Feature: Replaying Animal Crossing: Wild World

In case you weren't aware, here at Nintendo Feed, this month is all about Animal Crossing. With the release date of Animal Crossing: New Leaf growing closer and closer, we've decided to take a look at the other games in this fantastic series. This article will be taking a look at the series' first portable offering; something that changed the Animal Crossing series, and maybe even the gaming world, forever. And eight years after its release, we'll be showing that Wild World is still one of the best games of all time.

So, the second game in the Animal Crossing series (it's actually not, but let's not go into that here) starts off with your character sitting in the back of a taxi driven by a turtle called Kapp'n, on their way to a new town. After a few questions, which decide what your character looks like, you'll arrive in town. You'll be given a map at the town hall, which shows the location of your house. Once there, a strange raccoon, Tom Nook, will force you against your will (maybe not) to work for him in his shop to pay off the house.

After that's done and dusted, however, you'll finally be able to do... whatever you want to do. Animal Crossing: Wild World lets you take control. On your first day of playing, you'll be able to talk with the villagers, make money, buy furniture and clothes... even visit someone else's town. Animal Crossing is a series that doesn't really care what you do or how you do it, as long as you're having fun. There're no tutorials, no immensely long cutscenes, there's nothing you actually have to do (besides the short amount of work you have to do for Tom Nook). Hate fishing? Never buy a fishing rod, and you'll never have to fish. Simple as that. The series never pushes you into doing anything; Animal Crossing is one of the simplest life simulation games around, and it's also the most addictive.

Animal Crossing: Wild World is often considered by fans as the best in the series (although New Leaf looks set to beat it by a long shot), and going back and replaying this fantastic title strengthened my belief that this is true. Let's face it; Animal Crossing is a series that should be playable anywhere. Portable Animal Crossing will always beat console Animal Crossings, hands down.

I revisited Wild World to help the wait for New Leaf seem less painful. Going back to the game has refuelled my passion for the series; every day there's something new. Whilst replaying the game, I managed to shoot down Gulliver's UFO, something which was introduced in Wild World. I also paid off my final debt to Tom Nook and finally, after eight years, produced a perfect town. This is the kind of thing that makes Animal Crossing such a rewarding and unique experience. You can play the game every day for years on end, each day discovering something new. The goals aren't necessarily meant to be met; there's nothing to force you to actually pay off your debt to Tom Nook (interest apparently doesn't exist in Animal Crossing).

You could say that the main goal in Animal Crossing would be to have fun, and I think you'd be right. Animal Crossing: Wild World is easily one of the top ten DS games of all time. Wild World offers so much innovation for the second Animal Crossing game. One of the most exciting features of Wild World when it was released eight years ago was its ability to connect you to other friend's towns, via Wi-Fi. That's no small feat for a game released way back in 2005.

After going back and replaying Wild World, I've seen many new things. Villagers always offer something new (and usually humorous) to say, occasionally resulting in them telling you how much they'd love to swim in a pool filled with lemonade. Special events help fill the seemingly monotonous days with something fun. Yes, Wild World might not have had events such as Christmas or Halloween, but it introduces special events unique to the game. La Di Day, where villagers will sing to you in an effort to get the town tune changed is especially funny. And the Bright Nights festival is a personal favourite of mine; the town will be decorated with festive lights everywhere and you'll have to judge which of your animal friends did the best job of decorating their home. Just another fun event introduced by Wild World.

And so, with New Leaf already released in North America, it won't be long before most Animal Crossing fans will be busy playing this amazing 3DS title. Revisiting Wild World has taught me that Wild World will live on forever in every fan's heart; it was a game that changed the way many see simulation games. And while New Leaf may win us over, we'll always know that Wild World started the trend.

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