With a month to go to the release of the new Animal Crossing game for the Switch, the hype is certainly building up — at least, I see a lot of people being excited over on Twitter. I’ve never really played any ‘tend & befriend’ games, and I am wary of the time-bound aspects: I do not want a game to dictate my schedule, I’ll play when I feel like it. Years ago, I played a kingdom sim where you’d plant crops that would ripen in 8 hours, but would have rotted on the stalk after 2 hours more, so you had to act within that two-hour window. I uninstalled the game (can’t even remember what it was called) and never invested in such a game again.
And AC does have real-time aspects to it, like everyone you meet has a birthday, and if you interact with them on that day, something special happens. Or certain events only occur within a certain time period. But since there is no ‘win condition’ (that is: you don’t seem to ‘finish’ the game), that’s not a problem — it’s not a ‘progress blocker’. And I’ve found through playing Pokemon GO that I don’t suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) in such games: if I don’t catch that one ‘mon during that one event, then that’s fine with me, really. So I think I can deal with it.
I’m used to playing games with clear objectives, that you can ‘finish’ once a whole chain of objectives have been cleared. AC doesn’t seem to be like that, and it is really all about building relationships with the ‘villagers’. And that is its own appeal: Pocket Camp is amazingly affirmative. You pick fruit off the tree and give it to a friend, and they say something like “Wow, are you this generous to all your friends? You are amazing!”
I wonder what it says about our society that we turn to games to get experiences like that. But I do know that it shows there is hope for us yet.Crossposted from my blog. Comment here or at the original post.