Sunday, November 17, 2013

Animal Crossing: Revisiting Hell

Given a week in the City (Animal Crossing: City Folk), I decided to head back to my roots and see what was going on in my original Hell. The last time I played was shortly after I acquired an Action Replay to cheat in a ton of things I knew I could never get otherwise. Since the Nintendo Wii is backwards compatible it was just an easy disc swap, and away I went!

Instantly I saw the major difference in textures, although everything else seems to be pretty much the same. I do have to say I don't miss the Zelda-esque map grid they did with the towns, but it did help quite a bit when it comes to figuring out how to keep your town clean and happy. Needless to say my town was once more overgrown with weeds, everywhere! I'm going to have to find the spirit who will do me a favor the next time I'm on there and get that sorted out.

After a quick jaunt around the town, at 1am, I realized there wasn't much I could do. My inventory was nearly overloaded with gifts sent to me by the villagers from my birthday earlier in the year, which I obviously missed. With only a handful of slots I found the money rock and gained a bit of cash, after which I ran across the golden statue of myself, which reminded me that I had no loan to pay off!

I went around and visited some of my favorite neighbors and said hello, most of them were upset at me for being gone 19 months, which I think is impossible, but who am I to argue? After seeing some of my favorite villagers I wondered around the town and the layout came rushing back to me, all the bridges and hills, lakes and trees. Everything came back as if it had been just a few days, instead of 19 months.

So why do I doubt the all knowing and all powerful villagers of my town called Hell? Simple, I only acquired the Action Replay a few weeks before my birthday in March, to the best of my knowledge; even before that I did the Halloween event, but I do remember not saving that night and having to deal with Mr. Resetti the time I booted up to use the Action Replay. With that mystery set aside I do have to say that now my house is filled to the brim with the neat Nintendo items they packed into this game.

Is Animal Crossing on the Game Cube still my favorite of the series? Yes! Without a doubt! City Folk has come into its own; I've learned a lot about the game and there are a lot of redeeming qualities that took a few days of consistent playing to discover. One major feature from the original Animal Crossing that I miss is that the villager dialog options offered you the chance to do a task for them, and if they didn't have anything they would simply say no, in Wild World and City Folk you have to wait for them to come to you. I want to feel more helpful, not USED!

Despite everything feeling too similar, at least to me, between the original and City Folk, they're still both their own game, and more diverse than I originally thought. I've had a ton of fun with the original throughout the years and I plan to have even more fun with City Folk.

But perhaps Animal Crossing's downfall, if anything, is that it took never ending to a completely new level; the constant need to upkeep everything. Its ok for a game like GTA (namely San Andreas) to just never end and leave the ending up to the player, post story. Animal Crossing, however, feels like a chore, a never ending task of pulling weeds, tending to personalities to keep them pasified, and even if you want to take a break you know there is the dread of having those chores compounded by the length of time you've been away.

Regardless of the chore factor, I still like checking in on the personalities I grew to enjoy, and I can already feel myself growing attached to animals in City Folk. I just wish my DS would straighten up so maybe I could give Wild World another crack, there are a few personalities I miss on there already. Even so, I still prefer to play Animal Crossing on a console, instead of on the go.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tremendously tantalizing tales of timing!

When that feeling strikes, I sometimes lose my mind. I don't know when, all I know its for sure. But even for something that is assured, I am not a man of patience!

This story begins about 5 months ago when I saw a Game Boy Color (atomic purple) at a local Goodwill for $3.99. At the time I thought the price was too high, it wasn't in the best shape and it was missing the battery cover. Knowing at any time I could find one at the outlet store for mere change, I decided to pass it by and hope that when its 50% off week came around I would snatch it up for slightly cheaper, this never came to be.

I already own 2 Lime (one of them being the system I resurrected from the outlet store bins with no shell), 2 Teal and 1 in a cheap Chinese made yellow shell (that was originally lime), so I'm mainly only trying to collect the other colors, to complete the set of 6. The memory of passing up a magenta GBC about 3 years ago for $2 at the Salvation Army haunts me to this day, the only magenta GBCs I find now are $14.99 at Disc Replay (or were $14.99 last I checked). And now that feeling sunk in again as I found myself struggling to find an atomic purple GBC.

The main factor in me passing up both the magenta and atomic purple GBCs was the fact they were both missing the battery covers, yet I clearly forgot that I currently own a spare atomic purple battery cover! As I posted in another article, when I found the bare boards of the GBC in the bin I also found a teal battery cover, which took the place of the spare atomic purple cover that I had no system for.

With the one at Goodwill long since gone and none of them to be found at the outlet store, I began to wonder if I would have to purchase one on Craigslist for more than I wanted to, or perhaps ask Disc Replay if they had one missing the battery cover I could purchase for slightly cheaper. The outlet store has admittedly spoiled me and made me think twice about buying retail, in favor of just waiting it out. But it all came to a head last Sunday.

Previously in the day I had been playing around with my Game Boy Color project, seeing what switch I could use to get it back to working again. When I pulled the project from the box the purple battery cover came tumbling out and I had this feeling that soon I would find a console that needed that very battery cover, and within hours I found the answer on Craigslist.

There is was, an atomic purple Game Boy Color with 4 games: Little Mermaid, Deer Hunter, Pokemon Blue and Dragon Warrior III, missing the battery cover and they only wanted $25 for the lot. I quickly shot them an email asking of they would take $20 and the seller agreed. I rationalized the price, even though it was already cheap enough, by telling myself I could sell Pokemon blue for $15 and only have paid $5 for the lot and got to keep Dragon Warrior III! But sadly couldn't, because I have the manual for Pokemon Blue, and its one of the few Pokemon games I actively sought out.

Overall everything is in ok condition; the games have the common grubby paw marks at the top of the labels from removing them from the system, the GBC itself has some scratches on the screen, but everything is in working order. For $20 I couldn't argue, the GBC alone was $15 at Disc Replay last time I saw one in stock, and I know Pokemon games are worth close to $20 no matter what condition they are on ebay. Dragon Warrior III had a $7.99 price tag from Disc Replay on it when I got it as well. A great buy, no doubt!

And what became of the lonely little battery cover that had to cling to the butt of a teal GBC for months until it was tossed aside for one that was the same color as the teal GBC? Well, as you can see above and below it was united with its color matched system and they're doing quite well together.

If I get the urge to change the screen protector I may, but its not an issue. What really concerns me more is the lack of the Game Boy Color sticker on the back of the actual system, but even that doesn't really matter all that much. What really matters is that I now have an atomic purple Game Boy Color, the atomic purple battery cover has a good home and I got some games to add to my collection, if even 2 of them aren't exactly something I would buy or ever play.

Animal Crossing City Folk: The trinity of DOOM!

Since I first saw the game played, at a friend's house I believe, I knew I had to try Animal Crossing on the Gamecube. The problem, at the time, was that I didn't own a Gamecube, and I didn't want to pay the price for the system, nor did I want to pay the price for the game. I'm primarily a vintage gamer, so I bide my time with the good, old classic and wait for today's craze to fade away and turn up for pennies in thrift stores, flea markets, etc. before I give it a go.

When I finally got my hands on Animal Crossing I was blown away by the amount of things you could do; all the animals to talk to, tasks you could do, fishing, collect, etc. But over time the game eventually ground itself into a giant repetitive hole and just became something I never wanted to play again. Years later, as I previous posted here, I did come back to my old Animal Crossing city of Hell and the residents were all to happy to let me know exactly how long it had been since they saw me last, and to be honest I missed them!

But as had happened before, with the help from Mr. Resetti due to a series of unforeseen power failures, I decided this game was too demanding and it was time to pack it away yet again. This only lasted until I found a copy of Animal Crossing Wild World at the outlet store. At first Wild World seemed much the same with a few added bonuses here and there, but it too quickly got on my nerves as it just felt like deja vu!

Throughout the past 6 months I've visited my Wild World town a handful of times, saw that its overrun with weeds and promptly turned off my DS, as the top screen no longer works anyway. But recently I was given a copy of Animal Crossing City Folk for the Nintendo Wii, and my views on the series haven't changed at all. I love the initial feeling of starting anew and exploring something new, but in reality its all the same.

Every game starts out with you moving to a new town, buying a home from Tom Nook and being his lacky for a few measly coins to help pay off his initial fee for housing. Although there is a mayor, Tortimer, Tom Nook seemingly owns everything else in the town! But there is a small feeling of justice knowing Tom Nook buys everything from you, thus paying himself back for the home you eventually own.

The main draw to Animal Crossing has been the interactions such as Halloween, and other holidays that not many other games have the ability or care to include. Apparently many holidays were left out in Wild World, so that coupled with the broke DS screen have really made me not even want to play it anymore. I did however use it to move my character to City Folk.

One fear that I had for Wild World has come up in City Folk, gimmicking! Nintendo and their stupid need to toss in the gimmick of the console and mess up the whole game. In Wild World I'm not forced to use the touch screen, it just aids heavily in the speed of doing a few tasks. In City Folk there are bits of game you can't do without having to use the motion controls.

Most people won't even notice because they have a normal Wii sensor bar, but since I have the makeshift sensor from another game, which chews through batteries, I have to constantly turn it off and on when I need to use the motion controls. Where in Wild World you can use the D-pad and buttons to move things throughout your inventory and select them to be sold, City Folk forces you to use the motion controls to click and/or drag. Even though there is absolutely no need for this, it seems everything else in the game can easily be done without the need for motion controls, except anything that requires selecting something (items, typing out letters, etc.)

So far City Folk seems to be much the same as the two previous games, but even with the frustration of the motion controls it still keeps me busy, for now. Hopefully after a little while this game will start to shine bright and I'll take more interest in it than I already do, which is blunted by Wild World. But as of right now I have to say the first is still my favorite for its simplicity, yet complexity all at the same time.