A review of Animal Crossing by someone who hates it

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/04/13/a-review-of-animal-crossing-by.html


Beautiful. I’m not going to argue here about whether or not games can be art, just that there’s no argument about games journalism…


No game I’d like more to eventually port to VR and in first person. I miss the gamecube version with the working NES system in your attic.

Any version I play has my same review: I love the drunken owl.


I much prefer Stardew Valley over Animal Crossing. In AC there’s a big incentive to accumulate things, items, furniture, clothing, etc, etc and there’s nothing inherently wrong with doing so but its a system designed to string along the player to invest as much time as possible in the game. Stardew Valley does it as well but it’s not the point of the game, the point of the game is to engage with the townsfolk and build relationships with all of them, progress through an over-arching story with small goals you achieve throughout the weeks and seasons.

The ultimate point of AC even in previous games has been to wrangle the many systems the game pits against you to get stuff and that’s what i find tiring. I do think fondly of my time playing previous titles of the series but i have no desire to jump back into it because despite the improvements and some new features there’s really no added substance to it.

Also bonus points for Stardew Valley? You can mod it.


I wasted a few hours this weekend building Brucellosis Farm in Stardew. Am resisting hard the option of googling out a bunch of threads in the game to see how they play out.

@Grey_Devil Have you tried the online coop version of SV? Any good?

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I have done co-op before, it can speed things up a long greatly when starting from scratch. There’s nothing inherently with the experience of doing co-op but the slow progression of the game is something i enjoy so rushing forward isn’t necessarily something i liked but if you have someone you can regularly play with go for it.

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My daughter and I are playing too and that article is SO TRUE. I’m reminded of how modern arcades are primers for Vegas.


honestly though this makes a great point about why animal crossing has such crossover appeal: if you’re someone who plays games looking for competition and challenge there are plenty of ways to make the experience one that fits your tastes, whereas those who prefer a relaxed atmosphere (and who are able to ignore all the little things hinting at ways to make the game harder for yourself) can just enjoy the pretty little garden.
Really exemplary sand box design it is.


That read like it was made using an “I don’t like Animal Crossing” madlib generator. All of the complaints are valid to an extent (YMMV), but they’ve all been said before literally hundreds of times. Everyone is of course welcome to like or dislike a piece of art, but I’m not sure there was anything here worth an entire think piece.


Yeah, I’ve got to say, it’s mostly a nice little diversion when I can’t go anywhere, but the rampant Konsumerism4Kids angle is squicking me out a bit. Not only am I perpetually in debt, but if there’s a piece of infrastructure my island needs, it’s basically 100% on my shoulders. My friendly neighbors chip in so little it’s insulting, like getting a penny tip. Every time I hear “Tom Nook” say some variant of “but of course I’m going to have to charge you for that” I grind my teeth a little. The economics undermine most of whatever sentiment of community they might have intended, which makes it the most realistic part of the game, really, but that’s not a mark in its favor.


The standard argument against Animal Crossings in general is that they glorify getting in debt. On the other hand, if mortgages in real life were interest free as they are in AC, and could be paid off with selling a relatively small number of gathered fruits or caught fishes, I think people would have less of an issue with them.


Technically Stardew Crossing is a clone/extension of a different Nintendo game, Harvest Moon.

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She sounds fun. Now back to digging up fossils for the museum…

That Wired page does weird things to my browser.

The dopamine loop can only engage me for so long. I have enjoyed the relaxing aspect of wandering around collecting butterflies, wood and fruit with no threat. But now that i’ve paid off my debt I do feel like i’m repeating the same actions with the next-tier materials.

To be fair it has got me through the beginning of lockdown so appreciate that.

I know everyone like to point at AC as being somehow tied to consumerism and capitalism, etc. I recently was exposed to the idea that it’s directly tied to the remnants of the Japanese feudal age and rural village debt.

This more than any other take rings true to me.

Amen. I knew that going in from two previous Animal Crossing games I bought and played, and yet I still bought this one in a moment of weakness that I regret. I played to the point where I assembled the stuff necessary to get three new people on the “deserted” island, put it down, and haven’t picked it back up.

It’s still capitalistic as fuck. Add in constructible tools that break after so many uses, and the grind felt even more grinding. Plus the realtime day/night cycle instead of a compressed one makes it even more annoying to try to fit into my real world day, since I’m not yet fully unemployed.

And when I finally am unemployed, playing Animal Crossing is not what I should do with my time.


My sweetie has been playing it to unwind after work, while I watch. It’s fascinating to me how it glorifies consumerism, but it’s a much nicer version of consumerism than the real world.


This makes the gameplay intersection with minecraft make more sense to me.

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A Short Hike has similar art style, but without grind and excessive consumerism. It was really nice to play an open-world game that’s completely non-violent and so relaxing.

There’s also a Linux version :slight_smile: