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Animal Crossing: Wild World Diary

This is an online diary devoted to Nintendo's "communication game," Animal Crossing: Wild World. In this DS game you live in a woodsy town populated by friendly animals. You can catch insects, dig up fossils, buy and sell hundreds of different items, decorate your house, etc. Animal Crossing runs in real-time, so when it's February 21st in the real world, it's February 21st in the game... meaning that your town will grow and develop over time, go through a year of seasons and weather, and hold special holiday events that you can only experience if you play at the right date and time. Wild World expands upon the original GameCube Animal Crossing, adding WiFi online play.

You can read my diary for the original Animal Crossing here.

entry index for AC Wild World Diary
/ ACWW Diary: Day One / Pulp Crossing / There's a bear in my house. / Last look at the pioneer days. / The Most Convincing Mona Lisa in Play / Best 350 bells I ever spent. / Dover School Board Targets Museum Exhibit / Our first Open Gate Night / The Communication Game / Axes down. / Blancas I Have Known / I don't want any road patterns. / Blanca, Wave 2 / The inevitable haxxoring. / Fossils: Done / Long entry with lots of complaining. / I miss the hinanyago. / Blanca the Third / Lies about the Flower Fest / Sometimes I don't know why I play anymore. / Blanca 4: The Last Stand / New Gifts Coming. Still Peeved. / Surprise! It worked. / Weed World / Nine short stories about Animal Crossing / The Six Common Types of Lousy Animal Crossing Cheats / Finally, something to do. / Blanca 5: The Escape Claus

ACWW Diary: Day One
Tuesday / 12.06.05 / 02:34PM / Joe

I'm standing in line at EB at the local mall at 1:30pm. There are three of us there and only one clerk. It's the manager and she knows her stuff, so I don't mind the short wait. Better than waiting in line because one of the goths who usually mans the register is making weekend plans with the Hot Topic staff across the hall.

In front of me is a 18-25 year old male, dressed in what I would consider the Winter Thug Collection. Wool hat, big puffy jacket. All in dark colors. Stocky dude, mumbles his way through his order.

Behind me is a picture-perfect modern yuppie. Long black overcoat, coiffed hair. Slacks. Probably on a late lunch, or maybe between sales calls.

Then there's me. Messy hair, light fleece jacket, perennially in Casual Friday jeans.

All three of us asked for Animal Crossing: Wild World.

More to come.

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Pulp Crossing
Thursday / 12.08.05 / 12:34AM / Joe

"But you know what the funniest thing about Animal Crossing: Wild World is?"

"What?"

"It's the little differences. A lotta the same junk we got in the GameCube version, they got in Wild World, but there it's a little different."

"Examples?"

"Well, in Wild World, you buy your shirts at Able Sisters'. And I don't mean the borrow/make-a-pattern stuff, I mean they sell shirts and Nook doesn't. In Wild World, you can even buy headgear, like hats and glasses. Also, you know how you identify fossils in Wild World?"

"They don't have the Farway Museum?"

"No, it's not in your mail list, they wouldn't know what the Farway Museum is."

"So how do you do it?"

"Blathers can identify them himself. Took a course."

"Blathers took a course. What about the fish list?"

"Lots more fish to catch. Last night I caught eight new ones in a row, no repeats."

"What about the bugs?"

"I dunno, Nook hasn't sold a bug net yet. But you know what Kapp'n does instead of running the boat to your Game Boy island?"

"What?"

"Drives a cab."

"Dang!"

"I seen 'im do it. He drives you into your town and does the initial player setup instead of Rover."

In the day-and-a-half that I've had ACWW, I really haven't done all that much. Which is classic Animal Crossing; you can't do much at once. I've done the Nook tutorial chores, bought a fishing rod and a shovel, experimented with the new ways to use patterns, found a handful of items old and new, and tore down Tortimer's flag and turned it into a hat. That last item is about as disrespectful as you can get.

I'm a little iffy on stylus control. It's great for inventory and menu uses and it greatly speeds up all the text conversations... but it's kinda gimpy in the exterior view. Through clicking and dragging, you can pick up stuff on the forest floor, shake trees, talk to villagers... but it's more likely you'll just walk in place or trigger your tool accidentally. And you definitely don't want to use the stylus if you intend to fish, because it's easier to run under stylus control and we all know what running does to nearby fishies. Thankfully, the game lets you use both stylus and buttons simultaneously, so it's no big options-setting deal if you want to switch around.

Of course I had Copper assign me a friend code:

0172 4055 1713

While I was there, I checked in with Booker's lost and found (and got a pack of SMB3 Paper!) With no police station, you don't have the big tables full of stuff to browse. I guess the new lost and found is hidden in Booker's pocket. Similarly, there's no junkyard, so there goes the usual Animal Crossing career path of dumpster diver.

I'm willing to entertain all visitors who are interested, so send me your friend codes or post them to the message board. Both parties (you and me) have to enter the codes in ahead of time before we can visit each other's towns. My town (Adamsvil) has oranges as the native fruit, so stop on by to ward off the scurvy.

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There's a bear in my house.
Friday / 12.09.05 / 01:26AM / Joe

I discovered three new cool things today about ACWW. Plus I had some fun using the game's online system.

1. I don't know what kind of creature Dr. Shrunk is supposed to be, but he reminds me of the Heffalumps from Winnie-the-Pooh. He's a random visitor, like Saharah or Wendell (how are we supposed to know when these folks are showing up?!) and he gives out emotions. Today, I received shyness.

What that means is that your character can perform the same silly visual emotion animations that the animals can do. I hope that you can eventually get some of the cooler ones, like the horwf-horwf-horwf laughter or the bit where the single leaf blows across their heads. Compared to emotions like that, blushing isn't that impressive.

2. Villagers will walk into your house. I was talking to Pinky, a recent addition to Adamsvil and she said "Hey, I'd like to see your interior decorating." I said "Sure," figuring she would cop out, as they did every time something like this came up in the first Animal Crossing. (Remember "Let's start a soccer team!" followed by "Gosh, I'm not really that good at sports..." thus dashing all hopes of a surprise soccer minigame.) But instead, Pinky asked for a specific time she can come over and the screen changed to an interactive clock! So I told her to come over in an hour, she would refuse anything sooner than that.

And in an hour, there was a knock on the door and Pinky walked in. (I made sure I was in my house at the time.) She talked about how much she liked the place and then meandered about aimlessly. It got awkward after a couple minutes. I was guessing she would give me something awesome, a rare item, so I was waiting for something to happen. Nothing did, so I left and she got pissed. Still not sure if I bungled that one or not.

3. You can send letters to yourself in the future. Weird. On your address list, it says "future self" and when you send that letter, the Post Office staff asks when you would like that letter to be delivered. I chose a year from now. So next December, I'm going to get a dopey letter from me. I even attached the cheapest seashell I could find.

Multiplayer went better than I thought. I exchanged friend codes and set up a time with two other guys, Mr. Snap and Johnny. Once you and your friend(s) have registered each other, then the systems look for each other's availability online. The only snag is that you should arrange who is hosting, because it's two different menu options to "visit elsewhere" or "allow visitors here." If you want to travel out of your town, Copper opens up a window that I assume is constantly refreshing as it looks for open towns. While this is going on, you can't do anything else. However, if you want people to visit your town, you just tell Copper to throw open the gate. This does not freeze you in place, so you're able to continue whatever you were doing. When a friend sees your open gate (they have to be in waiting-to-travel mode), they can enter your town and you get a happy warning when they walk in.

I first travelled to Johnny's village, Pickles, where I took a handful of pears and sent some letters to a couple of his villagers. Then I went home and opened my gate, and Johnny and Snap soon joined me. There was general amiable chatting, some oohs and aahs over our clothing and items, and they managed to buy most of Nook's (and the Able Sisters') available wares.

I noticed some slowdown (!) as all three of us ran around, particularly on the tool actions like digging or picking something up. Snap warned me that the online mode can sometimes lag out and force a shutdown, so it's wise for the host to save often. And sure enough, a couple minutes after I saved, we hit a bad lag patch and the fun was ended. Anything that happened after my save was lost, so hopefully the guys had grabbed their Adamsvil Home-Grown Oranges in time! ACWW doesn't seem to want to penalize you for a non-saved shutdown in the way that the GCN version did, although Mr. Resetti does appear on the "Oh crap you lagged out to all hell" bluescreen.

So I'm officially starting a players' group. I'm going to open my gate every Thursday around 8pm EST, and all mutual friends are welcome. Right now, nobody has much to do, but once people start figuring out what furniture they're looking for, it should be more interesting. Since you can potentially hook up with a ton of fellow players, I think the average gamer has a shot at completing the catalog this time. Plus we could use it to arrange Mario Kart matches.

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Last look at the pioneer days.
Saturday / 12.10.05 / 05:14PM / Joe

Veteran Animal Crossing players know that nothing stays the same. "Everything changes," as the song goes.* So since my Nookstore is closed for remodeling today, I thought I'd snap some pics of Adamsvil in the early days. Maybe I should have sepia-toned them, that would have been funny.

So here's my modest home with my custom icon doormat. That's me in my current favorite gear: cow skull + SARS mask + poncho. That jerk Lyle is walking around; he ambushed me as soon as I walked out of my house this morning. He claims to sell insurance, but he wouldn't say exactly what the insurance means, and his name makes me think I shouldn't trust him. He initially asked for 6,000 bells, but he cut it down to 3,000 bells a minute later. Unfortunately for him, with Nook's closed for the day, I don't have any way to generate that kind of money. (I travelled to see John H. in Beantown, but even his Nook's was closed today!)

Lyle's dialogue is actually pretty darn amusing.

You just don't get much space in these starter homes. You do, however, get like 90 storage slots for your home once you find a dresser. These slots are shared for all dressers you own, sort of like the inventory boxes in classic Resident Evil. I wonder what happens to your stuff if you pick up or sell your last dresser?

I think the coolest bit of furniture I own is that Lucky Cat. Somebody in town gave that to me.

Do you like my Mario moustache? It's pretty swanky with that outback hat, I know. Want to wager there's a Mario cap in the game somewhere?

Here's a shot of Nook's Cranny, since tomorrow he'll have changed it into something else. Eventually, I'd like to see Nook merge with the tailor shop and make a mall. And where's the movie theater? I seem to recall the villagers begging for one back in the first game.

That's the triangle glasses and the witch's hat. WEASLEY IS OUR KING!

Here's my town map, in case you never visit. During the Kapp'n taxi ride, I told him that I liked shopping, so that's why my house is so close to Nook's. Not a bad position... Nook's south, town hall north, museum west. I also like having an island down by the river delta.

The map lists villagers according to when they moved in, so, as you can see, Dora, Blaire and Rod are my first three. On the GameCube, animals moved whenever you travelled to another town... thankfully that doesn't seem to be the case in Wild World, or I'd have an entire new population by now. The animals all have hobbies now as well, so maybe they stick around longer so you can indulge their personal interests better.

*The song being "Everything Changes" from the album "2BA Master, Songs from and Inspired by the World of Pokemon." If you listen with a critical ear, you can see how they use pokemon evolution as a death metaphor for kids. SPOILER.

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The Most Convincing Mona Lisa in Play
Monday / 12.12.05 / 08:52PM / Joe

That ass Redd sold me a forged painting!

Tonight I saw Redd's tent for the first time. (It seems like every day you get one of the wanderers... so far I've had Lyle, Shrunk, Redd... and Blanca three times, more about her in a bit.) Redd's joint is now members only, so you have to figure out his password from one your villagers, which is a pain. Inside he had a desk lamp, a fire hydrant, and a famous painting... the one that looks like the Mona Lisa. I bought them all for about 1500, 2500 and 3500 bells. I don't know which, if any, are Redd exclusives, because I'm trying to avoid online spoilers and strategy guides for as long as I can. (Took about two months on the GameCube version. Frowny.)

So I'm kinda excited about the painting, because that's the first one I've seen and I'd like to donate it to the museum. But when I take it down to Blathers, he informs me that it is a fraud! Like, Shroud of Turin fraud! He refuses the donation. And now the painting's title in my inventory comes up "forged painting" instead of "famous painting." I decided to display the contraband in my house - the knuckleheads who live in Adamsvil won't know it's a fake - but I wonder if Nook would spot that it is phony and deny me any good money for selling it. I went back to Redd to bitch, but he wouldn't talk about it, the lying thief.

Speaking of money, I went to visit Biff in Megaton tonight and his tailor shop had a crown on sale for 1000000 bells. A million bells! Now that's status.

Somewhat relatedly, I'm making sure I talk to Sable every day, so I can crack her surly shell. In GCAC, she would eventually get to like you after weeks of brushing you off. Then she would talk about how her and Mabel's parents died and how tough they had it growing up. Maybe we'll get a similar soliloquy in ACWW.

Now, about Blanca. Instead of meeting her randomly on the train, Blanca now just shows up, presumably as randomly as Wendell, Redd and the rest. What's cool is that she always has a new face designed by somebody out there in the Wild World (unless the game is completely misleading me.) The faces I've seen certainly look like silly handmade work, anyway. Plus, she always names the person and town who made it, and it's names I've never heard before (and not obvious Nintendo-planted names like on the default patterns at the tailor shop.) She also recites a word that was given to her by that person. I've had her three times now, and each time I've sent her back off into the internet with a red and green Dred head icon and the word "www.fourhman.com" in her vocabulary. I'd love to know where that ends up.

And speaking of viral marketing, ACWW has a new form of mail called bottle mail. It is special mail that you jam into a bottle and set adrift into the sea on the south end of town. So I've been writing letters that say "To Some Stranger: www.fourhman.com <-- my ACWW diary and more! Email me when you receive this bottle! (MM/DD/YY) Joe@fourhman.com" I've done this a bunch of times as well. I'm not sure if the bottle transfers to anywhere across the planet like I think Blanca does, or if it only goes to players you meet during travelling or while in tag mode. I'd also like to know if opened bottle mail can be tossed back out, so that anybody who gets my bottle could read it and then send it on again. And I've made my letter signature "Joe@fourhman.com" so the animals I write will have my email on any letters they show to other players. However it all works, it would be fun to get RL email from strangers who have seen my website/address from inside Animal Crossing.

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Best 350 bells I ever spent.
Wednesday / 12.14.05 / 01:21PM / Joe

As I mentioned last time, I've been getting into seeing how I can get ACWW to pimp my website. So this morning I thought I'd try some more custom patterns to advertise the various goings-on at fourhman.com. First up: Fatal Frame: the Card Game. I chose one of my favorite shots from the game, a big frightened closeup of Mio, and got to work.

I first heard about this waaaaay back on IGN's Animal Crossing board... when some guy posted a couple of great screenshots of his own picture used as an in-game pattern. I was annoyed I hadn't thought of it myself, since I'm in Photoshop all the damn time. The trick is to take an image and get Photoshop to pixelate it until it hits that 32x32 resolution and grayscale it so you can use AC's grayscale palette. I suppose you could have Photoshop approximate one of the other palettes, but sticking to grayscale is far easier. I believe that somebody eventually created a Windows app that does the same thing, plus that gave online AC user groups an easy way to share the pattern design ideas.

Here's what the image looked like in Photoshop. I got the image close enough to 32x32 to work, then set down some guiderules every 5x5 square. You need to do something like that to keep from going insane. Then I indexed the colors and opened up the Color Table so I could see the exact 16-pixel spread from white to black, with all the grays inbetween. Using the eyedropper, I clicked on a square on the image, and the Color Table showed me which of the 16 shades to use.

Back in Wild World, I started with a black background and stepped off white dots every five pixels. Then I filled in one 5x5 square at a time. I used the stylus to select colors (based on Photoshop's Color Table) and I used the d-pad and A button to lay them in, one dot at a time. For precision work like this, you have to use the d-pad. The stylus is great for freehand but it's not suited for pixel-accurate designs. The pixels are simply too small, unless you have a supremely steady hand.

The only problem I encountered was that the AC palette uses 15 shades and Photoshop was showing me 16. So I cheated on the white end of the spread, but it is impossible to tell in the finished product.

I put the finished pattern up in Mabel's shirt display, even though it makes a lousy shirt. However, now anyone who visits Adamsvil can grab a copy of it! (And if any wiseasses try to delete it, I'll always have the original in my own personal inventory.)

I placed it on the ground by the Town Gate, where I eventually may stick a TaleSpin image to balance out the promotional set. It looks really nice in person!

The whole project took about an hour and a half, most of that being the laborious process of clicking on the Mac and inserting the proper colors into ACWW. I can tell you I am now pretty damn sick of the French cafe music that plays while you're in the tailor shop.

Incidentally, Sable is now totally crushing on me. Maybe I'm working up to a discount or something.

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Dover School Board Targets Museum Exhibit
Thursday / 12.15.05 / 02:20AM / Joe

ADAMSVIL, ANIMAL CROSSING - Intelligent Design proponents in Pennsylvania have launched a new campaign to get the controversial theory "equal time" in the county's education system, this time targeting the Adamsvil Museum's fossil exhibit.

Members of the former Dover School Board, recently ousted by a meager majority of voters in the November election, have formed a private citizens' group in order to further their message. Having been forced to abandon the struggle in the Dover school system, the group has now turned their attentions to the Adamsvil Museum, a popular field trip location. The Museum became a target shortly after Joe, a relatively new resident in the community, unearthed and donated a fossil of the prehistoric human known colloquially as "Peking Man."

Blathers, the Museum's longtime manager and archivist, was reportedly ecstatic with the donation as almost all fossils of this type have been located near Beijing, China. That a Peking Man sample could be found in Adamsvil - and so near to the surface as to be uncovered with a simple garden shovel - was "astonishing," according to Blathers. "Hoo hoo! Adamsvil is fortunate that we have many eras of the fossil record available for our study," he continued. "Why, almost every day the Museum receives fossil donations for our exhibit! It's enough to make one quite giddy!"

Blathers's archival comments on "Peking Man" specifically addressed the connection "between ape and man," as he quaintly put it. "Peking Man" is commonly cited as one of the evolutionary steps that led to human beings as we exist today. Evolution, a scientific theory first investigated by Charles Darwin in the 1800s, suggests that organisms pass on certain traits from generation to generation that affect the overall population and may result in the emergence of new species. Intelligent Design, in contrast, states that organisms are too complex to have developed naturally over time and must have been created by a guiding, intelligent force. This "force" is often understood - but not necessarily named - to be God and critics of the theory say efforts like the Dover School Board's are simply an underhanded way to get religious messages into the classroom.

The Board has long been suspicious of the Adamsvil Museum's scientific bias, as the dinosaur wing plainly and matter-of-factly discusses Earth's age as measured in billions of years... not the 4000 to 8000 years usually quoted by theologians. The Board's spokeperson also pointed out that Blathers gained his fossil-identifying skills through a correspondence course and that he is therefore suspect in his scope and accuracy.

When asked for comment, local businessman Tom Nook expressed his outrage at the Dover School Board's "obvious agenda of narrow-minded, ham-fisted tyranny."

"Not only have they built their platform on the shallow ravings of the 'Left Behind' pop-theology set, and sought to demean a universally accepted and researched theory and by extension science in general, but they also want to cast aside one of our nation's most hallowed traditions: that the state shall raise no religion or philosophy above any other... because in America, all schools of thought are welcome, yes?" Nook said. "Quite frankly, I'm annoyed that these masters of loopholery didn't put their energies towards something blatantly abhorrent, like the Neo Nazi convention that blows through town every so often. Where were these 'guardians of common sense' back when York Mayor Charlie Robertson was getting off scot-free in the Race Riot case? If you're going to attack the Constitution, you might as well pick on something that everybody already hates, like the free speech and assembly of bigots, instead of parading against the sum knowledge of our world's most learned men and women. Talk about the emperor having no clothes!"

Dora, an amateur gardener browsing the Nook-N-Go for new seed packets, added "And in the end, it's not really about making sure kids have equal access to lots of different theories, is it? It's just that the one theory they like - and let's call it creationism because that's what it is, you don't see them out them championing any Hindu theories about the world being balanced on the backs of elephants, do you? - it's that the teaching of evolution just cuts their beliefs right off at the knees. They've probably spent their entire life gritting their teeth because their kids learned one thing on Sunday and then an entirely different thing Monday through Friday! This is just a childish, mean-spirited attempt to change the rules of a game that they aren't even smart enough to play. Squeaky!"

"And besides," Nook continued, "It's not like Blathers couldn't include a religious studies exhibit someday. Just separate from the fossil wing. Although I hear he's pretty strapped for funding since that silly telescope went in, not to mention the coffee bar. And if that's not good enough, there's always, for crying out loud, the six billion private schools all over the state, you see? Where does the Dover School Board get off acting like they're the ones with their backs to the wall? Two thousand years of oppression says otherwise!"

At the moment, however, Blathers has no plans to expand the Adamsvil Museum, and says the actions of the Dover School Board are not of great concern. "We are, ah, woefully underdeveloped at the moment, with a desperate need to complete the exhibits we do have, let alone adding new ones," he stated. "The fault seems to lie in the fact that fishing lures always float south while the fish always float north, and that there is no longer any way to tiptoe and 'hold' the bug net in place high in the air so as to get the drop on an errant insect! Nasty creatures, I say! Wot wot!"

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Our first Open Gate Night
Thursday / 12.15.05 / 11:12PM / Joe

Thanks to Nook's stupid pigeon brain, he chose Adamsvil's first Open Gate Night to renovate his store. I really hate how fast Nook goes through his store upgrades. At the least, the progression of Nook's Cranny to Nook-n-Go to Nookway to Nookington's should run over a couple months... not two weeks. His upgrades are triggered by how much you spend, which must not be much because I haven't been buying him out every day. I would have added a time frame requirement as well, like you have to have each Nook variant around for a full month before it accepts the money trigger. Everything else in Animal Crossing takes an eternity to happen, so it's weird that Nook barrels through his subplot in record time.

Therefore, I had the unfortunate task of telling all of my guests tonight that Nook was closed. Jerkstore.

The guestlist tonight included Eli, Cutter, Grant, Gregory, Marci and Mr. Snap. That's Cutter, me, Grant and Gregory in the picture. Cutter was building a fort in Adamsvil's little south-central island, hence all the holes you can see in the screenshot.

Marci brought me a Big Bro's Cap... better known as a Mario hat. She also unknowingly gave me one of her constellations! That must be another WiFi feature that just happens.

We did a lot of drop-picking, where somebody lets you temporarily borrow their gear. The way Animal Crossing works is that once you touch an item, it is unlocked in your Nook catalog so you can order additional copies of that item at any time. When somebody lets you touch their cap or shirt or whatever, they're essentially unlocking the item for you, free of charge. Through a twisted little exchange where everybody stripped down and dropped items everywhere for some quick drop-picking, I scored a Li'l Bro's Cap, which is obviously Luigi's hat. Then everybody gathered their own belongings and proceeded to goofing around.

EVERYONE has the shyness emote... how can that be?

Had a couple lag-outs, where somebody's WiFi breaks connection and grenades everyone's game. It forces a restart and your character reverts to the last save when it happens, so I was doing a lot of saving while I had a posse of folks running around. Around 9:30pm, Adamsvil crapped out so I went to see the towns of Grant (Anima) and Gregory (Tuck Bay) after the restart. Then a little later I opened my gate again to see if any West Coasters were about, which is when Mr. Snap showed up... only to find that stinking Nook was closed.

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The Communication Game
Tuesday / 12.20.05 / 08:41PM / Joe

Every day I talked to her, I got a little closer to Sable. When you first enter the Able Sisters tailor shop. Mabel does all the clerking while sable just grunts at you. She's busy, she doesn't mingle with the customers. Gradually, you can get her to open up... and she tells you about the difficult time the Able girls had growing up.

It's an unexpectedly sad story. Sable shares some maudlin memories and winds up treating you quite a bit nicer since you're such a good listener.

I only made three custom patterns, so I'm reasonably sure this is attached simply to your efforts to communicate with Sable.

The Able Sisters' backstory was in the GameCube Animal Crossing... but I think the psychoanalysis of Blathers is new to Wild World.

I'm not sure what triggered it, but I walked in on Blathers in a reflective mood one morning. Normally, the dude is asleep when you enter the Museum in daylight hours... but this time he was clearly down in the dumps. I talked to him and received a strange conversation about why he hates insects so much. The exchange ends with him more or less upbeat about his phobia, so I don't think it will play out as long or as thoroughly as the Sable chat.

And then there's this little darling: Katie. She's been in my town for two days now, just standing in a tree grove crying. She wants to be back to her mommy in Anima, the town I entered last Thursday to visit Grant. When I talked to her, she followed me around for a bit, in anticipation of me heading out the gate to go to Anima. Unfortunately, Grant didn't have his town open when I tried, so Katie is still lost with me in Adamsvil. Grant, I hope I run into you again - and I hope Katie sticks around until I do - because I want to see what amazing thing happens when I reunite her with her mother.

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Axes down.
Friday / 12.30.05 / 12:38AM / Joe

Here's what it looks like when you reunite the lost kitten with her equally lost mother. Grant and I were happy to arrange this delightful scene, although it didn't net us any super-rare Lost Kitten furniture series or anything. The next day, I received a Lily Pad Table in the mail, which was about the third most common item back on the GameCube.

I wonder how often this is set to happen. I've been meeting up with people online pretty often, and I would hate to have to go through this every month, despite it being really cute.

Other notable ACWW news: Nook continued his fast-paced upgrade schedule and I am now at the Nookington's level. This Nookington's is about twice as big as the GameCube Nookington's, plus it has a hair salon in the back. The building is gigantic, towering over the Able Sisters next door. As if Sable didn't have enough of a complex!

My first haircut was terrible. My second haircut was okay. My third haircut is a blue DBZ number that is probably as amazing as it is likely to get. (Here's a haircut cheat sheet that shows all the options.)

Had a marathon Open Gate Night tonight (three hours!), featuring visits by Cutter, Champtim, Marci, Kevin, Boney and Matti. I believe I have formed my first Open Gate Night rule: if you chop down a tree, you get un-Friended. Maybe not forever, but there is definitely to be a penance period.

Boney stopped by with an armload of awesome headgear and accessories to share, including the King Tut Wig that I was drooling over when I saw it in the Nintendo Power ACWW writeup. Maybe someday someone will turn up with that million-bell crown or me to briefly touch.

Later, after I closed the gate, I caught a dung beetle... and I ran into Harriet (of the hair salon) enjoying a late night coffee at the museum cafe. I wonder if other daytime characters appear there in their off hours!

Blanca was in town again today, and she had what I thought was a rather nice face. It was created by Asia of Meadows (whom I have never met). From now on, if I have my camera nearby, I'm going to snap shots of the Blanca heads I see. Nice work, Asia!

I have now purchased THREE forged paintings from Crazy Redd, which amounts to almost 10,000 wasted bells. I can't believe Nintendo found a way to make this guy suck even harder than he used to. His new Members Only password scheme is obnoxious too (although I am glad that the passwords now come in the mail rather than having to ferret it out of a random villager conversation.)

The Blathers Saga has continued, much to my surprise. He recently told me about how he can't take Celeste camping because of his bug phobia. I've heard that several other characters have hidden Sagas... like Brewster and Harriet, so I'm talking to them now as well. By the way, the finale for the Sable Saga ends with her giving you a different happy response for every day of the week, which is a long way from the ol' brush-off she gives you before you start her Saga.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Blanca Wild World Diary

Blancas I Have Known
Thursday / 01.12.06 / 12:11AM / Joe

Although I enjoy seeing Blanca designs from around the world, I'm considering turning her off (you can do so with the phone in your bedroom.) I have a sinking suspicion that her appearance in your town takes the place of any other given daily random wanderers... so every day that I get a Blanca means another day that I don't get Wendell or Shrunk or Pascal, etc. I hope I'm wrong about this. Blanca is nice and all, but I don't need her interrupting my ability to get all the rare Saharah items.

So, as promised, here's the FIVE Blanca heads I've seen in a little over one week.

From monkeu of Funktown: Reasonable, simple freehand number. Everybody likes a nice silly face.

Looks like a big clown head; unfortunately makes heavy on the drawing tool's meager stamping features. I do respect the choice of palette #4, one of the stupid color schemes that nobody ever attempts to use. And I like the username: Raven of Azarath!

A bludgeoned Blanca. Unless that's supposed to be red hair; I'm seeing it as blood since the nose has bloody rivulets streaming from it. Peter of Zernushu must feel as I do when he gets Blanca instead of Somebody Awesome With Rare Items.

This one came along with the phrase "im a nerd. deal" which I thought to be nicely passive-aggressive, Luke of Peanut. This is a SpongeBobian design, and as a bonus includes hair. Most people don't bother with hair.

A little too simplistic for my tastes, W3K from Mianus. Not really understanding proper feature placement at all. Also... yes, we get the joke about your town name, you cad.

I'm still sending Blanca on her merry way with a red-and-green Dred Head and the message "www.fourhman.com". I wonder if Nintendo clips that before my Blanca gets to see anyone, due to the questionable URL. I'm sure it's somebody's job to watch Blanca heads fly across the wireless and edit out anybody who draw a wang on the screen... so it doesn't seem like much of a stretch that Nintendo would block a cheap .com message.

Then again, they let Mianus through.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Blanca Wild World Diary

I don't want any road patterns.
Thursday / 01.19.06 / 11:06PM / Joe

Adamsvil's Open Gate Nights continue to be a rousing success. Tonight, there must have been a waiting list to get in, because for the first hour, as soon as somebody left, somebody else walked in. I hope that everybody who has tried to get in has found an open slot. I have a lot of friend codes from players who I haven't seen in town yet, so I hope you just haven't been playing at 8pm EST and not that you saw the maxxed population and gave up. Let me know if you've repeatedly tried and failed!

(Pictured: Marci, Matti, me, Biff)

Most of you must be East Coasters, because it's almost 11pm now, and everybody has left for the night. I'm standing all by myself in Adamsvil amidst a sea of free items to touch.

I'm probably going to claim the ACWW strategy guide as my free gift on my yearly Nintendo Power renewal. You always get a free gift whether you renew for 1 year or for 2, so unless you really value the convenience of renewing for a two-year term, it's mad stupid to do so.

I've picked up a second emotion from Dr. Shrunk: irritation. Although it sounds awesome, it's terrible. Your character just leans inward, narrows his eyes and makes a "boink" noise. Nothing special. I was kinda expecting that irritation would be more like the angry face that villagers give you. Boink!

Here's something cool. Biff was in town and let me temporarily display some secret Nintendo items he picked up from a "friend." Who knows how his buddy got them... glitch, cheat, knows a guy who knows a guy. This is the kind of stuff that Nintendo will start to slow-release into the game once the initial sales rush dies off. Like how they released one special Mario furniture item a month for a year in Nintendo Power back in the GCN version.

What you see in the picture is me and Matti gawking over the Green Pipe (complete with rising piranha plant!) and a trough full of pikmin. If you click the pikmin, the flowertips wave and they make that adorable "pikmin" noise! It's just about the most awesome thing ever.

I've started the red turnip mini-quest by giving Wendell a red turnip. He gave me the country guitar, which I am supposed to give to K.K.

Speaking of Wendell, boy did he get a downgrade. Wendell 1.0 was a wallpaper artist and the source of many rare, exclusive wallpapers. In ACWW, Saharah handles the rare carpets AND wallpapers, leaving Wendell 2.0 in charge of new patterns.

Yes, new patterns. You know, the eight pattern slots that you probably have already filled with your own custom-made creations? Wendell hates your artwork and wants you to replace them with his tiles that look like pieces of highway.

Now, I would love to collect Wendell's road patterns and build a cute roadway through Adamsvil. That would be funny. However, I'm not about to blow out MY patterns that I drew with MY stylus out of MY OWN BRAIN to do it. Way to go, Nintendo. Now we all know the true reason why Wendell is always crying when you see him. He's not hungry; he's bereft of purpose.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Wild World Diary

Blanca, Wave 2
Sunday / 01.22.06 / 07:45PM / Joe

Fresh from the fertile mind of Valsu of Trinsic... the upside down Blanca! I actually didn't get this until I hit the zoom-in; before that I thought it was just another dashed-off Blanca head. Cute idea; bland execution.

Hey SolarKid of SolCity: you really need to try harder.

It looks like Ultigon of Heaven duped his own face onto Blanca's. Nothing wrong with that, just seems a little weak.

Now here's a Blanca! At first glance, it seems sloppy... but I'm betting that it was very carefully crafted. The decorated eye, the moustache, the lower lip... this one is almost a Picasso homage. Nice work, Kamil of Vale.

It's cute, it's symmetrical, it's big, it has a splash of appropriate color. That's pretty much your baseline standard for a good Blanca head. This one is by Alex from Loopy.

Another nice one, from Jack of Ireland. The only problem is that the features center around the nose... I'm of the opinion that the eyeballs should be on that center horizon line.

I have had Blanca show up on days where I have another visitor, so I think the idea is to send Blanca on her way as soon as possible. If you can get her out of there quickly, then you still might receive a wandering vendor later on... even if it's only Lyle.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Blanca Wild World Diary

The inevitable haxxoring.
Friday / 01.27.06 / 01:14AM / Joe

This entry is dedicated to Snake, pictured at right. I always wanted him in my GameCube town but never saw him. He did briefly live in my DS town, and I was grateful for the short time we spent together. Had I bothered to visit him every day, maybe I would have seen him packing and urged him not to move. But I did not, and so now there is a sheep living where Snake's dojo once stood.

The week's excitement in ACWW is not one, but TWO massive game glitches. Kotaku has blurbs on both: the "red tulip" plague starts with a bogus letter in your mailbox, containing a screwed up red tulip item that becomes an invisible, immovable block if you drop it in your house. Further rumors suggest that this was actually a numbskull move from Nintendo - they let an All Players letter slip out before it was ready - and that Nintendo will soon offer restitution to any players affected by the glitchy tulips. Rare furniture please, Iwata-san!

The other one is being attributed to nefarious players, where your town gate suddenly becomes a museum, thus blocking you from heading up to see Copper and go online. The articles that discuss this are all really vague, which doesn't help anyone much at this point. So there's your warning.

Pictured: me, Taylor, Cameron, Daniel. I'm wearing my Village People Tribute gear.

I've had a ton of visitors to my Animal Crossing diaries lately, thanks to some very nice mentions and writeups on memepool, Game Set Watch, Clickable Culture, and Kotaku. My offline Friend List is now beyond full, so I've been juggling codes around to try to give the new requests a chance at getting in to Adamsvil. And it's not because Adamsvil is awesome, not at all. It's because a common refrain I hear in these emails is "I don't know anybody else who has this game, and I don't trust most of the message boards out there."

I take that as a very serious compliment, because I'm in the same boat. First of all, I'm happy to appear as a trusted Animal Crossing commentator... and I agree that the high traffic message boards out there probably have just as many jerky griefers as they have genuine cool players. I wouldn't visit IGN or wherever and beg for Friend Codes. And secondly, were it not for these diaries, I wouldn't have very many people to visit either. It's not like I'm in high school and have a wide circle of DS-wielding friends with which to trade Snowman furniture. There are three names on my Friend List (online and offline) that belong to people I know in real life.

And as we've learned, the fun of Animal Crossing Online is in the sharing. Showing off new items and decorations and patterns. Discussing the strange things that go on in this game. Seeing how each player makes the game his or her own... growing at his or her own pace, creating designs, collecting favorite furniture sets. So the more people you know, the more of the game you get to see.

Speaking of that, what was up with La-Di-Day and Yay Day? Are these non-events supposed to replace all the awesome holidays we had on GCN? Not bloody likely! Instead of collecting special seasonal item sets offered by Jack, Franklin, Jingle and others, we now have regular holidays where no one gets anything. La-Di-Day is pitched as the day to choose a new Town Tune, and all the animals talk to you about it, hoping their tune will be selected. And yet, there was no voting, no discussion, you couldn't even see the tunes the animals were supposedly working on. Did I miss something?

Yay Day was even worse. Everybody just had something nice to say. New built-in text balloons does not a holiday make. What a waste! Where's Tortimer with his special holiday items?!? I'll be interested to see if the Official Nintendo Strategy Guide has any insight on these two events - but it's precisely the kind of thing that Nintendo will never explain, other than to yammer about how much fun it is to compose a new Town Tune. Spare me.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Recommended Wild World Diary

Fossils: Done
Saturday / 02.04.06 / 12:43AM / Joe

I finished off the fossils section of the Museum tonight. 52 fossils in just under two months. If everybody's town generates 1-3 fossils a day, and if everybody is as diligent as I am in digging them up, then I would expect that a lot of Day One Wild Worlders have a full or nearly full dinosaur exhibit right about now.

The last fossil I needed was a Trilobite.

Spoiler: You don't get anything for completing Blathers's fossil collection. Unless something comes in the mail tomorrow, I guess. It would have been nice if Blathers had handed me a rare item to comemmorate the event. When my Official Nintendo Strategy Guide arrives in the mail, I guess I can double-check that. Then again, given the hippie attitude Nintendo has toward Animal Crossing - where it's all "Have fun doing it yourself!" - maybe not. The GameCube strategy guide has a big writeup on NES Punch-Out, for cryin' out loud. And we still have no legit way to get it. Some strategy guides go into insane detail about game mechanics and minutae, covering every possible hidden secret and delicate nuance. Not Animal Crossing. With Animal Crossing, you get a photo guide to the item sets and a lot of vague descriptions about things that might happen. I can't wait to see how all these no-item pseudo holidays stack up against the GameCube's Real American Holidays With Rare Items And Sort-of Minigames.

So far, they don't.

From this week's Open Gate night: Tyler, Matti, me, Marci. That green feather in my hair came from donating over 10,000 bells to the downtrodden denizens of Boondox.

Tyler is sporting the royal crown, which costs a million bells if you bought it from the store. He says a friend gave it to him, but I would wager it was procured through less-than-honorable means... or one helluva week in turnips. Regardless, it is a catalog item (although you can't order it, it does count towards your list); he hadn't been in town for more than a few seconds before we were begging to touch it! So we worked out a trade. Tyler wanted the UFO I had up in my western room: I let him have it free of charge, if he allowed all three of the other people currently in Adamsvil touch his crown. He consented, and the royal crown went around the room like a pack o' Luckies. Catalog +1!

In other news, I had the Lost Kitten sequence again, this time with the mother cat in my town. The kitten was roaming over in Gabby's town of Mooguppy. We met up and reunited the family... and I forget what I received for it. Something amazing, I'm sure.

I did get TWO paintings from Wishy the Star this week, which has to be a crazy coincidence.

Also finished off a mortgage and had Nook put in a house upgrade. Now I have a side room off to the left of my main room that contains a complete Snowman Series decor. And the new upgrade/mortgage is well underway.

And lastly, a link: Old Grandma Hardcore does Animal Crossing!

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Spoiler Wild World Diary

Long entry with lots of complaining.
Friday / 02.10.06 / 12:42AM / Joe

There's spoiler material here, so watch out. Although, as you'll see, it ain't much.

I received my Wild World Player's Guide this week, my free gift for another year of Nintendo Power. It has lots of great pictures, a hip HGTV kind of layout... but the more I paged through it, the more pissed off it made me. Because it doesn't explain much of anything about how the game actually works. As I said previously, Nintendo remains dead-set against anybody knowing anything about Animal Crossing. Even the strategy guide has to stay spoiler-free.

Now, I'm not asking for a complete watchmaker's detail. I don't expect to see every single dialogue tree or an explanation of how the game generates town visitors. But when I pick up a strategy guide, I expect certain layers of game strata to be exposed. I want some secrets revealed, some thorough discussions. And I expect it all to be correct, because that's the chief advantage to buying something official like this as opposed to dredging the internet for info. (Plus the in-theme layout and imagery.) Yes, a book like this is intended to wreck some portion of the game. Pick up a guide for an adventure game and you'll see intricate maps showing every hidden collectible, every weapon upgrade, every secret sidequest. Animal Crossing: Wild World, on the other hand, dismisses every intriguing part with a smile and a wave, glosses over details, and still expects you to roll over and thank Nintendo for the privilege of collecting Gyroids one more time. (Which the book doesn't mention as showing up only after a rain or snowfall.)

What the Player's Guide doesn't explain:

- It doesn't explain how your character's face is determined by the questions Kapp'n asks you at the very beginning of the game. Only the vaguest terms are used: "if you answered all the questions rudely, you might end up with a permanent scowl." Which is, as Teh Intarweb already figured out, not even correct. First of all, what is the "rude" response to "I've had about enough of this here rain!", when your only choices are "Me, too!" and "I like it!"? And I don't see any faces that I would classify as a permanent scowl. Your avatar's face is awfully important, because that's one thing in this game that you can't change later. Who wants to play with a face that they hate? A proper face guide should definitely have been in this stupid book.

- Same goes for Harriet's hairstyles, which is also covered in merest detail and with only a sample of photos. You can get a new hairstyle each day, so it's at least changeable if you hate it... but at the cost of 3000 bells and you'd still need to dope out the dialogue tree to hone in on something you like. Also, the guide makes no mention of how a male character can "unlock" female hairstyles, and vice versa.

- The concept of a "perfect" town is handled in one tiny paragraph, with no discussion on how to accomplish it. It would have been simple to include a list of Pelly's hints and explain how best to fulfill them.

- There's no strategy offered for catching bees.

- For all the branding Nintendo did for the first AC as a "communication game," there's very little devoted to that in ACWW. There's almost nothing said about maintaining friendships with your town's animal villagers. Nothing about how to keep them from moving out (the only way I've personally found is to go inside each animal's home and see if any of them have their stuff packed in boxes, and then talk them out of moving), nothing about how they "read" letters (if at all in this one), and nothing about how to encourage them to give you their Pictures, which are one the game's rarest item sets and just about completely unmentioned.

- The blurb on Lyle doesn't say what he charges for his insurance nor what his payout is for signing up. Small detail, but why overlook it?

- Next to no info on buying turnips. No insight into the usual range that white turnips can sell for. No number quoted for a well-watered red turnip. And they even screwed up the traditional "stalk market" pun by calling it the "stock market" instead. (And yes, they put it in quotes.)

- No full display of Wendell's patterns. I've talked about how I hate the new Wendell procedure already, but it might be easier to swallow if I saw the awesome assortment of patterns I could get from him. Nope. The only interesting detail here - and it's exactly the kind of thing that I would want from a player's guide - is that the kind of food you give him determines a sub-class of patterns that he will choose from. For example, giving him fruit will get you a retro-Nintendo pattern of some sort.

- No full list of the emotions you receive from Dr. Shrunk, and no explanation of how many you can hold at a time. The chat keyboard only has room for four emotion buttons. If I talk to Shrunk again, will I have to replace one of those four? Will he magically make another panel for my keyboard, one dedicated to all emotions? Will he simply stop offering emotions? Nobody knows, least of all the Player's Guide.

- There is no mention at all of the obnoxious furniture limit that you get inside your house. You can't fill up every available square in ACWW like you used to on the GameCube. There is an unspecified limit, and the game bitches at you if you try to drop something over that limit. It's not discussed in the book.

- Feng Shui is still as vague as ever. The various effects of "luck" in Animal Crossing remain a mystery, even though half a dozen other game features refer to your "luck" as a deciding factor. But honestly, I'll let them have that one. Feng Shui is mysterious in the real world, so I can see them obscuring it here.

- No mention of growing flower hybrids. Not even a simplistic "and if you plant different colored plants of the same type, you may find that a new flower will grow nearby in a new color!" Nothing. Just a list of all the different flower types, with a notation that they "can be bought at Nook's" or "grow in the wild."

And yet, the trading quest - a branching item hunt that involved giving specific things to specific characters, something you'd never, ever figure out on your own - is mentioned dozens of times and explained thoroughly in a flowchart.

The holidays really do suck:

Wow, what a huge disappointment. I have the AC calendar that came in Nintendo Power hanging on our fridge, so I've been grousing over this for months. I understand the need to make the holiday events consistent across the board... but Nintendo could have replaced Halloween and the Harvest Festival (Thanksgiving) and Toy Day/Jingle's Appearance (Christmas) with something comparable. And I don't mean another fake-name-but-still-obviously-Christmas deal, I mean something with genuine gameplay attached to it.

Take the Harvest Festival. You had one evening during which you had to steal silverware from the dinner table and take it to Franklin, the turkey who was hiding somewhere in town. It was fun. It was, effectively, a mini-game. You had something out-of-the-ordinary to do and you were rewarded with rare furniture that you only received if you did well.

We now have ONE holiday that replicates that. The Acorn Festival in October. The rest of the holidays are so boringly non-events that the Player's Guide can explain them all in one tri-fold poster insert...

La-Di-Day. Every second Saturday in odd-numbered months. If you talk to villagers multiple times, they'll hum a song that you can choose as the new Town Tune. WHO CARES. Not a holiday. Next!

Fishing Tourney / Bug-Off. Various Sundays throughout the year. Same deal as in the first AC. You have X hours to catch the biggest fish (or bug). At least it's something to do, I suppose. And you get a trophy and rare paper if the game randomly generates your fish/insects as being largest. Still, nothing new here. Next!

Bright Nights. Going on right now, actually. The animals' houses have lights all over them, and you can tell Tortimer whose house you like the best. Here's my favorite part: the villager you chose "might give you a gift." MIGHT?!? The word "might" shouldn't even be in a strategy guide's vocabulary. Next!

Flower Fest. Second week of April. Whoever grows the best garden gets a trophy. Does best mean largest? Does best mean most hybrid colors? Does best mean most species? Does best mean I can simply destroy every other garden in town and walk away with the prize? Who knows? Next!

Fireworks Show. Every Saturday in August. Tortimer gives out sparklers, which are amusingly distracting. And you get fireworks on the top screen. Nothing to do, and the event is duplicated on New Year's (with the addition of a countdown clock). Next!

Yay Day. Every fourth Sunday, every other month. Villagers will compliment you, and you have to respond in a dialogue choice that matches his or her personality. I guess this is kind of a mini-game, since you have to work out your villager's personality types... but you don't get anything for it, aside from "improving your friendship." Maybe this leads to a better shot a getting villager Pictures, but the Guide won't say anything that explicit. Next!

Flea Market. Every first Saturday except January and August. This is the only other holiday (Acorn Festival being the other one) that is worth looking forward to. On this day, you get to walk into the animals' houses and buy their stuff. Just click on a piece of furniture and see if they have a price in mind. That's one thing I really like about ACWW: that the villager's houses can change furnishings over time. The downside of Flea Market day is that the second you enter your house, somebody will walk in and start making offers on your furniture. Before the next Flea Market, I think I'm going to fill my house with a bunch of super cheap items and see if I can turn a profit.

Those terrible Camper and Igloo events seem to be gone, which surprised me. I would have thought those two would have benefited greatly from the DS touchscreen. Imagine a "pick a card, any card" game where you actually get to see the cards the animal is referencing! The mind reels. But no, we've got smeggin' La-Di-Day hogging the calendar.

The Animals:

The Player's Guide displays the entire animal population, which is trimmed down form the GameCube version. Some species have only two or three animals, where before they had four to six. There's only two cows, for example. The good news is that there is only one hippo, and it ain't Bitty! Ooh, I hated her. I was also excited to see that Octavian, the super-rare octopus character, has a female counterpart in ACWW.

I also like the three guys dressed up like Power Rangers: Kid Cat, Dr. Trunk, and Agent S. That would be fun to get all three of those dudes in one town.

The Catalog:

The Player's Guide mentions that sometimes Nook will have an item for a better price than Redd, but then never shows what those prices are. The back of the book lists Nook's price but not Redd's... and the Redd section rather stupidly lists the price Nook pays for Redd items. WTF.

Some of the new fish and bugs are crazy cool. Tarantulas?! There's going to come a month when tarantulas freely roam Adamsvil?

There's items missing from the guide that I've seen in animals' houses, that other players have already found, and that you can order from a catalog. Why is the Arwing a secret? Pudge has an Arwing in his house! Put those damn items in the Player's Guide! I'm sort of OK with leaving out the super-secret stuff, like the Pikmin item we all gawped at last month... but the Master Sword? I found one of those in the dump back on the GameCube.

In conclusion, what a bunch of suck. This isn't a Player's Guide, it's a pumped up Instruction Manual.

Most of this missing stuff can be found online, but I always prefer to hear it from an official source, not some Johnny Website with a big mouth. AC forums are always full of outright lies masquerading as uber-rare hidden secrets. In fact, I started one once as a joke. When the millionth person started a "What's a pitfall?" thread, I posted that they were holding it upside down. It's not an "!", I said. It's an "i". If you can collect all the letters in the word "pitfall" you'll unlock the Atari classic video game.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Rant Wild World Diary

I miss the hinanyago.
Thursday / 02.23.06 / 11:21PM / Joe

Last week was a nonstop parade of visitors. Adamsvil welcomed - and I hope I don't forget anyone - Stephen, Rachel, bik, Matti, Biff, Eli, Marci, Taylor and Cameron. I'm sure I forgot somebody.

Tonight, I shut it down around 9pm because my battery was dying. The picture is from tonight, when I briefly enjoyed an All-Girl Open Gate Night: Lilly, Cameron and Marci.

I'm still fielding friend requests... so the unfortunate truth is that I have to cycle out names to meet new people. As Cutter informed me, if I drop your name from my Friend List but you still have me on yours... then you can SEE my open town but you can't enter it. That's actually a bit rude, Nintendo.

So anyway, if you can't get in, that might be the reason. I'm keeping track of every code, so it might just take another email in a few weeks to get you back in. Just trying to get everybody a shot at it.

But actually, once you've visited Adamsvil for a couple weeks, there isn't that much else to do. Since the chat feature is so gimpy, it's difficult to hold an actual conversation. And unless you're showing up with cheated items (for shame!), there's probably not a lot of useful item-sharing to be done. It's starting to seem to me like starting players get the most out of WiFi play. Once you've got a fairly solid catalog, why bother? Because you like writing letters to animals you've already seen in your town but mysteriously have never heard of you here? Oh, right, we're supposed to be racing to catch fish or playing tag.

Before this devolves into a bitch about the utter lack of true multiplayer game features, let's move on to the good news. Like Cameron showing off her four-leaf clover.

Nook built another room for my house, bringing me up to two rooms off the main floor living area. So far, it's looking like a completed Snowman Series in the leftmost room, a theme-less mess in the big middle room, and a Fatal Frame room (the Japan theme sets) in the righthand room. The second floor remains devoted to the Western theme. According to last month's HRA score, I'm veering very close to the 100,000 point level.

Got my golden watering can, the result of a "perfect" town for 16 days. Or so. This is just the internet talking, because the strategy guide certainly isn't going to cover it. I followed the prevalent suggestion and marked my town off into 16x16 acres, and then kept 12-13 trees and 3-5 flowers inside each acre. The other benefit to perfection is the appearance of wild Jacob's Ladder flowers, which I've been giving away on Open Gate night.

I'm still trying to figure out the draconian rules that govern random animal appearances. Apparently, Tortimer's presence is enough to keep Sow Joan from showing up, because she never appeared during the end of last Sunday's Bright Nights holiday. (Another reason to hate holidays.) According to the useless guide, Lyle and KK show up on every Saturday (true), it's Joan on Sunday morning, and everybody else is restricted to Monday through Friday. I'm fairly certain that Katie inhibits other guests from showing up while she's waiting for you to take her to another town, which is lousy play. I'm no longer convinced that Blanca doesn't do the same, because I've only ever seen her double-up with Lyle on Saturdays, and Lyle seems to be a hell-or-high-water kind of character (like KK).

By the way, the other day I read that Nintendo is working on an Animal Crossing game for the Revolution. I guess that's been everybody's assumption for some time now, but it was nice to hear it sorta verified. I'm working on a list of demands.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Wild World Diary

Blanca the Third
Wednesday / 03.01.06 / 10:19PM / Joe

Lizzie (from the town of Fantasy) gives us this I-Just-Ran-Into-Tammy-Fay face. It actually looked better on Blanca than it does flat, which is the opposite of the ways things usually work

What I like about this one, Link332 of Hyrule (naturally), is the purple background. Unfortunately, the face mask only covers the front half of Blanca's head, so a face like this results in a purple circle over white ears and head. I think Blanca's entire body ought to shift colors to whatever you choose as your "background" color. Perhaps sampled from the color found in the topmost leftmost pixel.

Milk or Cheese, is that you? I'll have to ask vladimir of zozo.

Now that's what I'm talking about! Tommy of soulcity presents the hedgehog for the 2000s: Shadow! When I met this Blanca, she was totally in my face, beat out a few phat licks, capped some asses, and then hauled a major grind on her way to Hot Topic.

Xiokun of Ashbire. Who cares about the Blanca head, I dig this person's naming sensibilities. Xiokun of Ashbire. That is the most coolest set of names I've ever heard in Animal Crossing. Xiokun of Ashbire.

A pleasant face by Sumomo of Tanuky. I would have lost the cheeks, but otherwise a fine craft.

Just so you know, this is the face I send out on nearly every Blanca I create. Line tool, fill tool, two colors. Not much to boast about. I'm still entering "fourhman.com" as the tagalong text, so if you've happened across this site after meeting one of my Blanca Street Teamers, please let me know.

And finally, Animal Crossing has its own problems with "Hot Coffee..."

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Blanca Wild World Diary

Lies about the Flower Fest
Monday / 04.03.06 / 08:56PM / Joe

I usually find time for a little AC:WW every weekday morning around 9am. On a few mornings, I've noticed a small flock of white birds that takes to the sky as soon as my character steps outside the door. This adds to the Goofy vs. Pluto puzzle begun in the first Animal Crossing: we have animals that are "people" and animals that are animals.

The most blatant example was the frog. You can catch "animal" frogs in the ponds, yet you can have "people" frogs living in your town. Then there's the birdcage item, but I always saw the bird inside as a toy, not an actual bird. But this flock of doves heralding the dawn makes me wonder.

The Flower Fest is on now, where you're supposed to grow a magnificent garden by week's end. Then Tortimer judges which villager has the best garden and hands out a flower trophy. You'd think Nook would jack up the price of seeds this week.

Here's something that pissed me off. Check out the promise in this email I received from Nintendo: "Gardening tips galore in the official player's guide!"

Well folks, I took the liberty of scanning in every single section of the guide that references flowers. Please click them for the zoom-in.


Or just let me summarize these great "tips":

  • You should plant flowers.
  • You should water flowers.
  • You should not run through flowers.
  • You should remove weeds.
  • Flowers that cannot be found at Nook's will grow in the wild.
  • You should include rare flowers in your Fest garden.

No discussion on how to get those rare flowers through hybriding (I love how the Flower Fest section references the Outdoor Plantlife section to "find rare flowers to grow," and then the Outdoor Plantlife section just says they "grow in the wild.") No discussion on what Tortimer actually likes, in terms of colors or patterns or monetary value. No discussion on what (if any) difference the Golden Watering Can makes. No discussion on whether non-flowers like dandelions and clover and jacob's ladder count. If I get Gold Roses, is that a shoe-in?

So my plan is to plant a mad amount of flowers around my house, and then secretly trample everyone else's gardens. Or steal their flowers and re-plant them in my yard. I'll be interested to see if the game picks up on that.

Thanks for the tips, Nintendo.

I finally hit the last house expansion and the 900,000 bell debt that comes along with it. I'm thinking of making it a storage room (which is kinda what my main room is now) and turning the main room into a Nintendo / Mario theme. I'm counting on Nintendo trickling out more exclusive Nintendo items soon... but then again, we're still waiting for SMB, LoZ and Punch-Out on the GameCube, aren't we?

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Rant Wild World Diary

Sometimes I don't know why I play anymore.
Thursday / 04.27.06 / 07:28PM / Joe

So the Flower Fest was a complete bust.

Let me give you two truths about Animal Crossing: Wild World.

1.) If it involves tools, it sucks.

2.) If it involves a holiday, it sucks.

The Flower Fest involves both, so it doubly sucks. I planted a million flowers around my mansion, organized by species so as to promote natural hybriding. I used my Golden Watering Can every day.

I lost to Queenie, who had eight flowers, no hybrids, and considered moving out of the village mid-week. So no Flower Trophy for me. And when's the next time I can get a Flower Trophy? At next year's Flower Fest. And what did the game teach me about growing a better garden? Absolutely nothing.

And bonus: Tortimer stood outside the town hall all bloody week. This means you get NO wandering visitors. No Saharah. No Shrunk. No Gracie (although I still haven't figured out what her game is). Not even Joan will show up on Sunday mornings if Tortimer is outside counting his toes and horf-horf-horfing. The only visitor exempt from this rule is Redd. Somehow Redd trumps everyone. Other than him, here's an entire week where you can't score rare items or buy turnips.

And to make matters worse, I managed to trigger the freaking Katie/Kaitlyn sequence both the week before and the week after. So I had to go through almost three solid weeks of having no special villagers. How does Nintendo expect you to get anything accomplished in this game. Things already happen at a glacial pace... and then they toss in ways to make it go even slower. The presence of Tortimer, Redd, Joan, K.K., Lyle and Katie/Kaitlyn should not preclude any of the other travellers from showing up.

And seriously, the usage of tools in Animal Crossing totally sucks. They take up precious inventory slots, so you're never going to carry all six of them at once and they get in the way of your fruit harvesting and furniture moving. And they're a pain in the ass to get to if you need one in a hurry.

You see a balloon in the sky, but by the time you equip your slingshot and give chase, it's floated out-of-bounds. You shake a spider out of a tree, but one missed swipe with the net and it disappears forever. You see a fish in the river, but as soon as you cast your fishing line, it drifts away from your reach. Tools suck.

Tools should be a separate inventory screen, instantly selectable... either you rotate through all of them by cycling with a shoulder button, or you map them one at a time, Pokemon-Select style. Having to jump to the inventory window and click-drag icons around is old-school terrible.

But today I am able to definitively answer one Player's Guide whitewash issue: emotions. You are capped at four emotions. Fin. If Dr. Shrunk shows up after you have four, he demands you replace one of the old ones. So far, I've seen him six times. My current emotional plate has joy (flowers radiate from head), thinking (a "..." word balloon), anger (stamp foot and erupt negative energy) and desperation (nervous tiptoeing and sweat pouring from head).

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Rant Wild World Diary

Blanca 4: The Last Stand
Friday / 05.12.06 / 10:37PM / Joe

Fair enough. A bit harsh for my tastes, not as cute as best befits an Animal Crossing character. Perhaps Gaily of Rivendal has had a vision of the Next Gen Animal Crossing?

Yakobi of Kyoto gives us a servicable Pikachu. I say "serviceable" because the nose and mouth are too low. Other than that, perfect colors and nice eye-to-cheek ratio. There's even a discernible tongue!

Whuh-ho! That, friends, is Majora's Mask! That took some time to put together... and here I am about to bitch about the centering being off. Looked hilarious on Blanca's face.

But Josh? Your town name totally sucks.

An obviously freehand piece by Fropi of Frotopia. It reminds me of the last season of Sealab: all the proper elements are there, you just don't know why nothing works anymore.

Cierra of Bamville, you are just too darn cute.

This Blanca seems startled. I'm not sure why the face leans off to the right like that. Only Owen of WindTown could tell us, and he probably stopped playing the game three months ago.

Why is it that the prettiest names all take the time to make pretty little Blancas? Nice chibi work from Sakura of Konoha.

Here's the capper: Blanca, Hamtaro-style! Complete saturated cuteness, easily merchandisable and readily embraceable. Had I not wiped the Ham-Ham off this face, she probably would have spent the day counting walnuts, picking flowers and making friends wherever she went. A++ for Zak of Cedar.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Blanca Wild World Diary

New Gifts Coming. Still Peeved.
Saturday / 07.22.06 / 12:11AM / Joe

Finally, an answer to the question of When Will We Get More Secret ACWW Stuff?

At Toys R Us, in an ill-conceived and under-promoted and all around Far Too Late good idea.

Ever since the spring ticked by with very little free WiFi gifting by Nintendo, I've been consumed with the notion that Nintendo just does not care about living up to the game's promise. At every turn, they screw it up. You can only have eight patterns (and then one character shows up trying to get you to use his pre-made designs). You're maxed at four emotions. Tool usage is cumbersome. The holiday schedule is boring and unrewarding. The Player's Guide is embarassingly devoid of actual information. Item distribution (via travelling vendors) is even more random than in the GameCube version. The Flower Fest is distressingly unfathomable. There is almost nothing to do during online multiplayer except obnoxious one-line no-scrollback chat.

We know the game is packed with secret items that you can only get from Nintendo or by cheating. And to date, Nintendo has delivered ONE of them, the Mario Coin. The players' sentiment seems neatly summed up by this hilarious poll on Animal Crossing Community.

So here we are, seven months after the game's release, and all of a sudden Nintendo sends out an email that mentions exclusive ACWW downloads at Toys R Us. Starting this Sunday. I will bet Bells that my local TRU will not have the slightest idea what I am talking about when I march in there Sunday morning with my DS Lite.

"Downloads, sir? Do you mean, like, from our website?"

I'll be reporting on this sure-to-be glorious adventure soon. My store doesn't even HAVE a DS Download Station.

What's supposed to happen is this: you write up a quick bottle mail, then throw your game into Tag Mode. The magic WiFi blanket will sense your Tagginess and give you a reply bottle containing one of six items from the famed Mario furniture series.

Do I even need to ask if the six items will be chosen randomly? Will I have to spend half an hour at TRU sending out bottle mail and restarting, in hopes of getting all six items? If my store even knows what's going on? Will it be one item per day? Will it be one item per store? Could Nintendo have found a dickier way to do this?

The only good sign is that you can buy as much bottle mail paper as you want, but I'm sure Nintendo will bone this somehow.

What is it about Animal Crossing that has Nintendo so dead-set on keeping players from getting rare stuff? It's not like they have a MMORPG world economy to worry about. It's not a competition. Getting rare furniture should be difficult, but not impossible.

And why haven't they been doing this all along? Why blow out six items in one stealth marketing week at Toys R Us? I had hoped that Nintendo would remedy the ultra crappy holiday selection with monthly WiFi mailings... maybe not a rare item every time, but a little something to keep everybody feeling like this really is an online community. We received that Mario Coin around New Year's, and a goddamn daffodil for Mother's Day. Exuent. Was the Red Tulip scandal enough to bust up any future plans for online item distribution?

How are we intended to get that awesome Pikmin item?!? The optimist in me says they're saving that for the Wii's demo download service, since I highly doubt we'll see Animal Crossing Wii before late 2007.

Just when I think that all is lost with the Animal Crossing franchise... the news about an Animal Crossing movie breaks.

OK, I know, it's not like there's a ton of plot in either game. But there is a multitude of distinct, fun characters. I'm sure this is meant to lead into a full anime series, which strikes me as a natural fit. What are the chances that the movie (which has a Japan release date this December) will get an English dub? Who is Nintendo in bed with these days, animation wise? FOX has Kirby, Warners has Pokemon... maybe Cartoon Network would like an AC TV show as part of their tweenies block. If they skew the movie/show young and friendly (which I'm positive it will be), it's surely worth the likes of Hamtaro.

Somebody should figure out how to beam DS downloads out of a normal TV signal, like those new(ish) Batman toys.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Rant Toys R Us Wild World Diary

Surprise! It worked.
Tuesday / 07.25.06 / 11:00PM / Joe

Although I was planning to get to Toys R Us on Sunday to try out the ACWW download thing, I decided that, for once, I did not want to be the first guy in the door asking all the tough questions. Like when they didn't bother to put Metroid Prime out for sale, or when they asked me to tell the aisle clerk to put Pokemon Pinball on the racks or the time they bungled my Double Dash bonus disk pre-order, or tried to sell Pokemon Channel for $50, or when they barely participated in LeafGreen/FireRed Trade and Battle Day... and don't forget how they all but buried the original DS launch. These guys are great.

So we went Monday night. Give them a day to have somebody else be the insistent asshole. On the way there, I was mentally preparing myself for dejection. "They're not going to have this," I said in the parking lot as we strapped Clark into the Ergo carrier. "They don't even have a Download Station." The only small hope I held came from this week's sales flyer, which mentioned a "free Animal Crossing download" in small print. Of course, a sales flyer doesn't have to mean jack at the local level.

I did not stop at the customer service desk, although it did occur to me that they might have hidden the Download Station there so that they could answer questions about it. I went straight for the video game section.

Going up the game aisles (no R'Zone at this store, just old school flip tags), nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The best I could find was a promo to get some terrible ATV game for free with your DS purchase. So I circled around to the glass case zone, where they have been putting all the really expensive equipment since the 32X launch.

And there it was.

One corner of the glass case held the Download Station and was covered in signage. Happy! But, this being MY Toys R Us, the poor thing is exposed to the elements; the secret white case was cracked open for all to see. It's not especially classy to display an old fat DS with DOS text on the screen, but I guess my TRU enjoys taking the mystery out of life.

As do I. There's going to be some pretty substantial spoilers coming up, so you might want to back out now if you enjoy MEGATON surprises and have faith that your TRU will have some kind of clue that this is happening.

Hilariously, the instructions for the ACWW giveaway are lying flat inside the case. On the top shelf, where no child can see them.

Thrilled that this is actually going to happen, I got right to the business of downloading Animal Crossing junk. Thrilled that the kids clothes were just his height, Clark got right to the business of pulling jumpers off the racks and handing them to Mommy.

We're not exactly out of the woods yet, because, this being Animal Crossing, there is an incredibly laborious procedure involved. You need to buy a bunch of Bottle Mail, because this is presented (in-game) as you sending a message in a bottle out to sea, and then having someone else - Nintendo - send you a bottled message in reply.

In my bottle mail, I wrote "thanks TRU" or something equally ingratiating. Towards the end, I was doing "OMG I JUST NEED ONE MORE."

Then you toss the bottle into the ocean (just one), save and quit. Then you go into Tag Mode and you get a reply almost immediately.

So it's back to your town to search the beach for the new bottle that has surely washed up on the sands.

All in all, a lengthy process. I was there for an hour and did it eleven times. Because, as you could have guessed, there are SIX exclusive furniture items and they are distributed randomly. Since the Download Station was in full view, I could see how many times it had been accessed that day (twice, until I showed up, which is kinda sad) but not which item was coming up next. I received three 1-UP Mushrooms, two Fire Bars, one Flagpole, one Question Box, two Starmen and two Green Pipes. Here's what they look like:

The rotating Fire Bars are quite fun, and every item comes with its own signature sound effects and music.

I'm fairly certain this is not the entire Mario Series (carpet? wallpaper? brick box?), but it remains to be seen what cockamamie way Nintendo will choose to distribute any additional items. Not to mention how long it could take them to get to it. I'm thinking Wii bonus downloads.

But now for the crazy part. This is Spoiler Level Two.

Tonight I jump back into the game to do some redecorating in case anybody shows for Thursday's Open Gate Night, and I notice a new animal villager. A monkey. Not the usual gorilla, but a chimpanzee type very similar to Porter from the original Animal Crossing.

"That's neat," I think, "Didn't know the game had chimps in villager rotation."

I figure the chimp is one of ACWW's new rare pair animals, like the two octopi or cows, and I just never noticed her in the Player's Guide. Now, I have no idea when she could have appeared, since I stopped talking to villagers weeks ago. So I talk to her, and she says her name is Elise and she is from the town of Nintendo.

"That's cute," I think, "Some kid named his town Nintendo."

A few minutes later, it occurs to me that I don't know anyone with a town name of "Nintendo."

At this point, I'm like Tom Hanks in the DaVinci Code. I dig up that awful Player's Guide to see if there are any monkeys in there. I look up and down my Friend List for town names. And like the All-Seeing Eye on the back of every dollar bill, I suddenly consider that Elise appeared in my game thanks to the Toys R Us stunt. It certainly explains the message inside the bottle:

When I read that at the store, I didn't give it two seconds of thought. This is Animal Crossing. You get that Mad Lib kind of crap all the damn time. Especially from Katrina.

One last thing. As I was running around my town tonight, something very odd happened. I think I fell, or something, because my character stopped, some sad music played, and then something floated into the air. I'm being vague because it all happened behind a tree. After the music ended, the game warped me back to my front door. Is this some other, pranky aspect to the TRU download? (UPDATE: I was bitten by a tarantula! Nothing unusual about that at all.)

One thing's for sure, the Player's Guide won't know anything about it. But three cheers to Nintendo for making this completely worth everybody's time.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Photos Toys R Us Wild World Diary

Weed World
Tuesday / 08.08.06 / 07:03PM / Joe

I've pretty much resigned myself to only playing on Thursday nights with the gate open... and some weeks not even that happens. I no longer talk to villagers, and I've stopped caring about weeds. Both my personal relationships and my landscaping are in disrepair. I'm more or less done with Wild World.

Which is sad, considering that I haven't even played the game for a full year yet. Haven't seen all the bugs and fish. But like I've said repeatedly, Nintendo did a lousy job of keeping the game relevant over time, resulting in a game far less compelling than the GameCube original (which, admittedly, generated more traction out of the sheer novelty of it all). Crappy holidays, meager WiFi capabilities, soul-crushing randomness, slow-to-no online community building.

So why do I still anticipate the Wii edition with the heat of a thousand suns, given no outstanding proof that Nintendo has learned anything from the experience? That's the fanboy in me.

The Toys R Us event did spark some return attention to Wild World, however. Although the Mario furniture giveaway arrived with little fanfare and almost no support, when it did get here, it was done well.

Get this: my sister grabbed some rare TRU items but was disappointed because she did not receive a monkey in the bargain... but a monkey did indeed arrive almost a week later, as soon as one of her existing villagers packed up for greener pastures. I take a small measure pride in knowing that Nintendo did not simply screw her over with monkey-lack; they just inserted a simian into the queue and set him to waiting.

Meanwhile, my second Nintendo monkey has already moved out.

There's a fireworks show every Saturday night in August. (To celebrate, Nintendo sent out lawn chairs over WiFi, a sad and fruitless goodwill gesture in the face of the awesome TRU giveaway.) Tortimer will be handing out sparklers and roman candles, and your top screen will glow with happy firework explosions. Feel free to invite someone to your town to watch... watch Tortimer and K.K. scurry back under the circuit board since all the animals disappear when guests show up. I'm considering moving that absurdity to the top of my Animal Crossing Demands list.

Anyway, I'm thinking of opening up my town way early this week and keeping it up way late. I won't personally be around, but the doors will be open for guests. If you're on my friend list, stop on by, help yourself to the free gifts littering the floor, leave a message on the town bulletin board, and check out my sweet Mario furniture pad.

I'll also have my webcam pointed at it, so you can see a blurry discolored live feed of the town gate. This may evolve into the regular way I run Open Gate Night... longer hours but more idling.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Toys R Us Wild World Diary

Nine short stories about Animal Crossing
Monday / 09.04.06 / 01:54PM / Joe

1. This is me and Maya, who lives in Sweden. Like, the real Sweden, not just some ACWW town named Sweden. I'm pretty sure that's the farthest global reach I've experienced in Wild World. I gave her a Green Pipe and 1UP Mushroom for a Black Lucky Cat and a Gold Lucky Cat, so it was a fruitful trip for both.

I've also met a fellow from the UK (again, the real UK) who claims that Nintendo gave out different special Mario furniture over there, among them the Mario Mural and the Bullet Bill. Awesome!

2. Almost immediately after I complained about it last time, Nintendo has started sending out WiFi letters much more frequently. It's like somebody at Nintendo woke up and started pushing buttons again. We haven't received anything rare, but at least it is something. The letters seem typically to be attached to a holiday... like August's fireworks night, the Bug Catching Contest, or Labor Day.

3. I still have Elise (one of the rare Toys R Us chimps) in my village, so I started a campaign to snag her pic. So I was talking to her and sending her letters every day. I also have Octavian and Kid Cat in town, so I decided to go after their pics as well.

I'm really bad at getting pics. It's yet another item that the worthless Player's Guide does not discuss, so I have no idea of the best way to do it. There must be a trick to it, since I talked and sent letters for several weeks straight and never got anything from any of the three.

Then one day I saw that Whitney had moved in to town... and I think the wolf characters look cool-as-hell, so I added her into my daily chat/mail plan. And within two days she hands over her pic! The other three jerks are still stonewalling me.

4. Speaking of the rotten Player's Guide, I know there's a certain segment of you out there who, upon hearing me mention the Guide, started scoffing and loudly braying about how you never use Player's Guides because you have the internet, duh.

Well, for a future entry, I'm going to collect the best outright lies about Animal Crossing that I have found online. Yes, you can get a lot of secrets and tips online without having to pay for a Player's Guide... but you also get a lot of complete bullshit that dumbass kids submit to tip sites for the sheer thrill of screwing with people and seeing their awful online handles published.

5. Late one night, I saw this gigantic ugly moth sitting on one of my trees. It was the oak silk moth and I figured it had a good chance of being one of the biggest bugs in the game. So I caught a bunch of them and stashed them until the day of the Bug Catching Contest. Luckily, when I gave them to Tortimer, he did not catch on and say anything like "Howrf howrf, Joe, where did you catch such an obviously NOCTURNAL insect?" So my ringers worked and I won the Big Trophy. Now I need to hide a shark for the Fishing Contest...

6. You know the stupid impossible trading quest that starts with a red turnip and then branches out to include various paths of character trading? Well, I finally finished off the Pascal branch, having received both the Golden Axe and Pascal's Pic. Strangely, the massage chair that you're supposed to give to Tortimer is orderable from the catalog... so you can give the Mayor as many as you want to pay for, and receive a scallop (for Pascal) in exchange. In contrast, Saharah's turban is not orderable, so to finish off that half of the quest means that you are stuck buying red turnips in hopes of seeing Wendell. What a pain in the ass.

7. I have donated over 200,000 bells to the poor faraway town of Boondox and received the Blue Feather. The next benchmark for a new feather is 500,000 bells, and I'm assuming that's total donations, not another 500,000 on top of the 200,000 I have already donated.

It has occurred to me that it would be more efficient if I socked all of my bells in the bank... so I could build up to the rare Post Office prizes, and then dump on the money over to Boondox. But you need to hit 10 million bells to start getting cool stuff out of the bank, so Boondox's scale seems much more achievable.

8. One morning I walked out of my house and, as usual, jumped to my tools so I could switch to the watering can. While I'm dragging junk around in the inventory screen, a smegging banded dragonfly zooms right past me. So I quickly switch to the net and run off after it... and, incredibly, I catch it in one swipe while it tried to route itself around the Museum wall.

9. Using the Player's Guide as a basis (don't laugh), I finally compiled a list of every catalog item I need. It is a nicely sizable list since I pretty much played for months without buying much of anything, instead concentrating on paying off my home mortgage.

The Guide, in yet another tribute to non-usability, presents the item lists in no particular order at all. It ain't alphabetical and it ain't even in the order in which the items appear on the in-game catalog. So after typing everything up, I alphabetized the lists by category, and then sent the lists to my Sidekick. Now they all exist as editable sticky notes, so when I find a new item I can easily delete it out.

Obviously there are a ton of items that I fully expect to never see, like the Post Office Model that you receive for having saved 999 million bells. But I still like tracking the more reasonable items.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Wild World Diary

The Six Common Types of Lousy Animal Crossing Cheats
Monday / 09.11.06 / 12:06AM / Joe

As this forum link shows, there are plenty of mistakes, mixups and outright lies inside the official Wild World Player's Guide (thanks for the link, Logan!). But the internet probably sucks harder... because of the sheer amount of misleading, confusing, manufactured information out there. At least the Player's Guide looks nice.

After hours of painstaking effort researching un-monitored garbage gaming sites like Neoseeker, Games Radar and Total Video Games, I have identified the Six Common Types of Lousy Animal Crossing Cheats.

The Personal Story That Isn't a Hint
What is it?
See, the problem with most of these sites - and why you should never bother with them - is that the "tips" all come from whatever backward pathetic kiddos happened onto Mom's Computer that day. Four times out of five, they just make stuff up and submit it... and when they lack the brain power to do that, they just type in something that actually happened to them and pretend it is somehow unique or interesting.

Identifying Characteristics
An abundance of smileys. Personal asides like "that's just my opinion."

Waste of Time Level
Minimal. You're not likely to ever care about what these tipsters are describing.

Egbert and Alli Fighting
When I had it was raining and I was by Redd's tent. Egbert will be singing and when you talk to him he will say he is moving. Alli will be next to you talk to her. She will ask you what do you think of a watch. Pick any answer, I pick as a wrist portection. She will say I think it means friendship. Then Egbert will say, "You think of me like a watch?!" Then Alli will do something, I forgot , then Egbert will be all happy.

A Good Song From K.K
First of all you need a radio then go to the museum and into the coffee place where K.K slider performs when he says "are you giving requests" say "yes" and ask for Rockin' K.K. and when he sings it its not that great but when you put it on your radio it's brilliant. But thats from my point of view.

The Answer to Everything: Time Travelling
What is it?
Since everything that happens in Animal Crossing is triggered by the internal clock, you can do a lot of damage by jumping around in time. Moving forward in time will make trees grow, "fix" the Stalk Market, and allow you to claim the 10,000 bell gift every New Year's. Time travelling is by far the most prevalent AC hint... and the most dangerous.

Identifying Characteristics
The phrase "Now I'm a billionaire!" Almost every time travel-related cheat ends with you receiving tons of cash.

Waste of Time Level
Huge. Since you'll be doing a lot of resetting and clock-tinkering, expect to pay for your time trickery in RL time. Of course, the thing about most time travelling cheats is that, well, they work. Just at the cost of your game's carefully structured continuity.

Get Trees To Grow Faster
One day, I found a coconut on the beach. I planted it. Couldn't wait for it to grow so I set it to a week later. The tree was fully grown. So I set it a week before that and then plantd more coconuts from that tree. It was awsome! By the end of the day I had 20 palm trees!

Interested in Interest?
This a is a a cheat that will take a while and will leave you with a bunch of weeds, but it's the best way to become a Millionaire. First put all, and I mean ALL, your money in the bank. The more money you put in, the faster this cheat goes. Once you've put all your money in, save, turn off your game, go to the DS main screen, and change the year to 2000. Then turn on your game, save, change the date 2010, turn on your game, read your mail and you will receive a letter from Town Hall that says you've gained interest. Each time you change the date and read your letter you will see that the interest rate raises each time. Do this about 20 times and for sure you'll have a million dollars or more!!!

The Fabricated Fan-Fiction Quest
What is it?
Although much of Animal Crossing is dull and straight forward (find stuff, sell stuff), there are a few oddball "quests" in the game. These range from shooting down Gulliver, to the branching Red Turnip delivery mission. So the presence of some legitmate quests has led to the creation of plenty of garbled fake fan-dream quests. These insidious anti-tips always promise incredible secrets that will rightly strike you as pure crap... but what if it's not? You want to see Mr. Resetti's secret home, don't you?

Identifying Characteristics
Lots of specific instructions. The phrase "This may not work all of the time." Usually ends with you witnessing some impossible hidden animation, like Timmy and Tommy outside climbing a tree.

Waste of Time Level
Gigantic. The instructions typically involve long, laborious procedures, full of restarts and occasionally time travelling. And since you'll probably screw something up, you'll feel like you should try it again and again to make it work. Which it won't.

Animal Crossing Island
Connect to the houses of four friends and give Tom Nook 50 fossils. You will get a whistle that calls Kapp'n; he will take you to Animal Crossing Island.

See Mr. Reseti's home
First you have to reset your games 2 times then get a shovel and hit all the rocks till one cracks then hit it agen to find a hole go in the hole and you will see Mr. Reseti's home.

move in your nighbors house
if your nighbor has a bed sleep in it the whole night and they will ask if your want to move in and u say yes and if its your best friend if she move u will know and when she does yall can right letters and visit her town and she can come to your town (i am talking about the animals you move in there house)

Tom Nook's home
Go to the back of Tom Nook's shop between 12:00 and 2:00 p.m. Use a shovel to hit the back wall three times, then hit the front entrance once to be able to enter and see Tom Nook in pajamas with a teddy bear.

The Obvious
What is it?
These aren't even tips. These are usually game fundamentals that Moron A has submitted just to see his or her screenname published... or for the benefit of Moron B.

Identifying Characteristics
Very short.

Waste of Time Level
Nonexistent. You don't need to be told that you need a bug net to catch bugs, do you?

Free furniture
Sometimes when you go to the Town Hall, the recycling box may have furniture that you need. The lost and found at the Main Gate also may have free items. Talk to Booker, the dog on the left, to get to the lost and found.

Tortimer reference
Go to the Post Office and talk to Pelly at the Civics part. If you look at the background, you can see a bit of Tortimer's face behind a counter.

The Turn It Off And Try Again Tip
What is it?
One of the oldest tricks in video games: turn it off. Restarting in Animal Crossing usually results in a slightly different randomized effect, like Wendell gives you a different pattern.

Identifying Characteristics
A faint arrogance, as if the tipster has lowered him/herself by deigning to share such an obvious cheat.

Waste of Time Level
Big. If you're missing one of Gracie's shirts, you're going to have to reset for hours to get the game to generate the specific one you need.

No more fake paintings.
When Crazy Redd visits save your game. Then go inside and buy a painting. If it is a fake, turn the power off. ( be careful, Mr. Resetti comes)

Finish the fossil exhibition.
Can't find those last few fossils? Collect 15 fossils but don't identify them. Save your game and start again. Go directly to your main gate and say you want to go out using wifi (if you don't have a friend code find anyone's code of the internet). You don't have to actually go out, you just need to get to the point where you would select a town. Cancel out of the wifi settings. Go to the museum and let Blathers identify your fossils, once he finds one you don't have donate it and save. If he doesn't find a new one turn off the DS, because you went to the wifi settings Resetti won't come. When you turn it back on the fossils won't be identified and will be completely different when Blathers identifies them the next time around. You have to go to the wifi before you identify anything beause the wifi access will save your game.

The Confused Nonsense
What is it?
The ultimate in bad hints, this rambling, incoherant mess would not make sense to Nintendo EAD themselves.

Identifying Characteristics
Gigantic paragraphs with no punctuation, with the exception of a hundred exclamation points at the end. Probably feels like a #1 until you realize that the tipster seems to be vainly communicating a series of steps.

Waste of Time Level
Massive, but not because of any time spent in-game... it's due to you trying to decode the AOL L33Tspeak.

proof nook hides all the good stuff
wat u got to do is get nook to upgrade his store any store and then start a new caracter when he is remodeling he hides all the good stuff and it is cheap as dirt like one time he had the moon another time he had the whole robo serise but u cant buy it and if u are there at the right time u can see red buying stuff from nook but once u come in he drops the stuff and runs then when u go see him at his tent he will be mad at u

Get soaked
Go too Able Sisters and make a design,Make it white with a red stripe going straight down,Then put stars or hearts on each cornner,When you have the design go to the beach,any place were you can get close to the water will work,go as close to the water as you can then make sure your not wearing the design put the design down buy the water now wait untill it stops raining pick up the design but dont put it on wait untill another raining day put the design on in the rain and also make the design into an ummbrella aswell the wait 5 or 10 mins then put away the ummbrela and wait for it to stop rainingand then youll be soaked when you go inside a building or a house

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Rant Wild World Diary

Finally, something to do.
Wednesday / 10.11.06 / 10:55PM / Joe

ATTENTION ALL PLAYERS WHO HAVE GIVEN UP: Assuming you didn't just time travel to this week already, we're in the middle of the Acorn Festival.

This week is Wild World's only attempt to mimic the fun and timely "mini-games" that graced the major holidays back on the GameCube version. Every day, you can find acorns littering the ground around a randomized selection of your non-fruit trees (hope you still have some!) Scoop them all up - dump the rotten ones - and give them to Cornimer, who is hanging out by the Town Hall where you usually find Tortimer. SUSPICIOUS?

As you give him more and more acorns, Cornimer will yield items from the Mush furniture series, which is cooler than it sounds. In an unlikely break from Animal Crossing tradition, the Mush items are given out in a specific, non-random order. It's as if somebody on the AC:WW development team suddenly grew a pair and decided to sneak in something accessibly fun. I bet Iwata was pissed when he found out.

So all you have to do is hand over enough acorns and you'll score the entire series. Fantastic. I've collected around 100 acorns and I have about half of the set already. Wonderful.

Why oh why couldn't they have given us more of these? This is genuinely something to anticipate, unlike the monthly parade of useless Yay Days and La-Di-Days that stink up the calendar. It's something different. The acorns only appear during this week, the rewards are rare and cool, the scavenger hunt game part is fun, flippin' Tortimer shows up wearing an acorn mask. There should be events like this every season.

Of course, this being Wild World, Tortimer's exterior presence blocks out all the other travellers... so you won't be seeing Dr. Shrunk or Saharah or Gracie this week. And this probably includes Joan on Sunday morning as well, so don't count on buying turnips for next week. Craphats.

Speaking of that, take a look at this from the latest Nintendo Power:

Since when, Nintendo? When did you start this generous policy? Because I seem to recall slogging through months with only a bare two WiFi letters, plus one that everybody said was a hacker attack. Sure, they've stepped up the delivery since the summer - including some hilarious in-game advertising for Starfox Command - but every Friday?

And does that mean I have to hit the WiFi anytime on Friday to get the letter? Pacific time or Eastern time? What if I start late on Thursday and stay connected through early Friday?

Would it kill Nintendo to get specific about anything in Wild World?

They hate us.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Rant Wild World Diary

Blanca 5: The Escape Claus
Tuesday / 10.31.06 / 10:55PM / Joe

Let's start things off with something totally abstract. At least this is different, compared to all the variations of "anime cat" that you always get. Hal of Russell5, you're a born outsider.

It's tough to tell when a face was made by somebody who just didn't care, or by a five year old. I hate insulting five year olds, but this is crappy. DEEj of Rodill, I can't get behind this.

What was I just saying about anime cats, Kelso of Nintown? I grudgingly give this one a passing grade.

"turtle" in "hot soup"? That's a long way to go for a joke, friend. Your Blanca kinda gives off a cool Ralph Bakshi vibe though.

I've included an inset of how this Blanca approached me, so you can fully understand the horror created by katie of florida. This is like an episode of Medical Incredible. You're inspired by the struggle, but at the same time you're thinking maybe a quiet death wouldn't be so bad.

Jason of Renra,
I hate your bad attitude.
Art is not a joke.

This one, meekly offered by Caitlyn of Home (with star flanks), has the eyes too far apart. Common mistake, because the little sample screen does not adequately display how your texture wraps around Blanca's polygon head. It's a skill you develop through experience, I guess.

Lazytown indeed. I hope you were rushing to catch a train or something, Robin.

Robin of Lazytown, is that you?

Nope, it's Beth from oTowne, who line-tooled this masterwork.

Just in time for Halloween, Casi of Florida sends out a pumpkin head. I'm sort of hoping that Casi is from the same Florida as Katie, and that I'm developing a hot Animal Crossing Sunshine State sorority.

This would be all the more impressive if she hadn't just copied it from Nintendo's WiFi site.

The damning evidence!

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Blanca Wild World Diary

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