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Animal Crossing Log

This is an online diary devoted to Nintendo's "communication game," Animal Crossing. In this 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.

Animal Crossing was originally released in Japan for the Nintendo 64 - which is why the graphics are nowhere near modern GameCube standards. The U.S. version, retooled for the GameCube, was released in September 2002. Animal Crossing also sports connectivity features with both the Game Boy Advance and the Nintendo eReader (with four series of scannable trading cards), and many hidden, fully playable classic NES games.

My diary starts out as an ongoing fiction as I test out the game's limits and interactivity. Eventually I sorta cool off on that tact and the diary becomes a regular peek into what's going on in my personal AC town.

You can read my diary for the DS version of Animal Crossing here

entry index for Animal Crossing Log
/ Animal Crossing Log / Animal Crossing Log Entry 2 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 3 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 4 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 5 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 6 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 7 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 8 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 9 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 10 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 11 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 12 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 13 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 14 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 15 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 16 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 17 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 18 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 19 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 20 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 21 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 22 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 23 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 24 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 25 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 26 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 27 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 28 / Animal Crossing Log Entry 29 / Animal Crossing Theories / Animal Crossing 2K5: The Return

Animal Crossing Log
Wednesday / 09.18.02 / 01:26AM / Joe

I'm on the run. New name, new town, new life. They call me JoeForever (spelled J-o-e-infinity symbol) and I have just moved into Adamsvil, a town in Animal Crossing.

At approximately 10:00pm September 17th, I left the big city and began to melt into the countryside. On the train to Adamsvil, I met a simple cat named Rover. Already I am suspicious... a cat with a dog's name? When I reveal that I have no place to live, he slips to the back of the car and calls a "friend" of his named Tom Nook. Sounds like a scam, and when I meet Tom, I figure out why. My new crib costs 18,000 Bells, and Nook expects me to work for him to pay it off.

Nook sets me up with all sorts of stupid jobs, most of which require running back and forth across town delivering things. In between errands, I introduce myself to the other townsfolk. I let them do all the talking so they'll like me and not ask too many personal questions. Nobody locks their doors here, so I've been poking around looking for things to steal. But everybody has junk they want to offload, so I've been willingly accepting gifts with the idea of selling high later. To keep up appearances, I even visited the Police Station. The patrol officer seems sharp, but the desk clerk inside is a fool. I cleaned out his Lost and Found box. I've also travelled to a small island to the south, Dred Island. There's an abandoned shack there I plan to use as a safehouse, in case I need to hide out again.

I've been compulsively collecting seashells, and now my house is full of them. My radio is blasting a ska tune, but I have no neighbors closeby, so I doubt anyone will complain. At about midnight, old Nook calls me in and tells me he has no more work for me. So I figure, this is it, only one of us is getting out of here alive... but he laughs and says he's willing to buy stuff from me now. I briefly consider clubbing him and heading to Dred Island with that Space Shuttle model he has in the back, but then I consider the value of my seashell collection...

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 2
Friday / 09.20.02 / 11:15PM / JoeForever

My reputation is starting to grow. In three days, I have had no less than three townsfolk leave Adamsvil. Grizzly the Bear, Baabara the Sheep, and Friga the bitchy elitist bird thing have all moved east to Holliday. They each sent me a kind farewell letter, but I can read between the lines: They're afraid of my growing power.

Perhaps they're the smart ones; getting out before I really take over. I've already begun to dominate the local arts scene, the Adamsvil Museum. So far, 100% of the Insect, Fish and Fossil exhibits has been donated by me. I figure after a few more donations, I'll engineer some press that describes how benevolent and giving I am. Come off as a real bon vivant. That's how you grease the wheels... the Harvest Moon festival is this Saturday, and I plan to put in a real slick appearance, all handshakes and smiles.

Today I put in some visits to Holliday. Looks pretty much the same, but with oranges. Adamsvil is full of pear trees. Looking at all that citrus, I recalled the words of Tom Nook: 100 Bells for Pears, 500 Bells for all other fruits. I stuffed my pockets with Holliday-grown oranges and jumped the train home, but not before leaving a threatening message on the Holliday bulletin board for the traitorous town-jumpers.

Nook took my black market orange stash, no questions asked. But I wisely planted a few of them due south of my home. After all, sell Nook an orange and you'll make 500 Bells, but plant an orange and in four days you can make 1500 Bells. Nook must be working his own racket: I paid off my loan and he promised to build me a bigger house. Either he's working for me, or I'm working for him... guess I'll know when I see how much he expects for his work. Either way, old Nook and I need to come to an understanding.

One last item of note. Dred Island has yielded an unexpected bonus. The sole inhabitant, June, has taken a shine to me. She's wearing my clothes and has agreed to enter into a money-laundering scheme. I bring her my bootlegged fruits, and she turns them into bags of clean money. Even out here in the country, there are those who want to turn an easy trick.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 3
Monday / 09.23.02 / 02:18PM / JoeForever

Today we're going to talk about persuasion.

As I climb the ranks and secure my fortune, it's important to keep firm control on the locals. I know from experience that strongarm tactics will only get you so far, and I don't have the kind of backup I usually enjoy to persue that tact. So this operation requires quite a bit more subtlety.

With only a week in Adamsvil to my name, I've already learned to make myself invaluable to my neighbors. Mitzi needs to get her Game Boy back from Cesar? I'm on it. Weber wants me to deliver some clothing to Cobb? You bet. It may seem like low work, but what's actually happening is that I'm breaking down their relationships. I'm ruining their pre-established friendship networks from within. And with a smile on my face. I will become the center of their existence.

With that pattern set, this weekend I began sending letters. Persuasive letters.

Dearest Freckles: How is your fish research coming? It would be a shame if something were to happen to it. OBEY ME. Here is a Sand Dollar.

Dear Cobb: Your loyalty to Adamsvil is impressive. There will always be room for the faithful among my ranks. How does "Generalissimo Cobb" sound? Here is a Red Aloha Shirt for you.

Dearest Mitzi: I hope you will not fall prey to the lures of nearby Holliday. Those who stay will be amply rewarded. Those who leave... will be crushed in the revolution. Enclosed: 1 Pear.

Thus begins the diary of conquest. Cobb is already wearing the shirt.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 4
Wednesday / 09.25.02 / 05:02PM / JoeForever

I considered Crazy Redd's visit a wake-up call.

You see, out here in the sticks, it's easy to forget that players can still be played. The locals are all so agreeable and naive, handing out items like the Nook-n-Go isn't just a short walk away. But Crazy Redd...

Apparently he blows into town every so often, selling rare furniture. He sets up a tent, puts on his smarmy salesman act, and waits for the starry-eyed morons to wander in.

And I was one of the starry-eyed morons.

If I've ever had a weakness, it's greed. That's why I'm stuck out here, after all. I'm sure Redd sensed this, when my jaw dropped at the copy of NES Balloon Fight sitting innocently in the back of his flimsy tent. The price was 12,000 Bells. Thing is, I would have paid more.

I needed money quick, so I sold off an inflatable moon given to me by Adamsvil's ineffectual figurehead of a mayor, Tortimer. The 8,000 that brought in made the Balloon Fight purchase an easier ride. Balloon Fight quickly earned a place of honor in my home, eclipsing the dusty Donkey Kong Jr. Math I received as part of a temporary armistice with Holliday. Only later that night, when the rush of Balloon Fighting wore off, did I realize how simply Redd had used me. I think the best counter-haggle I gave him was "Oh, really? I'll take it."

Crazy Redd is going to have to be figured into my plans. He's seems immune to my usual manipulations, so I'm going to have to turn him into a usable resource. But if he ever shows up with a copy of Super Mario Bros, I'll have to guard my emotions a little better. Or Legend of Zelda. And what if he has the special gold cart edition? Yes, Redd is a factor I need to consider.

For the moment, I've been beaten. Now it's time to return to business as usual. And more Balloon Fight.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 5
Saturday / 09.28.02 / 03:03PM / JoeForever

Monday is the day of the raffle.

Tom Nook clearly still controls the supply lines in this town, despite my best efforts. His store is re-stocked with different items every day, and although many Animals have complained about the inconvenience that causes, they remain loyal customers. Me too. He must also have a scheme going with Sow Joan, the turnip lady. I bought 20 turnips from her at 103 Bells each, and Nook has been valuing them at 70-80 Bells each all week. I smell corporate dishonesty. Someone is Nooking the books here.

Back to the raffle. You have to have 5 tickets to enter, and rumors abound that this is a good way to score NES games. My suspicion is that Nook might actually spirit the winner away to a magical amusement park and they'll never be seen again. Tom Nook's "The Raffle."

I'm very close to paying off my second loan. I'm sure Nook is already concocting a new plan to get me back into debt. Unfortunately, Nook belongs to some kind of Animal Crossing Chamber of Commerce, because he's completely untouchable like the other shop vendors. I can't master him like I can the villagers. He never walks around outside, so I can't trap him by digging holes. You can't wield your tools in his store, so I can't smack him with my bug net. And he's not interested in idle chit-chat, so I can't offend and/or manipulate him psychologically. I can't even send him threatening letters.

And since his store is the single best way to clear out my inventory of crap (and get money for it,) he provides a service I need. I often need it late at night when he's not even open, and my pockets are full of White Scallops and Red Snappers I need to sell. I've got to face it: I'm a Nook whore.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 6
Wednesday / 10.02.02 / 11:24PM / JoeForever

I've been trying to build a heightened sense of civic pride in Adamsvil. I've decided that I should enact a dress code policy. My goal is to walk around Adamsvil and see all the villagers wearing the same shirt.

I've chosen the Noble Shirt as the official uniform of Adamsvil, and orders are being placed with Nook so I can have enough to dress everyone. I suppose I can't expect complete and instant compliance. I sent one to Boots the Alligator and he has made no mention of it yet. Dissention will be dealt with. Weber the Duck immediately donned the Noble Shirt, and lost it a day later when it was raining. Idiot!

One other item on the to-do list. As we had previously arranged, Generalissimo Cobb moved to Holliday. Cobb is on a secret mission. His orders are to borrow as many items as possible from the Holliday villagers... and then either not give them back, or give them back to the wrong person. Holliday's own Town Council, RhondaCat and Marci, must now face the regular dissolution of friendships, thanks to Cobb's underhanded and confusing item thievery. Good work, Generalissimo Cobb!

If anyone would like to donate Noble Shirts to Adamsvil's uniform supplies, you may mail me your codes. The name's J-o-e-infinity symbol and the town is Adamsvil. All donations will be rewarded with something.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 7
Thursday / 10.10.02 / 09:58AM / JoeForever

I'm pleased to report that the Adamsvil Dress Code is going well. Almost half the town is wearing the chosen garb, the Noble Shirt. From those who have fallen into line, response has been great. Louie the Ape was heard to say "Thanks for sending me this cool shirt, JoeForever!" I even witnessed Freckles the Duck clone his shirt and give the copy to Anicotti the Mouse, and they both walked away happy and whistling.

I have started another propaganda effort in Adamsvil. As I have learned from my history books, all the really great dictators find methods to become ever-present in the citizenry's lives. I have already made a habit of posting on the town bulletin board, and that's about all we have for local media. Adamsvil is a town ruled by popular opinion and word-of-mouth... so I have moved into posting signs. For the moment, the signs all contain the Dred head icon, which stares imposingly at all passers-by. If this doesn't cow the populace, I may have to move to text-based posters of fear and dominance.

To date, I have posted six signs. Nook only stocks one sign per day, so this represents almost a solid week of slowly encroaching mind control.

Also note that I have resorted to wearing a Chain-Gang Shirt and carrying around a shovel. Might makes right, and I am the mightiest, both in perception and reputation. The Chain-Gang Shirt evokes my seedy past, and the shovel just looks dangerous. (Although in reality, if I'm forced to mete out some Adamsvil justice, I need to switch to the Bug Net to actually beat an Animal.)

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 8
Saturday / 10.19.02 / 03:07AM / JoeForever

Although I now owe Nook well over 700,000 Bells, my house is finally the biggest and best home in Adamsvil. If only I could relocate it to a more fitting acre. As it sits, it towers over the other three empty homes in the Nook Projects.

I now have a very spacious first floor, a similarly large basement, and a reasonably sized second floor. The basement is basically a storage area for furniture and other items that I'm not 100% on keeping or tossing. The first floor is the main living area, with some basic storage, a corner of Western-themed objects, and 4 NES games. The second floor is serving as an area for quiet contemplation, sparsley decorated with some shrine lanterns, ferns, and a softly moaning gyroid. It is from this room that I formulate the plans for Adamsvil's future.

One of these plans is the implementation of the dress code policy. My villagers are a fickle lot, so at any given moment, I can expect roughly half the town to be code-compliant. At first I was outraged by such bold defiance, but I have since discovered the source of the problem: Able Sisters Tailoring.

Many of the villagers shop there; the current en vogue shirt design is the avant-garde shirt. I imagine it's merely a fad spreading among the younger town members.


Friga models the
Adamsvil-approved Noble Shirt.

Bitty wearing the faddish,
hideous Avant-Garde Shirt.

More disturbing is when townspeople try to subvert the code by trading away their freely supplied Noble Shirts. I send out at least 2 shirts a day to delinquent Animals, and several of them will continuously try to pawn them off. Admiral - who ought to try for better standing, since he leads Adamsvil's naval unit - once tricked me into delivering his discarded Noble Shirt to his neighbor Grizzly.

It might be a long struggle, but I will continue the daily shirt mailings, if only to shame the rebels into acquiesence. I am also considering replacing all of the Able Sisters' shirt patterns with a hand-designed Noble Shirt pattern. And if none of that works, I'm sure my new second floor thinking suite will yield fresh ideas for subordinating my people.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 9
Tuesday / 10.22.02 / 12:43AM / JoeForever

Since relocating to homespun Adamsvil, I've found precious little of the big city amusements I used to enjoy. But one country folk activity has gripped me: coelocanth fishing.

Although the rest of the world has a ban on catching coelocanths, Adamsvil has no such conservation efforts. But this is the same town whose Museum devotes an entire wing to crickets and cockroaches, so you can't expect much. Coelocanths are ugly, gigantic prehistoric 80-pound fish-beasts. They greatly resemble every toothy aquatic fish baddie in every underwater video game ever, except these monsters are real.

Here's how we big game hunters in Adamsvil track and catch this rural variety of coelocanth. First, it must be raining. The drizzle seems to encourage them out of their deep water hiding places. Next, it must be late... like, after ten o'clock. What you're looking for is the shadow of one lurking close to the surface. And it's a big shadow; you'll know the beast when you see it. I use the common "Run-'Em-Out" technique: If I see a fish shadow that obviously isn't a coelocanth, I run towards the small fish to scare him back underwater, thereby increasing the odds that a coelocanth will show up once I leave the acre and return again.

Tonight I concentrated exclusively on the Run-'Em-Out tactic for over an hour and a half (from 10:30pm until midnight, when it stopped raining), and I caught 13 coelocanths. I missed catching at least 8 more.

The best part about coelocanth fishing is that each fish is worth 15,000 Bells, making them one of the most valuable objects around to sell. Tomorrow old Nook will be in for quite a surprise when I cash in 13 coelocanths for 195,000 Bells. The Nook clan will be eating coelocanth for weeks to come.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 10
Saturday / 11.02.02 / 10:52PM / JoeForever

Adamsvil generally attracts an assortment of wandering vendors and worthless vagrants, ranging from the pathetic fish-dependent bum Wendell to the obvious fraud Katrina, but on Halloween we received a visit from a genuine kook: a figure calling himself the King of Halloween. This was the first time I encountered another person of authority on my new home turf, so I was surprised when our summit degraded into him begging me for candy.

A meeting of another kind is due with the ruling body of Holliday. Their leader, RhondaCat, is attempting to subvert Adamsvil's dress code by introducing an anti-Adamsvil "ladybug" design.


(1) The Able Sisters were first to adopt the ladybug.
(2) Then it propagated among my villagers.
(3) Yes, Paolo, JoeForever *is* getting upset.

If I can ever get Generalissimo Cobb to report back to Adamsvil, my war party will be able to begin plans. However, Cobb has turned his secret mission in Holliday into a relaxing beach vacation, complete with a frilly dress. He will need severe re-conditioning when he returns.

October 31st also coincided with Nook's monthly raffle drawing, which I consider a poorly timed collision of events. Nook's lottery machine seems extremely prone to abuse... by Nook himself. When a white (losing) ball is drawn, does Nook put it back in the tumbler? Or does it stay out? His sleight-of-hand is too quick to see, but either tactic reveals Nook running his own odds. The longer I live in Adamsvil, the more I see how Tom Nook is the true power here.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 11
Tuesday / 11.19.02 / 10:51PM / JoeForever

The town has seen fit to reward my weeks of leadership. Nook himself arranged the building of a life-size gold statue, near the train station.

Magnificent, isn't it? It is my hope that the Adamsvil townsfolk of the future will stand before this monument, dressed in their noble shirts, and draw inspiration from this azure monarch.

But back to matters at hand. There's some villagers I'd like to kick out of Adamsvil, and it's becoming a very tricky issue. Belle the Cow and Pippy the Horrifically Ugly Rabbit. I want Belle out simply because I don't want cows in my town. Plus, she wears a hideous caveman shirt and regularly convinces the weaker-minded townspeople to wear it too. But Pippy...

Pippy just needs to go.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 12
Friday / 11.22.02 / 11:35AM / JoeForever

We've had another reason to celebrate in Adamsvil. The town is finally at 100% compliance with the Noble Shirt dress code.

   

(L-R) Admiral, Sydney, Puck, Pippy

   

(L-R) Paolo, Olivia, Hazel, Grizzly

   

(L-R) Belle, Cashmere, Boots, Bitty

  

(L-R) Billy, Cheri, Bea

Yes sir, nothing keeps a populace in line like the forced subtraction of individual identity. It helps if you keep after them every day... sending out noble shirts to any who changed clothes overnight... breaking up any and all conversations between animals so they can't foment revolution... and as soon as a new animal moves to town, immediately send him/her a threatening letter with a shirt inside.

As Town Regent, I hope this brings a swift end to all subversive activities, including but not limited to: discussions of shopping trips to other towns, complaints that Adamsvil doesn't have a movie theater, and animals sneaking into other animal's houses to play NES.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 13
Saturday / 11.30.02 / 12:36PM / JoeForever

The Harvest Festival was a celebration of vegetarianism, as I continually filched silverware from the table so the carnivorous Tortimer could not cook up poor Franklin, a visiting turkey. It meant quite a lot of running around Adamsvil, searching for Franklin's varied hiding places so I could inform him I had stolen a fresh set of knives. I'd like to point out that I did all this running even while afflicted with Katrina's horrible tripping curse.

My reward for all this vegan goodwill was a complete set of Harvest Furniture, quite possibly the ugliest collection of dressers and sofas available. But in the spirit of the season, I temporarily replaced my incomplete Wild West-themed 2nd floor with the Harvest series. Sure, my HRA score is now approaching 60,000, but, I ask you, at what cost.

And speaking of re-decorating, after weeks of indecision between Ranch and Exotic styled furnishings, I settled on Exotic and completely overhauled my 1st floor.


(L-R) Western Room, Harvest Room, my Exotic 1st Floor

My Western series is going to be temporarily installed down on Dred Island, in wait of the final piece to complete the set. Once that's done, the Harvest stuff is O-U-T out.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 14
Sunday / 12.15.02 / 03:10AM / JoeForever

It is my goal to protect Adamsvil from all invading nations. Although I have negotiated mutually beneficial treaties of peace with the neighboring territories, it is only prudent to keep the populace in a position of strong defense and able to militarize should need arise. Here's how Adamsvil looks, here in December 2002, marking only my fourth month of Town Regent.

1. My home. The most important edifice in town, and thus at the very center of my emergency plans.

2. Admiral's house. Admiral, as his name suggests, is in charge of Adamsvil's navy.

3. Directly south of my home is a straight cliff, patrolled by Boots. Given the stores of my manor, the river on the east, and the tactical advantage of high ground, the acre is clearly our Most Defensible Position. Should we be forced to retreat on all other fronts, this is where we shall stand.

4. Pippy's house. We all hate Pippy.

5. This cliff gives a fine view of the entire SW quadrant. It is Grizzly's job to keep watch here.

6-8. These three acres form the southern front. I have every confidence that the townspeople here (Bitty, Olivia, Hazel, Cheri and Leigh) will fight in Adamsvil's defense, aided by backup on the cliffs. Hazel's position is of particular importance, as she must scan for invading ships that may be gathering in our lake.

9. We do have a weak area here, as there simply isn't enough villagers positioned to repel an incursion along the eastern wall. Luckily, Officers Copper and Booker hold an unceasing vigil in this acre, and any call for alarm they raise will be quickly answered.

10. Hornsby's house. Hornsby keeps watch over the southern seas, alert for enemy ships. Naturally, this is an extremely important lookout point.

The only front that remains unfortified is the northern edge. But with the presence of Cesar, Ava, Cashmere, Puck and Billy, we are certainly well-equipped to muster a defense along the railway track. However, it is my opinion that any foreign invasion will come from the south, as the mountainous regions surrounding Adamsvil are all but insurmountable.

Four months ago, this was a community of hippies and dirt farmers. Now they stand united to defend their homeland at any cost. Adamsvil's future is bright, and we will celebrate the dawning of 2003 with a renewed sense of nationalistic purpose.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 15
Wednesday / 12.25.02 / 03:03PM / JoeForever

In the spirit of the season, I forged a trade agreement with neighboring Holliday with the end goal of railroading Jingle out of his entire stock of gifts. Unfortunately, he outfoxxed both towns and we ended up with 12 out of 13 special items.

Which left myself and Holliday native RhondaCat looking nervously over the table at each other, silently wondering who would reap the larger share of the uneven booty. It was a tough negotiation, but I walked away with 11 unique items and she took all the duplicates and the Jingle Shirt.

Later, Jingle sent us both a phony-baloney holiday letter and the NES game Balloon Fight, which I already had bought from Crazy Redd back in September for 12,000 bells. Cruel fate!

The only other news of late is my quest to perfect Adamsvil. The town Wishing Well is some sort of landscaping guardian spirit. Every day it judges the town, according to some crazy tree-counting logorithm. Once you hit 15 days or so of perfection, the Well hands over a rare item.

Holliday, I am informed, has already achieved this. In fact, prior to our Jingle Summit, RhondaCat used this status to actively recruit Adamsvil villagers into her town. To this day, my people are still showing me her letters.

To Future Citizen Grizzly: Why not relocate to Holliday? Our town is perfect by all accounts, and we have a much better Museum. And if you like fishing, Holliday is the place to be! Signed, Perfect Town RhondaCat.

So far, only the flighty and shiftless Boots has taken up RhondaCat on her offer. Although I liked having an alligator around for pure scare value, his house was right in the middle of my orchard, so good riddance.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 16
Saturday / 01.11.03 / 01:07PM / JoeForever

RhondaCat completed her Classic furniture series a few weeks ago, sending her HRA score into the 120,000s. I've been missing one piece to my Exotic set, the Exotic Bureau... but counting all my NES games and my complete Nintendo Set, my score is around 90,000. Well, that Exotic Bureau finally turned up, in RhondaCat's town. But she was nice enough to bring it over (dragging along Rio and kicking out Maple in the process. Poor Maple, I never really got to know her...)

It just so happened that Katrina the medium was in my town that night, and RhondaCat popped in for a 50 bell reading. She got the $$$ fortune, and spent the next hour shaking down all of my trees for hidden 1,000 bell bags. RhondaCat entered my town with 5,000 bells and left with 94,000. One quick memory card swap later, I was standing in Katrina's tent getting bamboozled by her fake muttering and moaning.

I received the dreaded Tripping Curse. I mean, I can't really complain, because Katrina is a complete charlatan. And at the end of the day, I'm completing my Exotic set regardless. The funny thing is that tripping in the winter leaves a hypercephalic faceplant imprint in the snow. (By the way, that's my new favoritie outfit: the Tin Shirt.)

With a complete Exotic furniture series, my score jumped to over 160,000. That includes a top floor with the complete Harvest series (still lingering about from the Harvest Festival), the Cactus set and random Igloo, Island and Gulliver items.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 17
Tuesday / 02.25.03 / 11:40PM / JoeForever

With February 25th marking an official end to the blanket of snow that has covered our village since mid-December, I thought I'd send you all an update on Adamsvil.

ITEM. We have a new human in town. His name is NESJoe and his responsiblity is to create the best NES arcade in town. In truth, NESJoe is a soulless automaton manipulated by yours truly, which allows me the dual purpose of finding out what the animals think of me and building a bitchin' NES arcade. Since I am covering NESJoe's debt to Nook out of my own vast bank account, I estimate that there will be a second lifesize statue by the train station within a few weeks.

ITEM. Groundhog Day completely sucked. I had heard that festivities began at 7am for the big ceremony at 9am (thank you, Nintendo Power Strategy Guide)... but in fact the ceremony was held at 8am. I showed up at the Wishing Well at 8:45am, and all I saw was the post-Groundhog afterglow.

ITEM. The winter Igloo experience was like pissing your pants. At first it's allw arm and great, but it soon reaches a saturation point where it just isn't fun anymore. After about two weeks of daily rimming from the villagers insane Igloo guessing games, we spent more time banging on the Igloo exterior with our golden shovels than actually going inside. We were extremely happy to see the Igloos disappear along with the rest of the snow.

ITEM. One winter trick we did master was building a snowman. Initially, it is a daunting quest: combine two snowballs from opposite ends of the map, crossing a terrain full of rivers, cliffs and questionable pathfinding subroutines, and get both balls in just the right size ratio so the resultant snowman instantly develops a healthy self-image. But once you get a handle on the size thing, it turned out to be not so bad. The reward for perfectly cut snowmen is random pieces of the snowman furniture series, of which we managed to collect eight unique items.

I also celebrated my birthday in February, receiving Donkey Kong from Olivia (I already had it), a birthday cake from Mom, and several thoughtless, common gifts from other villagers. And that was winter in Adamsvil.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 18
Sunday / 03.23.03 / 09:27PM / JoeForever

I actually took off work to follow along with the Spring Sports Fair on March 21st. (And I had Mike and Scott over to play Doomtown and other stuff, so it wasn't just an AC holiday.) The short of it is, the Sports Fairs are a non-interactive ongoing festival. Beginning at 9am, every two hours a new "event" occurs, and the animals involved simply continue their animating over the course of the two hours. Naturally, the real brass ring to the Spring Sports Fair is the Spring Sports Medal you get from Tortimer for showing up. The Medal has Mario on it, so you know it's good.

9:00am. Aerobics with Copper. This is actually the one event you can participate in, and it's probably the most complex controller scheme you'll ever find in Animal Crossing. The C stick is used to perform various exercises, like touching your toes, jumping jacks, and windmill stretches. The best part is the music and watching any given animal inevitably fall out of pattern and get distressed. If you're good, you can try to accurately match your movements to Copper's routine, but it's difficult and you don't get anything for doing it, so why fight it. Freestyle.

11:00am. Sydney gets a pistol and goes on an Adamsvil rampage, plugging anyone she sees because no one wants to hear her offer suggestions on using your Gyroid to make money.

Actually, 11am is the foot race, your first non-event event of the day. And Sydney had the starter pistol. Two teams of two run around the Wishing Well, sometimes tripping, and after a couple laps one wins. If you want to run with them, you can, but you're considered more of a nuisance than a genuine competitor. For the five minutes I hung around, I saw Boots get his ass kicked consistently by Olivia, and the Cesar/Puck races ran about 50/50.

1:00pm. Ball Toss. This is where you start questioning the game. Why can't you pick up the balls and toss them into the baskets like Derwin? Seems like an easy thing to include. Also, why is no one keeping score. There are clearly two teams, and they are clearly giving their all, but no one is bothering to record points. Tortimer is damn near passed out behind the Well.

Eh. Watching stupid Eunice chuck balls directly up into the air was funny, anyway.

3:00pm. Tug o' War. This event really pales in comparison to the comedy value of the Ball Toss, so it leaves a bad taste in your mouth as the Spring Sports Fair draws to a close. Two teams of two are pulling and straining on a rope, but nobody ever wins. Just back and forth, and lots of sweat. Not even any tripping this time. At least, nothing happened during the brief time I watched. Just lots of groaning and Rio pointlessly waving a red flag.

Don't get me wrong, I love the idea that the game holds a Sports Fair twice a year, and it's cool to see the animals doing something other than staring at rocks. It would have been nice to tag in and get a little dirty myself.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 19
Saturday / 04.26.03 / 01:34PM / JoeForever

April really is a kind of anticipatory month in Animal Crossing. When May hits, we'll be able to find a new assortment of bugs and fish, including the eagerly awaited frog. By mid-summer, I will finally have reached the capability to have caught a complete set of both categories, if not the actual ability. On the fish side, I have yet to find a goldfish... but the missing fauna that really bothers me is the bee. The only way to catch a bee is by shaking one out of a tree and netting it before the bee swarm stings you. I have plenty of stings to show for it, but no bees.

Two new rare items were available in April: the Tree Model and the Pink Tree Model, prizes for Nature Day and the Cherry Blossom Festival, respectively. Between myself and NESJoe, I have two of each, and they will be stored on Dred Island with the rest of my model collection. Thanks to some eCards, I have two more of the Station Models, bringing my total to four (of fifteen.) That's great for my catalog, but not so great for my cramped island model shack. It's a good thing June never peeks in there.

The most interesting April event was April Fool's Day, mainly because every character suddenly had a new bit of dialogue. The townies all tried out various lame gags on me, Nook claimed to be running a 90% off sale, and I even got a little more insight into Pelly's lonely, Pete-free life. Tortimer gave me an NES game, Super Tortimer, which obviously isn't a real game and does nothing. Bastard.

A new batch of rumors suggests an AC sequel is more far off than we had previlously hoped. Japan is slated to receive an upgraded version of the original game - which is basically the American version back-translated into Japanese - but that's all Nintendo is willing to announce. AC would be a natural fit for an online title, but Nintendo still isn't quite keen on getting the GameCube online. Given the depressing state of online gaming, I'm inclined to agree. Playing with/against human gamers always seems like it would be fun, but it always ends up being with/against foul-mouthed cheating pre-teen brats. Or trashy anti-gaming griefers. I don't blame Nintendo for being slow to jump into that conceptual nightmare, given their family-friendly image.

Still, I've always said that I don't want to play online with strangers; I want to play with friends. And online Animal Crossing, Mario Party, Pokemon, Mario Kart, Mario Tennis, Smash Bros., and Legend of Zelda remains a gaming dream that I hope we live to see.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 20
Sunday / 05.25.03 / 01:11PM / JoeForever

In a directionless game like Animal Crossing, it's easy to fall into the trap of "I've done everything I want to do; this game is over." By this point (eight months after the original release), I've seen many message board postings saying "How can anybody still be playing this game?" Here's how.

#1) I don't cheat. That's the biggest point of all. Many gamers have bought the Action Replay cheater add-on, entered in the code for Complete Catalog, played level 1.1 of hidden item Super Mario Bros, and traded in AC for credit towards a new Xbox. But with no catalog cheats or sneaky time travelling I still have secret items and future events to look forward to.

#2) I change up my design. My first complete furniture series was the Exotic set... I slowly found all the needed items, displayed them, complemented them with the Nintendo set, and kept it that way for months. Then it occured to me that it might be fun to go after a new series... so I sold all the Exotic furniture and went after the Ranch series. Now, months later, I'm trading in all the Ranch stuff in the Cabin series. Even the Nintendo items are gone, so I have room to display a different range of collectibles.

#3) I buy the eCards. Almost every time I buy some Animal Crossing eCards at Electronics Boutique, the clerk on duty asks me what exactly they do. First of all, read the trades, Johnny. But anyway, the eCards have provided a street-legal way for me to expand my catalog. I would estimate that 10% of my catalog has come from the cards. Meaning that the cards brought me items that I still have never encountered in the game. Crap, if anything, the cards are the one thing killing my replay value. Even though they have sped up my collection rate a bit, they have added an additional layer of fun... the GBA games are mostly cool, the pattern cards are great, and they do provide some stuff you'd have a miserable time getting them in the game itself... like the 15 different Station Models.

#4) I don't play more than 20 minutes a day, unless something extraordinary is going on. If you play too long in a single day, you're inevitably going to burn yourself out, because the game just doesn't offer enough variance inside a single 24 hour period. (Except when you first get the game and you go crazy talking to people, fishing, buying everything, planting flowers, and such.) It's best to jump in lightly, poke around, and get out. There's always tomorrow to plan a trip to the Island, design a new pattern, or send out an eCard password.

But this is what is astonishing to me. After eight months of daily playing, after scanning hundreds of eCards, after the occasional trading with Rhonda... I still know of several items I have never found in the game yet. Still! And I don't mean secret items like the rare NES games or the Nintendo Power Mario furniture... I mean regular, everyday random-ass items. Topping the list is the damn Well from the Western series, but I'm also missing lots of Gyroids, a couple Island items, and some Crazy Redd-exclusive furniture. Oh, plus here-and-there blank spots from the other village vendors... Gracie, K.K., Gulliver, Wendell and Saharah.

And last night, I saw Wisp for the very first time. I've played after midnight plenty of times, but this was the first time I heard Wisp calling for me to trigger his minigame of spirit-hunting. After eight months, the game still pulled out a surprise for me. That is absolutely incredible.

Honestly, I've seen the most of what this game can do. This summer holds the final pieces: the new season of bugs and fish, the summer camping games, and some other holiday stuff. I'm sure there will be a smattering of new conversations to experience; getting some new dialogue with a villager is a rare treat, but it does happen. I'm unsure if I will continue to play daily once a hit a solid year... I have a vain hope that the game will reward me in some fashion for perfect attendance. No one has yet reported any such bonus, but then again no has yet to play 365 days in a row.

And even though I haven't missed a day, I have missed various annual events... Officers' Day, New Year's fortune telling, Spring Cleaning Day, etc. So even if I stop playing daily, I might try to login on the holidays I missed from 2002-2003.

If anything, it will just fill the time until the sequel.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 21
Monday / 06.16.03 / 11:10AM / JoeForever

This past Saturday night I completed my collection of K.K. Slider songs. I've been working on it pretty diligently since January when NESJoe moved into town. Just so you know, the game offers no additional bonuses for collecting all 52 music files. Having a fully stocked jukebox is apparently reward enough.

This actually finishes one of NESJoe's assigned tasks. Helping me collect K.K. songs was one; creating a venue for all the NES games and Mario items is the other.

Thanks to series 4 of the AC eCards, I now have Ice Climber and the original Mario Bros. I found the Ice Climber card in a pack, but I had to snag the Mario Bros. card from eBay. I don't like Ice Climber, but Mario Bros. is one of my all-time favorite classic arcade games. This version - the NES version - isn't as nice as the original coin-op game, but it's more or less equivalent. Jumping isn't as tight as I'd like, and many of the graphics were dumbed down for the NES... but, heck, it's easily one of the best 2P NES games going.

I'm decided I'm done with buying AC eCards from retail. My last purchase - six packs of series 4 and 2 of series 3 - contained exactly two cards I needed. That's a pretty good sign that I've achieved Maximum Rarity Yield. So from now on, it's only eBay browsing for me. I'm only missing 40 or so cards from the entire run, so it's a very achievable goal.

And on that note, I'm selling some lots of cards on eBay. Three auctions, a small, medium and large assortment of my dupes. I don't really care what they go for as long as they go; I just don't have the space for multiples of cards that I only need one of in the first place. So if you're just starting out in AC, that's some good auction meat there... usually people sell eCards as singles and try to get $1.00 or $2.00 per card. I don't imagine they hold a ton of rare cards - these are my leftovers after leaving myself two of every card - but the rarity scheme for AC cards is subject to extreme questioning anyway. So you never know. I could have just the card you're looking for.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 22
Friday / 07.04.03 / 09:06PM / JoeForever

We've already seen all the fireworks I need for the night, in our respective towns of Adamsvil and Holliday. Mayor Tortimer handed out fake bottle rockets, and Crazy Redd set up a booth by the lake. He's like those seedy carnies who hawk calamine tubes and knockoff Spider-Man balloons at state fairs.

And he has regionally diversified his stock this visit. In Adamsvil he sold only balloons - a crappy choice since you can get balloons for free at every Nook sale. In Holliday, Redd had an assortment of freaking paper fans, a rare series of items you can only get during the Fireworks Festival. You can be assured that Adamsvil and Holliday will engage in some sort of balloons-for-paper fans trade arrangement shortly.

My insect and fish collection is in the final phase. On the bug side, I need a Banded Dragonfly and a Giant Beetle to complete the set. Giant Beetles are found after 11pm this month, so that one shouldn't be a big deal. The Banded Dragonfly is a problem, however. I've seen it several times already, but it flies across the screen faster than I can run. I thought the dreaded Bee was going to be the toughest grab, but this stupid dragonfly may end me.

My fish screen is also in peril. I need the Jellyfish; no surprise, everybody needs a Jellyfish - they don't show up until the end of August. My only other empty slot is the Piranha... a fish of nondescript size and shape. I've spent hours looking for it with nothing to show but tons of barbel steeds, small bass, and crucian carps. At this point, I'm ready to dangle my arm in the water. In contrast, RhondaCat needs only the Giant Snakehead and the Arowana (and the Jellyfish), which means she just needs to haunt the lake until a gigantic shadow shows up.

Another annoying postscript is that I somehow missed Adamsvil Day. It was July 3rd. Holliday Day is the 21st, so RhondaCat still has a chance to get the rare train station model for her town.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 23
Tuesday / 07.29.03 / 12:10PM / JoeForever

I really hate fishing.

When you're searching for a particular fish, the whole process can be exceptionally frustrating and lengthy. Since you can rarely tell what kind of fish is lurking below the waves, it's a lot of trial and error to catch them all. Compare that to insects, where you can see exactly what type of bug you're about to catch. The tradeoff is that more fish sell for more money than insects.

But I'm happy to report that I have very little fishing left to do. Namely, the hunt for the jellyfish that appears in late August. I finally snagged a piranha, and I fully expect that to be the last difficult catch. I must have put in ten to twenty hours just in fishing for the piranha. Ugh.

And on a similar note, I have completed my insect collection. The Banded Dragonfly was my last catch. Here's my method for catching it... I basically ran around a block of four acres, scaring off / catching any non-Banded Dragonfly insects I happened to see. I saw the BD several times over the course of an hour, but only once did I happen to luck into its flight path. But once is all I needed.

Blathers immediately noticed that the museum's insect collection was now complete, and he thanked me profusely. However, he gave me nothing. I am a true patron of the arts, I suppose. The next day, Mayor Tortimer was waiting at my door as soon as I woke up. (Creepy.) He congratulated me further and awarded me a Golden Net. The Golden Net is about twice the size of the regular net, so catching bugs is easier. As if I'll be catching any more damn bugs.

The final reward was a decorative butterfly hung on the side of my house. That little bit of curb appeal didn't show up until nearly a day later... I swear it just magically showed up after Pango the Anteater happened to notice I had caught all the insects. The butterfly doesn't particularly match with my existing Lord Grimeley's decor: black roof, Whateleys crest on door, bones scattered around the yard.

In other news, I've been trying my best to wake up early for Copper's morning aerobics (between 6-7am.) If you exercise fourteen days over a month, you get a special furniture item. Unfortunately, the first day I remembered it was raining, so exercises were cancelled. RhondaCat has had sunny weather all week, so she's a day ahead of me.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 24
Wednesday / 09.17.03 / 11:30PM / JoeForever

Nothing happened.

Today marks my one year anniversary of playing Animal Crossing. I've played every day since September 17, 2002. I was hoping that something cool would happen today, but nothing did. I can't say I'm surprised; that would be a pretty awful way to hide a secret in the game, wouldn't it? Very very few players would hit that goal. But it would have been great to get Super Mario Bros. in the mail this morning. I would have went straight to the message boards and posted in all caps.

So let's reflect on what I've accomplished after a year living in Animal Crossing.


  • Catalog completion: fossils, stationery, K.K. songs.

  • Completed the fish and insect collection screens.

  • One painting to go, and my entire museum is finished.

  • For several weeks, I had every single villager wearing the Noble Shirt.

  • Collected the complete Harvest series, Jingle series and Igloo item sets.


This is not a complete list, but here's some items I still have never found... even after a full year of playing plus tons of eCard purchases: Well (from the Western set), White Bishop, Red Corner, Lawn Mower, Surfboard, Diver Dan, Life Ring, Pagoda, Bonfire, Propane Stove, Daisy Meadow, Pulse Shirt (plus several other Gracie designs), Green Pinwheel, and about 20 different gyroids. Feel free to contact me about trades, but no universal codes please.

So do I continue? Honestly, yes. I missed several special events over the last year... like next week's Fall Sports Festival, for example. But get this: once you get the special rare item from an event, you can never get it again. I found this out at the recent Harvest Moon party. Last year, Tortimer gave me the special Moon item, and I sold it for quick cash. This year, no item. Just small talk. I assumed that every year you could collect the event-exclusive items again, but that is not the case. I'm more than a little pissed about that. Seems like playing one particular day over the course of a damn year should earn you the right to multiple copies of rare items. (Or in this case, replacing one that was foolishly sold.) I guess Nintendo anticipated cheating time travellers that would beam from year to year to collect a house full of Moons. Thanks again, you cheating bastards.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 25
Monday / 10.13.03 / 11:59AM / JoeForever

Hopefully my second year of Animal Crossing will be the year I complete the catalog. To that end I am aggressively recording what items I need - although many are Crazy Redd items, which leaves me at the mercy of A) randomly generated Redd events or B) online trading. Then there's the Station Models, which I'll have to hunt down on the eCard games.

I have started keeping track of the weekly turnip prices in hopes of discovering a trend. I read somewhere that good turnip prices are the same over the life of your town. Meaning that if the turnip selling price spikes when you buy for 80 bells, then the price will always go high when you buy for 80. Could be true, could be crappy internet rumor, like the one I started about flying your Arwing. If this pattern is true, it will make the uber-rare $$$ post office items a reachable goal.

But the really good news is that Bitty is gone. I've always hated her. I have a low tolerance for the snobby personality types, and when that rudeness is combined with a fat pink monster I am even less affable. (Although I don't mind the attitude on sexy villagers like Olivia.)

So I thought I would share what I have learned about controlling your town's population. There's a lot of worthless information out there on this topic. Hitting villagers with your net, shoving them into pitfalls, and sending them mean letters will have no effect on making them move out. None. That is all a waste of time, except that it's funny. Like most things in Animal Crossing, you have to learn to increase your odds and control the game's random nature.

The first step in selective villager management is to go against your instincts: Talk ONLY to the animals you want to move (or to those you don't care one way or the other.) In my town, I was only talking to Ava, Bitty, Cheri, Anicotti... and sometimes Puck and Billy. What you're trying to do is trigger the random conversation where the animal tells you they intend to move out (or asks you if you think they should move.) I haven't exactly determined which comes first, however: either the game decides randomly who is next to move and that animal confesses, or the conversation causes it. I suspect it is the latter.

Regardless, when an animal you want to ditch tells you he or she intends to move, get on the train and go. That animal will move to whatever town you visit... this is why it is good to run a garbage town, to collect all the losers you're trying to get rid of. Bitty now lives in my garbage town, a miserable hellhole full of weeds. On the less-evil side, I'm trying to get Anicotti to move back into RhondaCat's town because she was one of Rhon's favorites... so when Anicotti decides she's got the wanderlust, I'll send her off to Holliday.

This is still a muddled area. It is possible to talk for weeks and not see the "I'm moving" conversation, so you could have no idea who is next to leave on the train. My next tip is much more controllable, easily remembered by the economics maxim Last In First Out.

Conversations aside, your animal most in danger of leaving town suddenly is your newest one. If you're not travelling yourself (and therefore instigating the follow-along move), you'll receive a new villager about every two weeks. The new arrival always kicks out the "youngest" animal. So in a town with no train-travelling, your bottom 14 villagers (the oldest) will remain the same while the 15th position constantly rotates every two weeks. If you have people visiting your town, their follow-along movers will likewise always squeeze out your newest animal.

If you get a 15th villager that you want to keep, you have to move them further down the list by letting other animals move in. The only way to do this is to travel yourself and have one of your animals move out, and thereby making room for a new animal to move in (as long as your town is in good condition, a new animal will always appear to fill an empty slot.) This will drop your 15th down to 14th, making him or her relatively safe.

Summary:
When you travel to another town...
- A random villager moves out of your town and into the town you visit. You can attempt to manipulate this by talking to villagers and forcing the "I'm moving" conversation. If this is an animal that the second town has never seen before, he or she will be the new #15, squeezing out the previous #15. If this animal has a history with the second town, he or she will keep the old rank... thus bumping #14 to #15.
- A new animal will appear in your town to fill the empty slot as your new #15.

When someone travels to your town...
- The traveller will bring along a random villager that will move into your town, squeezing out your #15. If your town has never seen this animal before, he or she will be the new #15. If this animal has already lived in your town, he or she will keep the old rank and push your #14 to #15.
- The traveller's town will receive a new random villager as their #15.

If you do not travel at all...
- Every two weeks your #15 will disappear, replaced by a new random animal.

I've learned this over the course of some very painful lessons. Like many AC players, I at first assumed that regular conversations and fond letter-writing would create relationships and keep my favorite villagers from moving away. I tested this hardcore on Samson, a mouse I really liked. I sent him a letter a day, talked to him constantly, gave him fruit. He was #15; he moved away after two weeks. I did the same with Dilbert, a geeky duck whose catch phrase was "Derrrrrr." I got Dilbert down to #14, but then a train brought a villager who had already done time in Adamsvil... pushing Dilbert to #15. In two weeks, he was gone, despite all the fun we had at the Spring Sports Fair.

Letters mean nothing. Errands mean nothing. Pitfalls means nothing. It's all about controlling who is in your 15th slot, and dealing with the random nature of the train tagalong.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 26
Sunday / 12.07.03 / 03:01PM / JoeForever

The streak is over.

Yes, I finally missed a day after playing for over thirteen months straight. It was a Friday, I worked late, we had some running around to do, I came home and passed out. Woke up and realized I had forgotten to play Animal Crossing. Hey, I did the entire year. Got nothing for it, but I did an entire year. The experiment is still a success. So it's not a big deal at all, just the first chink in the armor against inevitable obsolescence.

I have found several missing catalog items since the last Log Entry. I now have no further need to talk to Saharah or Gulliver. I'm missing four Wendall wallpapers and nine Gracie shirts, a handful of Redd items and Island items, and fifteen Gyroids. Once I find the Basic Painting I'll completely finish up the Museum, and then there's the Post Office items and a couple of Camper items. Not much, really. Most of these items aren't tradable or I'd give you a list.

The Station Models worry me. I had originally thought that you could get all fifteen of them from the eCard games, but that's not the case. I'm only missing one of the game cards (P08, the one that gets you Station Model 12) and I still need four Station Models besides that one... 1, 4, 7 and 11. I suppose someday I'll have to look into creating towns for the express purpose of filching their individual Station Models, which you only get during the July Hometown Day holiday. Ick.

The eCard game where you have to guess which villager is under investigation by Copper or Booker is unacceptably hard, by the way. The dog will give you five clues, and you have to guess which villager he's talking about. Out of approximately 300 characters. You have to get the guess on the second clue to get the good prize... and the clues are maddeningly vague. "Is Pink, Red or Purple" "Has nothing on head" I played for about an hour and it was extremely lucky that I won once within two clues.

My turnip market quest has continued. I've only missed two weeks out of the past thirteen, and the internet theory has held up. It sounds like a good theory until you realize how many numbers there are between the seventies and one-twenties. I have had exactly one price repeat - 119 - but it was a bust both times, as predicted. I've only hit twice in thirteen weeks, on 114 and 86, and naturally those have yet to show up again.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 27
Sunday / 01.18.04 / 07:03PM / JoeForever

I know I said I wasn't going to bother listing my missing items for you, but what the hell. What follows is everything I need to complete my catalog (according to the Nintendo Power Player's Guide anyway) and my level of irritation with it: Minor, Major, Extreme, and Suicidal. If you want to help me out with some trading, toss me an email, but be warned, I don't cheat and don't use universal codes.

Furniture
Blue Tartan, Dump Model, Museum Model
These are just some items I missed last year. The tartan shirt is entirely tradeable; I just either forgot to buy it last summer or never saw it. The Dump Model and Museum Model are untradeable, but easy enough to get... although the Museum Model does ride on me getting Crazy Redd's damn Basic Painting first.

Gyroids
Mini Gargloid, Mini Echoid, Poltergoid, Mega Croakoid, Mini Strumboid, Mini Rustoid, Drilloid, Mini Oombloid, Mini Sputnoid, Sputnoid, Mini Quazoid, Tall Quazoid (untradeable)
Only minor irritation here. Gyroids may show up randomly after a rainstorm, but it rains fairly often and the buried gyroids never go anywhere if you forget to dig them up. Given enough rainy days, collecting all the gyroids isn't too terrible.

Flower Models
Pansy Model 3, Tulip Model 1, Cosmos Model 1, Cosmos Model 2
Groundhog Day is coming up, so maybe I'll score one or two of these. If not, they're easily traded. Plus, Pansy 3 comes on the Resetti eCard.

Island Items
Surfboard, Diver Dan, Life Ring (untradeable)
These items just require a little work. One of these days I'll get around to sailing down to Dred Island for some dig sessions with the islander. Yeah, this is more random nonsense, but at least I'm in control of when and how often I can do it.

Post Office Items
Mailbox, Piggy Bank, Post Office Model (untradeable)
These items come with banking tons of bells in the bank. A Valued Customer reward, I guess. If I can manage to hit it big in the turnip market, this is easy stuff. But that's much easier said than done.

Wendell Wallpaper
Mortar Wall, Ancient Wall, Sandlot Wall, Tree-Lined Wall (untradeable)
Stupid fat Wendell. It seems like he only shows up every three months and when he does, you get a random wallpaper that you already have. Asinine.

Snowman Series
Snowman Wardrobe (untradeable)
There are twelve possible Snowman items. I need one of them. It's a pain in the ass to make a proper snowman, and the reward is a random delivery of one of those items. So far this winter, I've made seven snowmen... and not only have they all NOT been Wardrobes, but half of them have been duplicates. Bite me, you stinking self-absorbed snowdink.

Camper Items
Propane Stove, Bonfire (untradeable)
The summer tent minigames are terrible. They're not fun, rely almost entirely on luck, and pay out with absurdly awful items. But occasionally you get a rare Camper item, of which I am missing two.

Gracie Shirts
Strawberry Shirt, Grape Shirt, Fiendish Shirt, Shirt Circuit, Pulse Shirt, Orange Pinstripe, Crossing Shirt, Giraffe Print (untradeable)
Piss me off. Another random item seller who distributes random crap randomly. And, bonus, you get thumb cramps from her obnoxious A button game.

Station Models
Station Model 1, Station Model 4, Station Model 7, Station Model 11, Station Model 12
Yeah, these are tradeable, but who the hell is going to offer them up? You only get one of fifteen per town, so finding the other fourteen means either trading for them... or making new towns and hoping against hope that they'll get the models you need. Nintendo was nice enough to put most of them as prizes on the eCard games, but not all of them.

Redd Items
Lawn Mower, Red Corner, Well, Basic Painting
The ultimate in crappy random distribution. Redd shows up never, and when he does, he only sells three items. And not all of them are even exclusive to Redd, most can be bought from Nook for less. So you never see the guy, he barely sells anything you want, yet he has a needed piece of every furniture series. This shithead is keeping me from completing my super-awesome Wild West room. Assclown.

NES Games
Punch-Out, Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. (untradeable)
Who would have guessed that almost a year and a half after the game's US release, Nintendo would still have kept these NES games secret? Clu Clu Crap Land we get, but Punch-Out remains hidden. The Player's Guide only lists Punch-Out as necessary for catalog completion, but we all know the other two are in there too. Maybe someday they'll release the codes for these games, but even the most ardent of Nintendo fans has lost all hope by now.

So there you have it. 52 items, most of which are completely untradeable and frustratingly random. I sort of doubt that catalog completion was intended as the goal of the game, given how hard it is to do... without cheating. Maybe if you lived in a commune with twenty people playing Animal Crossing, you could work together to get one person to finish their catalog. Not that that's a bad idea, a building full of Nintendo gamers, just totally nuts.

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Animal Crossing Log Entry 28
Sunday / 02.29.04 / 11:56PM / JoeForever

Today it occurred to me that I've never taken you on a tour of my home. I've posted some Hiptop pics, but those are as detailed as Gene Shalit's average movie review... so here's some megasized screenshots of my house(s) in Animal Crossing. (Click the thumbnail for the big version, suitable for desktop backgrounds!)

Standing outside my estate, you can see how I've tried to put on a show of terror and dictatorship. Notice the bones. And the black roof. I used to love watching Puck wander around the back of the house, trying to look in the window. Avert your eyes, lest you see that which would blind.

The horror theme continues inside. That's all of Jack's Spooky Furniture series, plus some of the scarier Gulliver items. Three poltergoids are conducting an unholy ritual by the fireplace, and a complete pteradactyl skeleton looms over the right hand side of the room. The music playing is either K.K. Dirge or K.K. Lament.

I would suspect that most AC players have a mess of a basement like this one. I have a completed chesspiece set in the top left corner (which dates back to some of my very first weeks playing the game.) The green model pieces in the center are awaiting transit to Dred Island, where I store all of my town models. Also, two birthday cakes, a legion of Lawn Gnomes, and extra pitfalls. Ever since playing Fatal Frame, the Japanese doll stand (the Hinanyango) has struck me as a particularly frightening piece of furniture, but I just haven't found room for it upstairs yet.

This room is my pride and joy: the finished Western Series. After my last post, I received a couple of emails from folks willing to send me the last piece I needed, the Well. Thanks, guys! Gaze upon the awesomness of it all! I supplemented my Western set with the four totem poles, the phonograph (playing K.K. Western, naturally), a barrel and a campfire.

Across the street is NESJoe's house, a mule for all the cool Nintendo items. Check out his front yard; he's a total eCard pattern whore!

Here's the Adamsvil Arcade: every possible NES game. There's three empty places, awaiting Punch-Out!!, Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario Bros. The Nintendo set and the Lucky Nintendo set is stuffed in there, alongside the complete Mario furniture series. I think it looks pretty damn cool, but the HRA doesn't think so. The Mario Series is especially cool because each piece makes a Marioppropriate sound.

NESJoe's top floor started out as a tropical paradise, but it soon became crammed with every Island and Gulliver item I could find. There is literally only one open space of floor here, which makes stomping cockroaches much easier.

This is where I keep stuff that I don't really want, but couldn't bear to sell. Like pets... there's several insects and fish (and a bird and a hamster) that I kept as pets at one time or another back in my house. When I needed the space, I dumped them all in NESJoe's basement. Other things I used to collect are stashed here: all the different TV sets, the poker symbol t-shirts, some Camper items, and the friggin' Moon.

And that's how I've decorated my quarters. Lately I've been thinking of taking over the other two empty houses in the neighborhood. If Nintendo remains silent on any possible AC sequel, I may tackle that someday.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Animal Crossing Log eReader Mario Photos Sidekick

Animal Crossing Log Entry 29
Saturday / 07.03.04 / 01:24AM / JoeForever

All things must pass, even great games. I've played AC only sparingly for several months now. I'm still missing an obnoxious list of catalog items and I suppose I'll have to make peace with that... but the long honeymoon is over. I've seen every special event, I have all the NES games Nintendo is willing to give out, I'm positive I got more out of this game than 95% of everybody else who owns it simply because of the real-time == real-life attitude I had when I played it.

The last couple times I visited Adamsvil was because we have a couple friends who just got into the game, so we all travelled to see each others' villages. Two of these friends happen to be under the age of 13; I always like to see kids embrace video games. Not just simply playing them or hunting down cheat codes... I mean embracing them. Talking about the characters outside the gameworld, sending artwork to Nintendo Power, and, in Animal Crossing's case, making rock-solid appointments to return to the game on Saturday night because K.K. is in town.

And about my stalk market study: I now believe that the notion that your town will always hit on certain numbers is crap. It's random. If you play it often enough with multiple characters and multiple towns, you'll come out ahead... but anyone who tells you there's a pattern or a science to it is just parroting internet heresay. I have the notes to prove that I missed on X one week, and then hit on X three months later.

Another revision: my treatise on how and why animals move. It has occurred to me that I overlooked one important variable: the receiving town's beauty level. If the receiving town is in bad shape (as defined by the Wishing Well) then it is less likely that tagalong animals will move in. This seems awfully obvious to me now, but since my town was rated Perfect for almost forever, I tended to forget about that and so I didn't mention it in my big theory.

Does this mean the end to the Animal Crossing Log? Perhaps. At least, I doubt I'll have the gumption for semi-monthly updates. But I am very excited for Animal Crossing DS. Several questions immediately come to mind: Will you be able to carry over some aspect(s) of your existing character / town / items? How will it take advantage of the DS's online capabilities? And, most importantly, will it actually ever come out? Not to suck the life out of you, but it's entirely likely that AC DS will fizzle out and remain an E3 '04 tech demo.

But if it does come out, I guarantee I will be first in line, and the Animal Crossing Log will live again. See you then. Maybe even in person.

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TAGS: Animal Crossing Animal Crossing Log DS

Animal Crossing Theories
Saturday / 05.21.05 / 12:33PM / JoeForever

Planet GameCube has a preview of Animal Crossing DS up, straight from E3. This being such a huge game for me, I thought I'd dupe their article and include my commentary.

In our interview yesterday with Takashi Tezuka and Katsuya Eguchi, we learned several new details and got some clarifications on features for Animal Crossing DS. One of the driving forces behind the development is to encourage communication between players. They feel that the DS's touch pen and wireless features really help to facilitate the next step in Animal Crossing's evolution. The touch screen simplifies the gameplay significantly, allowing you to access menus and type more naturally or even navigate the world by pointing the stylus in the direction you want your character to run or by tapping objects to interact with them.

Obvious benefit. Typing in AC was always a chore, and aside from a couple notes written largely to amuse myself, I bailed on it pretty quickly. There was only the barest suggestion that the AC townspeople could actually understand your letters to them anyway... and I think that was only based on a simple grammar checker. As for controlling your character with the stylus, that's fine. I would suspect we'll get both methods of control anyway, stylus and d-pad.

When asked about what specific character interactions we could expect, the developers didn't say much about what they had implemented into the game, focusing instead on how players can interact with each other as they would in real life to create their own games of tag or have fishing tournaments or negotiate with each other for items.

Now that's lame. If that's final, they just dumbed down AC multiplayer to trading and selling items. No one is going to self-organize fishing tournaments or a game of tag, come on. There really ought to be some sort of unique features and options that pop up when you meet other real-life players... items that can be activated to trigger mini-games. Like a jump rope to start a timing jump game, NES Balloon Fight to play a 2P match on the top screen, little sailboats to do a mic-blowing boat race. There needs to be some level of game-directed multiplayer. Playing tag. WTF. It's that kind of silly ephemeral junk that gets Nintendo in trouble with the mainstream.

Eguchi did confirm that the game will allow you to play cross-regionally with players across the globe. As opposed to the region-specific versions of Animal Crossing on GameCube, the DS game will be the same worldwide, with holidays specific to the Animal Crossing world. Basically, the way multiplayer works is that one player will act as host, and up to three others will be able to visit that person's town.

I read elsewhere that going wi-fi might bring up a list of towns you can visit, presumably placed on the network from players across the world and labelled as "accepting travellers" or something. This raises the question, will you really be able to open up your town to anybody? Or will there some kind of block so that only pre-approved people can see you online (like parental controls)? I don't know what to expect here... on one hand I'd love to interact with gamers in Japan and all over, but what's to stop some jerk from chopping down all my trees or painting obscenities on the town bulletin board?

In terms of local play, you can now build your house wherever you like in the town, whether you want a beach house or want your pad close to Tom Nook's shop. Four players can still play using the same card, but they all live in the same house. As your house expands, you can build separate rooms for each character and negotiate with each other to determine who gets which room.

This will require some thought: where do I put my house? Do I go for that seaside view, or keep it close to Nook's and the post office? And how big will it get... I don't want to place it so that future stories will block something awesome. I have a feeling this will require some soul searching.

Four players on one card is a nice favor. They could easily have said "one person per card!" and made you buy a second copy of the game if you have a wife or sibling who wants to play too. Sort of demonstrates how much storage space those DS cards hold, since it took an entire GameCube 59 memory card to one an AC saved game... the DS card has to keep the save file plus the game data.

When asked if Animal Crossing had any sleep mode features, similar to the bark mode in Nintendogs, Eguchi stated that they have not implemented anything yet, but are considering an option to allow someone to draw something in PictoChat and post it directly to the bulletin board in the other person's Animal Crossing town. They are also open to explore other ideas as development continues.

It's good to know that PictoChat isn't stuck on its own little LAN island... hopefully Nintendo left a back door in that will get PictoChat online as well. That said, I don't really understand what that example actually means, and it certainly has nothing to do with the Nintendogs sleep mode that started the question.

Many of the special NPCs such as Mr. Resetti and Tom Nook will return, in addition to some new characters. Likewise many of the popular items and furniture sets will make a return, with a number of new sets and new types of items such as the hats and face gear seen on the show floor. One set of items that will be left out of the DS version is the collection of NES games. This time, the developers have decided to focus on the Animal Crossing world, instead of including the classic NES titles or Game Boy titles as some people had hoped.

Or rather, Nintendo Revolution's new downloadable game library means that they don't want free NES games hidden inside Animal Crossing DS, which is a big mistake. The NES games were a major buzz topic that helped the original AC get attention. It sucks that we won't have that to look forward to.

AC DS better have a ton of new furniture and items. 5x as many as the first game would be nice. With wi-fi play, the random distribution of the rare stuff shouldn't be near as obnoxious, since I'm sure AC DS trading zones will pop up as soon as the game is released. In fact, if the tech allows it, I'll open up my city for regular entry and post about it here at fourhman.com. And hopefully we'll all have more to do together than trade sofas and play freakin' tag.

The last bit of info we gleaned from our time is that players can now set the Animal Crossing clock to match their play patterns. So if you usually play the game at night, but want to experience daytime events in your town, you can change the time settings in the game without having to change the main clock in the DS firmware.

Guh? You could do this before, and it was called cheating. No thanks.

What would be cooler - and still tricky - would be to travel to somebody else's town who lives in a different time zone if you missed an event. Depending on the holiday, you could literally have two full days to catch an event... just hop over to a friend's town in Tokyo.

Still, these details are bare and a lot can happen until the November release. Animal Crossing DS has been consistently referred to as the DS killer app, so it has a lot to live up to.

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Animal Crossing 2K5: The Return
Sunday / 07.17.05 / 01:06AM / JoeForever

Lately my Animal Crossing Log has generated a few nice emails, from people who are new to the game and perhaps looking for trustworthy non-cheaters with which to trade. When one kind soul (Hey Simon!) offered up a Basic Painting, I knew it was time to play again.

As you can see, the forest floor has been overtaken by invasives. I fired up the game after midnight hoping to find Wisp for a quick mowing of the property, but I did not see him. Those weeds are going to stay there until I do, which may, I suppose, never happen.

Here's a couple villagers giving me the business for being away for so long. Amelia quoted my absence at 17 months. Billy was more concerned about me being up so late. It was fun seeing everyone again, hearing catchphrases I had nearly forgotten, even though the animals' scripts haven't improved one bit while I was away. "Want to know the secret to catching fish?" No, dude, I caught my last fish two years ago.

There was a letter from Aziz in my mailbox; I don't even remember seeing that guy in town. I think Ace just moved in... we had the "first conversation" speech so I know he is new. I had forgotten how terrible the camping games are... Hank here wanted me to guess which photograph (out of four) was his. Not fun.

This is why I love Animal Crossing. I have not touched the game since 2003, and yet they still went on with their fishing tournaments and posted the weekly winners on the town bulletin board. This screen shows one of the champs from the summer '04 tourney.

It was about this time that I remembered that Nook isn't open late at night, so I couldn't perform any trades anyway. I came back again at 9am sharp the next morning.

Here's me turning over the Basic Painting to Blathers. He is understandably thrilled... and then even more excited when he realizes that the entire Museum is now complete: all the fossils, all the fish, all the bugs, and now all the paintings. I expect a Museum Model in my mail tomorrow morning.

As thanks for Simon's Basic Painting, I sent him a Scary Painting, with more on the way.

I also found myself doing the usual old run around: dig up fossils, sell any found items, deposit the bells in the bank, scan for any expensive-looking bugs or shells. I may even have a return visit to the island sometime this week.

See, Animal Crossing DS is coming, and I'm starting to feel the familiar twinge for exploring and collecting in this confined little world. Plus I can't wait to see how Nintendo manages to un-confine it as it kicks off their big online strategy this fall.

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