 3DS. The game essentially works like a Tamagotchi that beams you into its world (yes, like that one Saved by the Bell Saturday morning preview), so instead of just taking care of one fictional organism, you’re charged as custodian of a whole fictional environment. You pull the weeds. You arrange your home for maximum feng shui. You scuttle among your anthropomorphic neighbors running errands. And this is all supposed to be fun.
Further explanation of the death of cutesiness after the jump.
the sloth who runs the plant shop. he no
longer exists, because i deleted my save file.
|the tapir who ran the dream shop. see, |
because in japan, tapirs eat dreams.
I’m thirty-one, and although I feel no guilt about sinking a few hours here and there into video games, playing Animal Crossing gave me a growing sense of anxiety. In my actual life, where squirrels don’t wear clothes and don’t write me letters, I haven’t done enough in the city I live in. I don’t actually want to build bridges over local rivers, I should point out, but having been a (legal) adult for a decade now, I do wonder what I could do to make the space I live in better. As a result, I feel uneasy about letting Animal Crossing successes sub in for real-life ones, consciously or unconsciously. I just couldn’t stroll around a fictional neighborhood, cleaning up garbage and planting trees, when I knew I was only sitting in my apartment and ignoring the fact that my real neighborhood could also benefit from less garbage and more trees.
|the flanders-sweatered bastard to whom you|
always owe money. i am particularly happy
about his newfound non-existence.
So that’s why I said no to Animal Crossing. Is it weird if I imagined my little town and its cuddly inhabitants being obliterated by an apocalypse when I deleted the file? Like, their pixels flying apart as the very core of their existence ceased to be? No, don’t answer that. I’m pretty sure that’s how everyone would feel.
Video games, previously: