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Hello! Have you come to play? October 17, 2007

Posted by jmoran21 in Games.

Tom NookMy girlfriend is a very busy woman. Everyday, she gets up at dawn and walks to the beach to see what has washed up. On her way home, she stops and visits with her many friends, and she always caries a watering can in case she sees a flower in need of a drink. She might then find a rare entomological specimen, capture it, and rush it toward the museum for study. Or maybe she just winds up at the department store to see what new items are in stock. After carrying her loot home, she occasionally encounters lost kittens or unrelenting insurance salesmoles. After dealing with each appropriately, she heads home to rearrange her décor and accommodate the new furniture she’s purchased. Her most important of all, however, is locating and destroying any weeds that have sprouted in her town. And all this is done before she even gets out of bed!

Yes, friends: my girlfriend’s an Animal Crossing: Wild World addict. I bought her first Nintendo DS for Christmas ’05, but ACWW didn’t come until some time after Nintendogs had lost its hold on her. Once she crossed over, however, it hasn’t been the same. I believe she has spent more time in Circus (her town’s name) than I have with any three videogames I’ve played in my life. She has the mansion, a perfect town, complete bug, fish, and fossil exhibits, and about 90% of the games hundreds of household items are in her catalogue. She bought herself a DS Light and stole my copy of the game because she needed to take advantage of the WiFi play more often than I was willing to. That’s right, she has two towns.

The game is less habit and more ritual for her, a chance to exert total control and achieve perfection in a world she can comfortably predict and participate in. This is the same feelings of escape I experienced all through high school in the form of Starcraft and Civilization, only she limits herself to healthier playing time (and of course a cute and cuddly setting.) What this means to me is that she understands my need to play games, even if she doesn’t appreciate the beauty of the games I play. I also value the quiet time we have together when she’s at a K.K. Slider concert and I’m subduing Black Hole in Macro Land. I also know that if we’re ever really broke, I can turn her loose on World of Warcraft, she’ll soak it up like a sponge and become a one-woman-goldfarm. Gaming niches are very predictable, you know.



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