Monday, June 15, 2015

A Thought to Chew: Why Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer will be Amazing

Animal Crossing has been a surprisingly common fixture in my blog. Seriously, IT'S BEEN FREAKING EVERYWHERE. (The worst part is that 75% of those posts are from the earlier days of this blog. Oooh, goosebumps all around.) Even worse, they've all been centered on the same game: Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which in all fairness has probably been the greatest entry, but still. Something is surprisingly mesmerizing about doing things that you could literally be doing outside in the comfort of your own living room, chatting with the villagers, and freaking out when they reappear downtown. Seriously, Hazel still gives me nightmares.
But I'll save the mesmerizing nature of AC:NL for another time. The fifth entry to the Animal Crossing series is the one which I will masticate today (get your head out of the gutter, "masticate" is completely different), and it's by far the most interesting entry in the series.
One of the focal points of Animal Crossing is, well, DECORATING! YEAH! As dull as it sounds, designing your house, as well as your utopia, is one of the major proponents to why Animal Crossing works. It pushes forth an otaku viewpoint of collecting for collection's sake (see the great PBS Idea Channel video if you haven't already) and it works. Maybe it has to do with my extremely compulsive desire to complete things. In my opinion, they pretty much nailed this aspect of the game. You collect fish, bugs, fossils, deep-sea creatures, clothes, furniture, and cash money. There is no reward beyond internal efficacy, the nice, fuzzy feeling on the inside. Unlike other games where you might get an overwhelming feeling of frustration, you instead get an odd sense of pride. Sure, the game acknowledges your achievements with badges and equipment (or, in the case of the first game, a gigantic golden statue that would make Orwell take a run for his money), but the feeling of "YEAH!" is much greater than the actual reward in-game.

Back to decorating, though, another main feature is making the most  awesome town possible. You can add fountains, benches, new buildings, renovate older buildings, build bridges, build lighthouses, build EVERYTHING. The same principle, of course, applies to your house. Renovate it for more space and decorate away. The game even rewards you for a variety of factors, including certain lucky items, themed sets, and if you feng shui is legitimately on fleek. This whole idea of getting ranked plays a large role in Happy Home Designer.
I neglected to mention what the game is actually about, so let me explain. HHD puts you in charge of meeting the demands of villagers by decorating their houses. That, however, is all we know thus far. It seems to work in a similar vein to the samaritan work that players do for their towns in the regular games; however, instead of delivering presents that your villagers are too lazy to do themselves for some reason, you make their houses as beautiful (or ugly) as possible. While it is unknown if the HHA will play as large a role, the evaluation process seems to take a similar vain.
It is unknown how much more is in the game, but it's safe to believe that there will be plenty more elements revealed during E3. That being said, why am I already so excited about this game which I know hardly anything about?
Animal Crossing has been one of the most consistently entertaining video game franchises in recent history. There are no duds, and instead of pushing for gimmicks like crossbow practice or typing, it perfects on the already amazing formula, making each appearance fresher even if it only really looks like a new layer of paint. As such, I'm excited to see what will happen. This will most likely be the most edgy spin-off of the franchise, and the prospect of trying something new is, in my opinion, a wise move for the franchise as a whole. Here's to hoping that it won't be a half-baked game, but all we can really do is wait.

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