Despite an obvious love for the series (as seen by my ownership of previously released goods), I didn’t come into Animal Crossing New Leaf thinking it would dominate my free time. I just expected another romp with my animal buddies through a town devoid of any real world vices. That’s what Animal Crossing had meant to me up to this point.
Since its release on June 9, I’ve put just over 40 hours into this beast. Now, you and I may not know each other that well, but that’s quite a significant amount of time for me (which I’m sure you hear more about in upcoming “Dads got time for nothing!” articles). It currently ranks at second place in my 3DS Play Time, and will easily take the number one spot by week’s end. The crown’s current owner, New Super Mario Bros. 2, earned that top spot through a combination of my wife and daughter enjoying it, and possibly an entire night with the 3DS left wide open, the family dog tanning in its glow.
I’m sure my new mayoral duties play a role (preventing my Bug Net swatting sprees from leaking to the press has been difficult), but it likely comes down to my newfound handheld focus. My 3DS and Vita are all I have time for now.
What I appreciate most about New Leaf is how wide open it is. There’s so much to do, but I’m never punished for not partaking in its less enjoyable aspects. Why throw the museum some Dino bones when a pink alpaca is more than happy to throw some bells my way? To hell with history, I got a mortgage and an unhealthy obsession with ugly furniture. And that’s fine in Cooltown (my little patch of land in New Leaf), a city where the men/women are loose and the booze is free.
On paper, Animal Crossing New Leaf is the complete opposite of everything I want in a game. Open worlds make me barf, as I crave clear objectives and linearity. Since my time is limited, I like to get in and out, “beat it and box it” as no one but myself says. But there Animal Crossing stands, the yin to my hard minded yang. It’s all very sitcom-ish, really. Put me and Animal Crossing in a room together for explosive hijinks and an outcome you didn’t see coming!
So, sorry Project X Zone, Muramasa Rebirth and countless others, I’m way too busy in Cooltown to give a damn.