A poem, about animal crossing. Please enjoy.
Animal Crossing actually never hooked me. I understand that for some the game is a powerful narcotic, but I found it to be an irritant. It’s more brazen with its time wasting than any “hardcore” game would ever dare to be. People faulted Too Human for the long, un-skippable death animation, but that’s trivial compared to the time wasting exercises in Animal Crossing. Imagine if you had to watch that long animation at every level change, every chapter break, and at the introduction of every new enemy and every new weapon.
The game pisses away little chunks of time here and there, making you sit through repetitious chatter and perform mundane tasks in the service of the town rodents. And then there is Mr. Resetti, who will torment you with a long harangue if you turn off the game without saving. Who devised this idea of punishing players by deliberately wasting their time? It’s one thing to fail to make a game fun. It’s another to make it aggravating on purpose.
True story: A few years ago my youngest was a little too young to know how to use the living room electronics properly. He’d want to watch a movie or something and end up pushing the wrong button. So, we had a rash of console resets until we taught him properly, and my daughters had to deal with Mr. Resetti a few times. The last time, my daughter cried. She wasn’t upset at the last hour of gameplay that had just been wiped out, she was upset at the prospect of having to endure Mr. Resetti again. The thought of paging through his angry rude chatterboxes for several minutes was enough to drive her to tears.
Screw you, Nintendo.
A lot of time is squandered in the game accomplishing very little. In the end, the random number generator has far more creative control over the town than you do. Imagine Minecraft. Now imagine that harvesting ALL blocks takes fifteen seconds, like mining obsidian. And it takes time to craft each and every item. And you can only acquire tools from the NPC’s that live around you, who are all irrational assholes. And you usually can’t ask for what you need, but must wait for their random behavior to bestow it.
I love the art style. I love the concept. I hate how cruel the game is with regards to wasting the player’s time. I’m sure existing fans would defend the time-sink as “part of the game”, but I’m convinced that if you removed all the deliberate time-taxes in the game it would provide an experience that is more entertaining and just as addictive. I don’t think the time tax is required to make the game fun, it’s just something players have learned to tolerate.
As I’ve said, I don’t play the game myself, but I still get angry at it. I’ll walk through the living room and see my kids playing it. They’ll click on the owl that runs the museum to see if he needs a particular fossil they’ve dug up. I’ll pass through to the kitchen, get a drink and some food, and come back into the living room and see that they are still trying to extricate themselves from the conversation, when all they needed was an an answer to the binary question, “do you need this item or not?” They’re just slamming through endless dialog bubbles, all of them stuff they’ve seen a hundred times before.
Whew. Maybe I should have published this post under “rants”.
And also, it bears repeating: Screw you, Nintendo.
A Star is Born
Remember the superhero MMO from 2009? Neither does anyone else. It was dumb. So dumb I was compelled to write this.
The product of fandom run unchecked, this novel began as a short story and grew into something of a cult hit.
The Terrible New Thing
Fidget spinners are ruining education! We need to... oh, never mind the fad is over. This is not the first time we've had a dumb moral panic.
The Loot Lottery
What makes the gameplay of Borderlands so addictive for some, and what does that have to do with slot machines?
A video discussing Megatexture technology. Why we needed it, what it was supposed to do, and why it maybe didn't totally work.