Tag Archives: Animal Crossing: Wild World

The Bright Moon loomed, and the Scythian labored

If you follow me on Twitter, I must both apologize and then apologize for apologizing, as I went on a tweeting rampage last night due to there being a full moon in the sky, as well as a pixelated one in Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. In case you missed all the intense action, here’s a taste:

I love the absurdity of that dog-infused tweet jarringly placed among all the ones about saving sylvan sprites and working on obtaining the Bright Moon Trigon. But really, Capybara Games is to blame as they went ahead and made every scrap of text tweet-able, and dang if the writing wasn’t so bizarre and strangely amusing. One could most definitely tweet out the entire Sworcery experience–if they didn’t mind losing all their followers, that is. Right. Moving on…

I last played Sworcery a couple weeks back, completing sessions one and two in a single go, absolutely absorbed into the strange world, its fiction and sounds and meticulous aesthetics. I started exploring the lands a bit in session three, just to see what was to come, but was firmly planted in my Scythian’s tracks, as progress further depended on phases of the moon. More specifically, a Full Moon and a New Moon. And these phases had to correspond with real life. One could totally cheat by looking up when the next desired phase was and adjusting the clock on their computer or iPad, but I’m not into that. Plus, years of living a digital life via Animal Crossing: Wild World has taught me the patience required for waiting for a specific day to do something. And so I waited, about two weeks, to play.

Last night, between the fresh snow and the full moon, the outside was nearly as bright as the inside. In Sworcery, not much looked different, except for a noticeably bright and full moon hanging in the sky on just about every screen. I loved this, the mixing of real life and not, the fusing of sides A and B, the glimmering blur of there and here. Unfortunately, with a full moon comes full problems, as that antler-headed god-demon ghost-thing now appears more frequently to challenge you in a fight. I took it on twice and won, but later would just run to the next screen to avoid it.

But with the moon full, the Scythian could now find more trapped sprites in the environment, eventually getting enough to find the way to the Bright Moon Trigon hid, duking it out with shield and sword until it could fight no more. Pretty much the same way we got The Gold Trigon. Figuring out the correct music cues for each sprite is never hard and always enjoyable, and the reward of that song is all I really ever need in life. I will admit though that I got stuck on the ducks puzzle, as I had completely forgotten the ability to drag items around. That’s part of the problem in a game forcing you to take these long breaks based on moon phases–not everything remains.

So, it seems like there will be a New Moon around December 13, 2012. I guess that’ll be the next time I play more Sworcery. Sigh. I’m not terribly disappointed in having to wait, though it can feel a little limiting, especially considering that I want to play it a whole lot right now, but can’t, unless it’s just walking around, listening to the music, and getting nowhere with Girl. I can do that just fine on my own with the coupled soundtrack I got from the Humble Bundle package, but it’s not quite the same without a tree or bush to click on in rhythm.

Animal Crossing 3DS and what we know

When the Nintendo 3DS and its potential blockbusters were first announced, the forthcoming game I was most excited for was Animal Crossing 3DS, which is not its official title, but could probably end up being so. The no-battery life handheld came out in March 2011, and GameStop, along with a number of other retailers, were claiming that the next iteration of the cutesy, addicting life sim was slated for Fall 2011. Right, so it didn’t make the launch lineup, wasn’t primed for summer, but an autumn release wasn’t too far off; I could wait. And I have.

Currently, it’s late January 2012, and there’s still no Animal Crossing 3DS. When’s it coming out? Who knows. There’s nothing. Nintendo is being extra quiet about this game–and I have absolutely no idea why. Just tell us it’s true name and when we can expect to play it. Simple as that. A new tentative release window says Summer 2012, but I no longer trust anything unless it is backed by Nintendo reps themselves.

Okay, I guess we do know some gameplay tidbits, which are enough to nibble on, but I’m hungry. I’m ready to eat. True fact: I’m always ready to eat.

The biggest gameplay detail that is known is that you are no longer a mere resident of the animal-filled town you come to call your own. No, you are its mayor, a man or woman with power and dominating control. It’s not clear if you start out in this role or have to earn it by a number of miscellaneous character-building tasks, but whatever. And as mayor of all of Hobbitontown, you’ll certainly need some assistance. So, meet your new, private secretary:

Aw, she’s kind of adorable. And nameless currently. Alas, rumor has it that she can be extremely clumsy, but her role remains vital nonetheless. As your secretary, she’ll help point out parts of the village that look particularly good and parts that may need some extra work. So if there’s ever a lull in your daily minutiae, check in with her and find out what you can be doing to improve your town and your ratings before the re-election circuit hits.

Everybody’s arch-nemesis from previous Animal Crossings is back, but this time wearing some new attire. That’s right. Tom Nook is no longer selling stock. Instead, he’s selling houses. Not sure what this ultimately means, but maybe it has something to do with StreetPassing other towns. I suspect that you’ll still have to deal with him on a daily basis for some reason or another. I mean, he sells houses, and you’re in charge of a bunch of houses.

Other confirmed tidbits in a nice bulleted list because I’m getting tired of trying to think of interesting ways to phrase all of this:

  • Benches and outdoor items, such as lamps, are now available
  • Nintendo-themed items aplenty
  • Players can go swimming
  • Customization of the outside of houses is now allowed, and we’re not just talking about changing the roof’s color
  • You can live in a tent
  • Furniture customization to rule all
  • There’s a mall, which I guess is akin to visiting the city as in Animal Crossing: City Folk
  • You can take your shoes off
  • YOU CAN TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF
  • YOU CAN TAKE YOUR F*CKING SHOES OFF!!!

Woah.

Well, that’s all I got for now. I’m tired of speculating. Just give us some dang, honest-to-goodness solid details, Nintendo. I promise you, no matter what you say, I am buying this game the day it comes out. I just hope it comes out soon.

INTERVIEW TIME: Tara Abbamondi

Tara beat a videogame a couple weeks back–namely Professor Layton and the Last Specter–and I just had to know why this game got her good. So I came up with some Qs, and she came up with some As. And with this, I try out interviewing people on my blog. I’m probably going to do it again. Heck, if you’re reading this, there’s a high chance I’ll be pestering you very soon with questions. Ready yourself. And read on…

Name: Tara Abbamondi
Age: 25
Loves: Milk, comics, Rush, Snoopy
Hates: Joffrey Baratheon
Limit Break: Red Curl Crush
Linkage: Twitter, website

Hi, welcome to Grinding Down. You have a really interesting last name. Any relation to me?

Well, thank you for having me, and funny you should mention that…for those who don’t know, I’m Pauly’s wife.

Please tell us some of your gaming history. Did you solve a lot of puzzles as a kid?

My childhood gaming systems were the Atari, Nintendo, and Super Nintendo. I was in high school by the time I managed to get my hands on a PlayStation. I played a lot of Mario games, my favorite being Super Mario Bros 3. Also in my “frequently played” stack: Street Fighter, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country 2, Chrono Cross, Ironsword, Mickey Mousecapade [sigh], Evil Zone, DDR….and the list goes on.

What was it about Professor Layton and the Last Specter that got you hooked?

The story and art are what first drew me in, the animation sequences are gorgeous and the story kept you guessing. What also kept me playing was the fact that it was on the DS. I could go lay in bed and play, I can sit on a bus and play, I could sit outside and play. You can do a few puzzles and then put it down, and you can save at any time.

I went through an “Animal Crossing” phase last year and would play every single day. As a gift, I got the same game, but this time for the Wii. I enjoyed it for awhile, but I can’t even remember when I last played. The logistics of the DS better suit my needs as a gamer (especially when the room that the Wii and the other consoles are in is consistently an ice box. BRRR).

Did you have a favorite or least favorite puzzle?

My favorite puzzles were probably the ones I spent the most time solving. I started to get wise to the way they would fool you into choosing the wrong answer. Sometimes the answer would come too easy and you find yourself second-guessing. Always check out that negative space!

I heard a rumor that this game made you cry. Without getting too spoilery, wanna tell the world about that? Were you surprised by how emotionally connected you were to Luke, Emmy, and Layton’s adventure?

I actually can’t really go into it, basically ANYTHING I say will be spoilery. Though, if you know me well, and I know you do, you’ll know at which point that it was, that is when you finally get there. [HURRY UP, I wanna talk to someone about it!!] :)

[ED. NOTE: I'm almost done with the game, I promise!]

This is the first videogame in some time that you’ve finished completely. What other games have you similarly devoured?

A lot of the games I play don’t seem to ever have real endings to them. When I played Animal Crossing, I kind of eventually stopped playing because I was pretty much done with it. Though, I did recently pick up Dragon Quest again, so hopefully now that I finally know where I’m going… I can continue and finish the game.

Most of the games I’ve played to the end were NES or SNES games and a handful of PlayStation games. My shame keeps me from listing them all.

How many hint coins do you estimate you used?

Hmmm, I’d say maybe 40 or 50? I stored a lot for a while, and I had up to 90 towards the end, I started using them then, when things got a bit more tricky.

Interested in seeing more of the series? You have the opportunity to now play them out in chronological order.

Of course! That’s the plan and I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Thanks for the interview! But before you leave, can you solve this puzzle I came up with…?

C. The answer is C.

And that’s a wrap!

London Life Pauly, and the living’s easy

Have I gone into any long musings yet about London Life, the so-called mini-RPG bonus loaded with over 100 hours of gaming included with Professor Layton and the Last Specter? ::scans Grinding Down‘s archives:: Hmm…looks like a resounding no. For shame! I’ve lost a lot of Happiness.

First, let’s take a look at London Life Pauly in all his snazziness:

Pretty impressive, right? That snazzy top hat just melts your eyes. Normally, I like dressing in fairly bland clothing, the day-to-day stuff like a single-colored polo shirt or something flannel, but that 60 Formality really helps me get inside some of the fancier places in Little London, such as the casino. And you kind of want to get inside everywhere, as it opens up more quests, jobs, and people to mingle with. Let me set this all up a little better.

In London Life, you create an avatar and spend the majority of your days and nights talking with citizens, doing fetch quests for them, buying clothing, decorating your room, fishing, and earning money by completing a number of miscellaneous jobs. If it sounds a lot like Animal Crossing: Wild World, it’s because it is, with a few differences, some better and some worse: you don’t have a mortgage to pay off because you live in a tiny, small apartment studio; citizens in Little London do not really live lives, staying in their respective spots during the day and night times, speaking the same lines of dialogue over and over; and you have to be aware of your avatar’s Happiness, which I guess is a way to keep them alive. I’ve not yet run out of Happiness–though I’ve come dangerously close after some bad spouts of fishing–so I don’t really know what happens when the meter hits zero, but I don’t want to find out. A happy avatar lives better, they say. And there’s plenty to be happy about…

For starters, the writing in London Life is fantastic. And most has to do with the small observations or the flavor text for items, fish, flowers, furniture, and so on. There’s humor to be found in everything. Your avatar can basically examine anything he or she sees, and is rewarded with some text for it. Not just “It’s a desk.” This same level of attention to minutiae is prominently in Professor Layton and the Last Specter, found when tapping around the screen, and it’s greatly welcomed here. The music’s bubbly and bouncy, appropriate for each place you go into. And the graphics…my god, the spritework! It’s just heavenly, and it’s also amazing how well defined different items of clothing can be with just some simple sprites.

Okay, let’s take a look at my cramped living quarters, too:

Used to have a roommate, but he wasn’t down with my toy and stuffed animal collection, so he left. Toodles to him. Little London Pauly collects what he wants, when he wants. Not sure what the benefits of a roommate are, and I guess we share a bed Scott Pilgrim/Wallace Wells style, but whatever. With him gone, it just means I have more space to put stuff down. Such as a stack of books I recently bought. Yay!

I don’t know if there’s actually 100 hours of gaming in London Life, and I don’t really know how many I’ve already spent so far–maybe around six or seven–but there’s definitely a lot of things to do, and it’s just so dang charming that I’m going to keep on doing them until the charm wears off, which will most likely be after I stop getting newspapers full of quests every morning. Will try to check back in again, especially if I’m able to move into a larger pad or if I figure out how to open up that mysterious LOST-like hatch. Since the game is still so new and relatively obscure, there’s not a lot of info out there, which is actually kind of cool. It’s been some time since I’ve had to really figure something out for myself…

30 Days of Gaming, #6 – Most annoying character

Hmm…something about this feels familiar. Oh, right. That’s because last November, I wrote up a little post about my top five most annoying videogame sidekicks, focusing in on the sidekicky aspect of the business. I mean, adventuring into the unknown is one thing, but doing it with a chatty brat is another. Sure, any of those could easily get smashed into bits by today’s 30 Days of Gaming topic train, but I decided to think some more and found a few other contenders. And we’re going with Tom Nook, simply for his sheer audacity to never, ever change.

Tom Nook is a raccoon tanuki that runs a shop called Nook’s Cranny in your town in all versions of Animal Crossing. He starts out as a nice fella, giving you a home to live in. One small caveat though: you’ll have to pay him for it, and he’s okay with payments over time, so long as you eventually pay it off. Once you do, he’ll expand your house, opening up more rooms to decorate…so long as you keep paying him, too. That’s fine. That’s kind of how it works in real life, minus the talking raccoon, I think.

Where he gets truly annoying is in his shop. You enter Nook’s Cranny (clean thoughts, dear readers!), and he welcomes you, and gives you a list of options. You do your things, peruse his wares, and leave, but not before he can get the last word in: “Thank you! Do come again! I look forward to seeing you!” You can never just enter and leave uninhibited, like countless RPGs that let you waltz into that potions shop, knock over some bottles, and leave before anyone notices. No, not at Nook’s Cranny. Not in Nook’s book. He will greet you, he will part with you. He never breaks form. He’s like that Obama smile video. He’s like braindead. He’s like…overtly annoying.

And then he follows you around the store, like a used cars salesman, like a true furniture pusher, like an ex-lover with a vengeance. You can run rings around his desk of player tools, but he’ll catch up to you eventually. Unfortunately, the only way to determine what some of the wallpapers/carpets are is to ask him, and you have to then mash the buttons until you can get him to stop.

You want more? Evidently, after you’ve fully upgraded his shop to Nookington’s, Tom will randomly ask you some questions, and the wrong answers will result in him downgrading the store back to its original format. All that shopping…for nothing.

I’m pretty excited about all the possibilities that Animal Crossing 3DS could hit on the head, but if Tom Nook is around, well, I’m gonna be several hundred thousand bells short of excitement.

Stumbling into Animal Crossing’s pitfall yet again

Hi, my name is Paul, and I used to be heavily addicted to Animal Crossing: Wild World. It was the kind of thing that overtook me swiftly, silently, softly; I would go to bed playing it and wake eager to play it again. My lunch hour was not about eating food, but rather using that time wisely to interact with my town’s villagers, find fossils, and collect whatever bugs/fish were only available at such a time. If asked what my Saturday night plans were, I’d have to figure out a solid way to lie and not reveal that I was going to see K.K. Slider play and get a new song for my red boombox.

Yes, it was that kind of addiction, but I did eventually overcome it. This was, naturally, only after I had done everything possible in the game: 100% bugs found, 90% fish caught (curse you, Coelacanth!), all fossils found, all true paintings donated, a good percentage of my item list filled out, house fully paid off and filled with kick-ass furniture. All that and more. Deep down, despite still playing it even after the fact, I knew the magic grip was loosening, and eventually I did wean myself away, passing the cartridge on to Tara to get addicted to.

At some point last year, my wife got Animal Crossing: City Folk for the Wii, and I watched her set it up, doing the same meaningless tasks for Nook to get started. It didn’t look any different gameplay-wise than what I had already spent a year obsessing over, and so I ignored it, uninterested, disappointed, especially with the slim new offerings like going to the city. I decided to wait for a true sequel.

And then something happened a few months ago: I started to play it every day or so, only for about 15 minutes. It’s a great distraction. It’s a nice change of pace after stabbing assassins or shooting aliens or staring at RPG stat screens for far too long. I told myself that it wasn’t a race, and that if I didn’t pay off my house as soon as possible that the (animal) world would not end. I found myself enjoying just running around and methodically rebuilding my collections (only going after what I wanted then at the moment versus buying everything just to have everything), and once I started gathering Mario-themed items from floating presents, well, I knew I was back. At least for a bit. Until the Nintendo 3DS version drops, of course:

Granted, the magical hold is definitely not as tight as before, but I am excited now that winter has ended in-game to get my net out and collect some fun insects.