Moving is hard. Relocating due to a new job is even harder. But when you’re expected to become the mayor of a village you’ve never visited, that puts a lot of pressure on your shoulders. These are the challenges I face in Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
I’m sitting quietly on a train as someone recognizes my face. “Impossible,” I think to myself.
“People don’t know who I am yet…do they?” As it turns out, they do. My arrival is eagerly awaited in my new village.
I was quickly greeted at the gate by Isabella, my quirky assistant. She ran over the basics of what my job shall entail. In addition, there were a few other locals that helped me out. Tom Nook, resident
loan shark shop owner, was in charge of helping me build my house. He was incredibly evil and money hungry nice about letting me pay off my loans at my own pace. Though he didn’t get me a job. I’ve heard from friends that he gave others a job to help pay-off loans, but I’m on my own here. Sure, I’m the Mayor. But that doesn’t come with a salary, apparently.
Thankfully, the local shops will buy anything: sea shells, bugs, fossils, furniture, clothes. You name it, they buy it. Slowly but surely, my bank account increases to the point where I can pay off my loan. But I’m the Mayor, which means I have other options. I can build a public works project, or set different store hours due to the fact that I’m a night owl. Perhaps I want my village to become a shining example of the wealthy and 1%.
I don’t, by the way, but I have these options and it opens up so many different
gameplay options difficult decisions I need to make. Better stay in touch with the people. After all, I do have to have an appropriate approval rating to meet. So I conversed with my neighbors, learned about their hobbies and personalities, and made some new friends. Before long, they approved of the job I was doing, allowing me to begin construction on several projects to help our town grow. It was neat trying to improve the status of both my house and the town I live in. There’s more for me to do, helping to prevent a feeling of burnout.
Yet despite the requirements of being mayor, everything felt comfortable. I’ve moved to new towns before, had to go through similar steps of getting a crappy house and working to improve it, but never before had it felt so polished and rewarding. I’ve grown attached to several of my neighbors and, in turn, they’ve grown attached to me. I actually feel guilty when I’m not…erm…
Okay, so it’s hard to make an allusion to not playing, but hey, I tried. My point remains the same: when I’m not playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf, I feel guilty. Not just that I’m letting my town down as their mayor, but also their friend. They’ll no doubt ask where I’ve been when I turn the game on and I fear that some relationships have been too damaged to save. This is exactly what I wanted from an Animal Crossing game: the same core gameplay enhanced with a better feeling of actually living in a new town.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf gets that point across. It’s your home away from home.