Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Audacity of Animal Crossing Villagers

When I first started playing Animal Crossing, maybe 10 years ago, I never really let one simple, yet boldly blatant, fact settle in to my mind. That I, myself, was the sole bearer of responsibility in my town. No one but myself was responsible for the maintaining of a whole village, packed to the brim with completely able-bodied animals.

Seemingly no one else had to do chores for Tom Nook to earn their plot of land within the town. No one else took care of the weeds, especially immediately surrounding their homestead, while I was gone for months or even years. No one else took the time to check in with the town's condition and plant trees or flowers where there needed to be, for the overall greater good of the village in question. No one else donated to the museum to fill out the displays. Instead they just complain that the town is terrible and simply move away, without lifting a single finger in it's aid.

Throughout the first game, which I still haven't really managed to perfect as I don't play it enough to be bothered, I noticed I was the only one who had to take care of the weeds, trees and various other things to beautify the village. At least after all was said and done I had a golden statue of myself places just outside of the train station to commemorate all my hard work, at paying off my home. It also seems Tom Nook never really hassled any of the other villagers about the size of their homes, so they just bought the basic and never really bothered to upgrade. As where Tom Nook constantly hounded me to keep upgrading and forever be indebted to him.

Although I haven't delved too deeply into maintaining my Wild World village, because my DS Lite is slowly decaying into a hunk of shit (Good job Nintendo!), I have noticed the theme of blaming the town for being junk and just moving away has carried over. Not much to say other than adios! If this were real life and someone just bought a home, never did anything to keep it maintained, then complained to neighbors about how terrible it was before simply packing up and leaving, this person would be labeled mentally insane.

Again the theme carried over to City Folk. I still enjoy working on City Folk, but this time things are bit more complex. This time the town asks for donations to build additions, such as an additional bridge, a water fountain and finally a lighthouse or windmill. Funds are paid directly to Pelly or Phyllis in the civic center, but I am the only one who ever bothers to put any bells toward such projects.

As I toil away, day after day, and slowly earn 1,000 bells here and 10,000 bells there, what do the other villagers do? They bide their time by walking around, holding one of their favorite tools. Almost every villager will eventually be seen carrying a fishing rod, an axe, a shovel or a bug net, proving that they too earn bells, somehow. Since we know they've bought these homes and have enough bells left over to pay me for misc. items I have on my person, or for doing random tasks, as well as tools to keep them busy, why don't they donate to the town fund? Or better yet, use those tools to donate to the museum?

How incredibly lazy and audacious these villagers are to move in, never lift a finger to aid in the beautification of the town and just complain about how terrible it is and move back out! Villagers come and go and it never changes, with the exception of a few, whom still let the occasional critique slip every so often. Even after all my hard work, they will always find something to complain about, as if my sole purpose in Animal Crossing is groundskeeper and fund raiser for things to keep them busy.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My History with the GTA series. Part 3: Back in Time in Vice City.

A new place, a new time. Fresh off the plane and into Vice City. Everything looked better, fresher and the controls were marginally better than GTA 3. Tommy Vercetti is about to take over the islands of Vice City, and then the world! Well, really only Vice city.

Vice City was undoubtedly based on Miami Vice and the 1983 film Scarface. The first thing I noticed about GTA Vice City was the unmistakably 80's theme going on, which I liked quite a bit. From the 80's fashion trends to the soundtrack that was filled with unforgettable top 10 hits from that era, everything screamed 1980's. Everything that the 1980's offered is present and, just like the 1980's, filled to the brim with excess!

More so than GTA 3, Vice City felt like a living, breathing city environment, rife with beachgoers and partygoers alike. It also offered a lot more than GTA 3, while doing so in what felt like a much smaller space. Vice City offered a very well themed variety of vehicles, this time including helicopters, motorcycles and, even though you still couldn't swim, boats. There were also more things to keep you busy, such as the events you could take part in at the stadium, or you just out exploring the new city landscape and many hidden areas.

The unrefined insanity of cops trying to murder you over slight infractions, as well as pedestrians having a deer in the headlights moment just before you plowed into them, carried over from GTA 3. Some cars carried over as well, but the handling was upgraded to be more manageable. Even though cars were fun to drive, I felt that helicopters were where it was truly at. Helicopters gave me the ability to climb high above the city and see the city from a completely new vantage point than ever before.

Vice City sucked me in (no pun intended) and kept me busy far longer than GTA 3. After all the missions were done, there was still so much left to be done in the islands of Vice City. So many little places to explore, vehicles to drive, little areas to see and different events to accomplish. Vice City also had a plethora of assets for Tommy to purchase such as a used car dealership, an ice cream company, among others, which helped fill his bank account.

Once everything was seen, found, tested and the money was rolling in hand over fist, there wasn't much left to do other than find the little hidden Easter eggs that Rockstar had left within the game. After achieving 100% I still loved to find myself a Voodoo and play around with the hydraulics, run people over in the tiger striped Taxi cab and continue on with the various events at the stadium. But even with all the fun I had in Vice City, after everything was said and done it felt empty, and I knew it was time to move on. Moving on to the early 1990s in a new place called San Andreas.