Stolen Pixels #242: Welcome to Town!

By Shamus
on Nov 9, 2010
Filed under:
Column

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.

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2020202016There are now 96 comments. Almost a hundred!

From the Archives:

  1. Amnestic says:

    I can’t be the only person whose mind jumped to this:

    http://lparchive.org/LetsPlay/Animal%20Crossing/

    When seeing today’s comic.

    I’ve actually not played much of Animal Crossing myself, so this LP is the vast majority of my knowledge about the game series >.>;

    • Nihil says:

      Count me in. It’s easily one of the most brilliant videogame-related things I’ve ever seen. I was actually expecting Shamus to at least nod to it after the comic.

    • Kanodin says:

      I immediately thought of that as well. On Animal Crossing it’s fun for a time, but ultimately it only has a few things for you to actually do. You’re supposed to be entertained by doing them over and over, which quickly lost any appeal for me.

    • MintSkittle says:

      I don’t normally go in for horror/suspense, but I have to say that’s one of the best LPs I’ve ever read.

    • Gandaug says:

      Just read it. Amazing work.

    • Halfling says:

      Wow that was completely awesome. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Riesz says:

      Was the first thing that I thought of as well.

      It’s incredibly hilarious, but in the end it became slightly TOO demented and creepy for my tastes. First few chapters are solid gold, though.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      Utterly marvellous.

      Erm, but how much of that is consistent with the actual game?

      • PurePareidolia says:

        I don’t know, but having just read it, it’s my personal canon and I’ll never play the game itself because it’d ruin it.

      • Mari says:

        The fact that the raccoon is usurious and strands you with debt, whether you want it or not, is canonical. Getting letters from “Mom” with little “gifts” attached. The balloons that float by with random junk. So…essentially the details are pretty much cannon. The story itself is pure fiction but very enjoyable fiction.

        Also, that is a super-cool explanation for the gyroids, especially considering their real-world history as funerary objects.

    • MisteR says:

      Yep, first thing on my mind. That LP is one of the best out there, and that’s saying a lot. The Terrible Secret of Animal Crossing, indeed.

    • Veloxyll says:

      +1 people who thought of that LP when seeing this comic.

    • Jjkaybomb says:

      I had never played nor heard any details about Animal Crossing when I read that story, and I got SEVERELY freaked out when all the crazy stuff started going down. I didnt know how much of it was made up at all… o.o;;;

  2. Zukhramm says:

    My problem with Animal Crossing is there’s just nothing to do. Yeah, you can get mor items, fossils and fish or whatever, but why? It’s like an MMO without the MMO.

    I remember liking the music though!

  3. Mari says:

    I played Animal Crossing. Just long enough to collect all the crap. Because my gatherer nature and OCD personality demanded it, y’know. Then I was done.

    My kids however have played this game obsessively for four years now. I don’t really understand it. Most of the activities they enjoy in the game can be done more efficiently with free online flash junk like designing patterns and clothes. Then there’s their perverse pleasure in summoning Mr. Resetti. Yes, they do it on purpose. Then laugh uproariously at his angry diatribes. Future troll training? I fear. They write bizarre little notes for the bulletin board like, “Tom Nook will kill you and eat your children! Flee!” Or “Found: Your Junk. Come Get It. You Know Who.” They write letters to the little jerkwad animals made entirely of symbol characters. After watching “The Shining” with me one night, my oldest wrote letters to every animal in town that read “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” over and over. In conversations they troll the other inhabitants of the town. And they adore the ability to hit animals with a shovel or net them with the butterfly net. It’s a little scary, really.

    Then again, these are the same kids who make “tourist traps” (no, I mean literal traps)in Zoo Tycoon and when the zookeeper suggests that the lions would like something to play with will throw the lions A GAZELLE. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that my children are sociopaths. But really, I swear, we get compliments constantly on how polite and well-mannered they are. They behave perfectly normally, if a bit shy, in the real world. But fire up a sandbox game and there will be torture.

    • Abnaxis says:

      It’s always the quiet, polite ones…

      (jk)

    • Deoxy says:

      The optimistic view of this is that they take their stresses and/or pathologies out on the innocent but indestructible pixels, leaving them able to BE such polite and well-adjusted people (yay, videogames!).

      Of course, being that I only get one optimistic moment a week, and I used it yesterday, I will note Abnaxis’ post and the fact that this could be consequence-free training for their later behaviour…

    • mad_wolf says:

      oh wow im pretty much like your kids, enjoyed killing my guests in rollercoaster tycoon a little to much, and im a borderline socio-path so….

    • Samkathran says:

      Oh I think we’re all a little bit crazy (some of us, a lot) when we play videogames >:D

      It’s just scary when our kids do it because we tend to worry and wonder, “They do know it’s just a game and the same rules don’t apply with real people, right? … Right?”

      I’m willing to bet that kids are aware of the situation though. True sociopathy is going to require deeper roots than, “Oh mah gawd! Billy punched a virtual raccoon in the face… but in his defense, the raccoon totally had it coming, the jerk.”

      Plus, think of it this way: if you ever have a gazelle problem in your back yard, your family is now fully prepared to handle the situation!

    • RPharazon says:

      So, what you’re saying is that, by day, your kids are little angelic creatures, helping old ladies cross the freeway, and donating money to the poor. Yet, when they are out of sight, they turn into a collective hate group that would make SHODAN seem like a kind and loving nanny?

      I approve of what you’ve done to your children, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

  4. Jeremiah says:

    Whenever talking about Animal Crossing, I always think about this quote from Tycho “The basic hook of the game is that Tom Nook – who is, I think we can all agree, a son of a Goddamn bitch – basically enslaves the player with a mortgage, according to the darkest tenets of raccoon usury.”

    as seen here: http://www.penny-arcade.com/2006/10/6/

  5. Raygereio says:

    I was unfamiliar with Mr. Resetti. Until know: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ze5MPltFz34

    I know Japanese culture is different from Western culture; but honestly, who on earth though that was a good idea to put in a game that’s basically for little kids?

    • Amarsir says:

      Oh my God! No wonder kids cry! I’m 35 and watching that makes me want to cry!

    • Mari says:

      It gets worse. If he has to come back often he punishes players with more than his “acid tongue” and the time sink of listening to him. His little mole butt will FILL your town with weeds that you, the player, are then compelled to pull up.

      • Abnaxis says:

        I was wondering if it was all just the time sink of listening to him or if there was an actual punishment involved…

        I do believe this game would drive me insane. I know Resetti is probably a low point, but just the stuff I see here…ergh…

    • X2-Eliah says:

      WHAT THE HELL?!

      I mean.. They put THAT in the game? THAT?!

      SCREW YOU, NINTENDO!!

      Sorry to Shamus & others who can’t bear capslock, but just this once – allow me to express my utter disgust and, in fact, actual feelings of rage over the game designer who imagined that a kid should see this every time the game is reset for any reason. The dialogue content itself – I’ve seen trolling on internet being less insulting/demeaning than this.

      SCREW.
      YOU.

    • Ian says:

      Wow, that has to be one of the most obnoxious things I’ve ever seen. Seriously, how can they even begin to justify that crap?

      I can’t be the only one that had a power outage in the middle of playing a game. If I had to ensure three minutes of the game lecturing me for not shutting the console down properly (I had Windows 98 do that to me enough after system crashes, thank you very much) due to an outside circumstance in addition to losing whatever progress I made, I’d probably trade the damned thing in.

      Screw that. Life has enough rules; I’m not going to put up with a game that tries to tell me how to use my own electronic devices. If Nintendo was so hell-bent on preventing people from intentionally jumping back if something bad happens on their save, they should have implemented an auto-save system.

  6. Deadpool says:

    I agree on most points with one notable exception: Mr. Resetti. It’s a shame you had a bad experience with accidental resets, but resetting the game without saving because things don’t go your way is a sure fire way to break this game. And no one likes broken games. So punishing players for CHEATING is a fairly good idea (and reminds me of an accidental detail in Wild Arms 3 that makes the game unbeatable if the player cheats… And he only finds out around hour 40 of gameplay). Sure, there are times when power outages and, as you saw, babies, conspire against you. But for the most part, I think the idea was sound.

    • Raygereio says:

      “So punishing players for CHEATING is a fairly good idea”
      O_o No, njet, nada. That is not a good idea, not even the slightest. If you’re talking about a multi player game; okay, then you can defend that statement.
      But please provide me with an argument why that would be a good idea in a single player game?

      • Gandaug says:

        “Because even though it’s just a game games have rules, and rules have consequences.” – Mr. Resetti

        As I was typing that I just got the joke behind his name. Puns! The best form of humor.

      • Deadpool says:

        Cheating should be flat out PREVENTED in a multiplayer game.

        But this is a game defined by its random number generator and timed events. This is a game that is based entirely on performing mundane tasks over and over again in an attempt of gaining something interesting. You know that grind at the end of a Nippon Ichi game so you can get that 1/243492849348435 chance drop so you can make the super duper weapon? That’s ALL of Animal Crossing. You take that away and you’re left with NOTHING.

        Now an argument can easily be made that it’s not a good premise to make a game on, and I’m inclined to agree. But to put in a feature that dissuades players from basically breaking the game is sound logic to me. Imagine that you could find a way to play some Facebook game (say Farmville) without needing friends or waiting hours for things to happen? It’d break the game in short measure and you’d have nothing left.

        That’s what resetting does (hell, so does changing the clock, but harder to prevent that) in Animal Crossing. By using the reset buttong you could do in a day what should take you months to do saving and reloading. Mr. Resetti stops you from doing that.

        • Raygereio says:

          You still failed to prevent a decent argument why cheating should be prevented in a single player game.

          Again in a multiplayer game; yes. If you cheat, you are not playing fair against the person(s) you’re playing with.
          But in a singleplayer game there’s noone to be unfair against. Noone is hurt by me opening the console. Noone is hurt be me resetting the console. If the game honestly has no other appeal other hoping something random happens; then that is a poor game. The dev’s should have taken all the effort that went in to Mr. Resetti and spent it coming up with decent gameplay.

          Your Farmville example is downright atrocious because Farmvile is atrocious. So let’s stay away from that. Let’s take for instance Mass Effect. I like using Assault Rifles. I don’t care much for the other 3 weapons types. I also like the biotics. The game does not however allow me to use both. Solution! Create an adept and use a cheatcode to add assault rifles to that class. There, I just used a cheatcode to make the game’s gameplay more fun to me.
          Another example would be Spellforce 2 Dragon Storm. That game has a certain quest for which you must search the entire map for 4 creatures. There’s absolutely no indication where these creatures are, so you must walk everywhere in order for the fog of war to disappear. This is a poorly designed quest. It’s tedious, boring and did I mention tedious? Using a cheat you can simple temporarily disable the FOW, see where the creatures are, thus skipping over an hour worth of doing nothing but walk around and move on to the good bits of the game.

          There two example of cheats either adding or improving to the game. I dare you to come up with an example of a cheat ruining a game somehow. And for extra challenge, such example must not immediately indicate that the game is poorly designed. Good luck.

          • Deadpool says:

            But that’s a different kind of game. This isn’t like putting on God mode so you can watch the ending. This isn’t like a cheat to automatically succeed in QTE so you can enjoy the badass cutscenes in God of War in peace. This is more akin to going on youtube and watching the cinematics!

            Animal Crossing is ALL grind. Without the grind THERE IS NO GAME. Having something in place to dissuade players from skipping the grind makes complete sense.

            That’s why I use Farmville as an example and not Mass Effect. Giving yourself a rifle in Mass Effect screws up the balance, but there’s STILL some combat, and there’s also the whole plot and decision making and tower of hanoi puzzles and whatnots. Take away the grind from Farmville and there is NOTHING LEFT. You might as well not play the game.

            Take away Mr. Resetti and Animal Crossing just stops working. Getting items becomes a hundred times easier and trading with other players becomes pointless. The community Nintendo was trying (and actually succeeded) to create never exists.

            • Gandaug says:

              [quote]The community Nintendo was trying (and actually succeeded) to create never exists.[/quote]

              That’s only true if we assume everybody who played the game would immediately use cheats.

              How is resetting Animal Crossing any different than using the console in a game to give yourself all the money you could ever need? You could upgrade your troops, deck out your house, buy better gear, or any number of things money is used for in games. All single player. Some games will put the word CHEAT right on your save profile if you do this, or prevent you from seeing some secret portion of the game. Perhaps the true ending. Fallout New Vegas disables Achievements for that playing session if you open the console. Those are all reasonable punishments for cheating in a single player game. Making someone sit through a verbal beating for several minutes is not.

              I still have yet to see any good argument for why cheating in single player is a bad thing. I often will beat a game legitimately to then go back and use cheat a second time for a myriad of reasons. So what?

              • Deadpool says:

                That’s only true if we assume everybody who played the game would immediately use cheats.

                Not everyone sure… At first. But the hardcore completionists will be the first to cheat. They’ll get all the items first and have no reason to trade them with anyone, so the people who normally DON’T cheat will have fewer people to trade with and thus, more incentive to cheat. It snowballs and we end up with a LARGE portion of the community just non existant.

                I saw it happen. Cheating was her first reaction. Mr. Resetti forced her to look for alternatives and lo and behold, she found a thriving board for trading on GameFAQs. One she never would have bothered to even look for without Mr. Resetti. There she met people with common interests, made friends and all because she wanted to trade for an item she couldn’t cheat her way into getting.

                Note that none of the games you mentioned has a “enter this cheat and watch the closing cynematic” code… So I repeat again, resetting in Animal Crossing isn’t cheating to make the game more enjoyable, it’s cheating so YOU DON’T PLAY THE GAME. Even ignoring the trading aspect (which DOES affect other players), you might as well not even play the game.

                • Mari says:

                  You guys are talking about an entirely different level of cheating than I was thinking. It never occurred to me (or my kiddos) to reset for loot. But picture this: Your six year old loves cherry blossoms and is enchanted with the idea of a cherry blossom festival in her favorite video game. Unfortunately you’ll be out of town when the Cherry Blossom Festival is going on. “No worries,” Mom assures the kids, “We’ll just reset the clock when we get back.” Upon returning home you do just that for the little tykes. And are subjected to a three minute tirade of increasingly proportions by an animated mole. Because a six-year-old wanted to see the cherry blossoms. Yeah, Mom is an evil cheating scum and has now ruined the game forever.

                • Deadpool says:

                  Keep in mind, Mr. Resetti is annoying at first, but he doesn’t get really brutal until you reset the game REPEATEDLY. If it’s a once in a blue moon thing, he’s only a mild annoyance.

                  Now, imagine THIS scenario. Same 8 year old loves the game and is enamored with the idea of have Super Cool Item X. Since he doesn’t want to deal with Resetti, he finds himself talking to his school friends and trying to get them to get the game. In the midst of these conversations he finds other kids he barely knew who already own the game! He ends up involved in an intra school, and maybe even inter school trading ring. He meets knew friends and builds the foundation for a stronger and healthier emotional support group that ends up lasting for the rest of his formative years and maybe beyond. Because he was afraid of Mr. Resetti.

                  Yes, it’s an extreme case, but certainly possible is it not?

                • Veloxyll says:

                  Well no, that’s because Mass Effect has the movies available to watch in its directory, you don’t need a cheat…Or did watching the movie mean I just cheated at ME?

                  Also, your assumption is based on the presumption that the only reason for people to reset mid game is to cheat. Power DOES fail, other people (and pets) do reset consoles. Is it right to punish them in order to stop people from cheating PART of the game?

                  It’d be like saying I can’t give myself 500,000 of each mineral in ME2 because I wouldn’t be playing the god awful probe mini-game and thus not experiencing the whole game. Or giving my sims money so I can build stuff etc. Not everyone enjoys every part of a game, deal with it, don’t punish players just because they have a different idea of fun to you.

                • Mari says:

                  That’s a lovely sentiment except my kids were in preschool and kindergarten. Few of the other kids even had game consoles yet. Especially in a school where the entire student body (pre-K through 12th grade) is all of 250 kids. On one campus. To this day my kids are teased and ridiculed for playing “weird Japanese” games like Animal Crossing.

                  And yes, he was only a mild annoyance the first time. But by the sixth time we repeated the Cherry Blossom Festival (because pre-schoolers are known for becoming obsessed with things) it was getting quite nasty. On top of that, with two little kids playing in a rural area with “iffy” electricity, even if we had never reset for that stupid festival we wound up seeing much, much more of Mr. Resetti than you might think.

                • Deadpool says:

                  It’d be like saying I can’t give myself 500,000 of each mineral in ME2 because I wouldn’t be playing the god awful probe mini-game and thus not experiencing the whole game.

                  I repeat: This is different, because it’s not ignoring part of the game, it’s ignoring THE GAME ITSELF. This is ALL there is to Animal Crossing: The daily grind in the hopes of getting the cool items. Cut the daily grind and you just cut the GAME.

                  To this day my kids are teased and ridiculed for playing “weird Japanese” games like Animal Crossing.

                  Hey, I’m sorry your kids go to a school with those people, but there’s a metric ton of “weird Japanese” kids out there who loved this game precisely for the social effect. There are (or were most likely) thriving trading communities, both online and off, dedicated on getting Super Cool Item X. It’s sad your children were not privy to them, but there they were. And I’ll bet anything half that community would be gone without Mr. Resetti.

                  Your children’s story may be sad, but they are an unfortunate side effect of a feature that gave hundreds and thousands of other people a community to play with. This may not be the prettiest thing to hear, but the truth rarely is.

                  Like I said, I’ve seen it happen. Some of them stayed in touch long after they stopped playing the game. Hell, one of them was there to console her when we broke up.

                  Mr. Resetti is a douchebag, but he made the game work. If you hate grinding, if you don’t like to spend hours and hours grabbing crap in the off chance that maybe, just maybe you’ll get something new and shiny, if you have no patience drudging through dozens of posts to find the one from a descent person willing to trade something you want for something you have, if you don’t feel like hounding your friends and co workers into getting a game you like so they can help you get Super Cool Item Y, if you don’t like doing the above for like a YEAR to get everything you want, hey I understand. That’s me. Hated Animal Crossing, and Facebook games, and every Nippon Ichi game made for those precise reasons. Join the club. Line starts there.

                  But if you’re one of the gajillion people who LIKE that kind of stuff, Mr. Resetti makes Animal Crossing possible. Without him, you have none of that. The game ceases to exist and it becomes menu navigation. For about two days. And then it goes back to GameStop. That wasn’t what Nintendo intended, and I’m damned sure that’s not what anyone who bought the game WANTED to play. But it’s exactly what it would have become, for everyone involved, had it not been for Resetti.

                  It’s a shame it didn’t work for you, but I do believe the man served a noble and important purpose.

                • Mari says:

                  My point is simply that not everybody’s experience or desires are the same. I resent you, Nintendo, or Mr. Resetti telling me (or my kids) how to play a single player game when it’s not hurting anybody to play it differently. I especially resent it when Mr. Resetti is abrasive and abusive in his pointless dictates.

                • Veloxyll says:

                  And what if what you enjoy is playing dressup or watching certain time specific events or don’t have internet access for your DS (which I still don’t for my DS, unless I basically unsecure my wireless network)? You’ve paid your $60 for the game, why is it that you’re only allowed to play the game by mindlessly grinding or trading.
                  OR, to flip my ME2 example around, what if you ONLY enjoy the probe game and hate the cover shooter and the dialogue? You just want to scoot around space and mine the heck out of planets – would it break the game if you turned on god mode and unlimited ammo and skipped everything? Of course not.

                  I get the point that Nintendo wanted to create a community feel, but they manage it just fine with say, Pokemon, without having some painful NPC that makes children cry.

                • Deadpool says:

                  And returning to the Facebook example: What about a game that DOESN’T LET YOU RESET AT ALL? Is that not forcing you to play one way? Is it REALLY that bad?

                  And there’s a huge difference when comparing it to ME2. ME2 was a multifaceted game with many different pieces that can be enjoyed by different people. Some people like the dialogue, or the choice/effect mechanic (or pretend mechanic), some people like shooting, some people like biotics, and though I doubt it, it’s possible that some people liked the stupid probing mini game.

                  But Animal Crossing IS grind. That’s it. That’s the game. You grind. Period. The game sets milestones (Nook’s ‘loans’) to give you a sense of purpose, but in the end, the point is to grin for crap. Crap you can then trade for MORE crap, or sell for money so you can BUY more crap. That’s it. If you don’t like grinding, then you don’t like Animal Crossing. And that’s cool. But I don’t see why you would LIKE the grind then complain when the game forces you to *gasp* grind.

                  In the end of the day, the game tortured cheaters in order to allow people who enjoy the game itself to flourish. And, guess what, it worked. So some people had to waste maybe a grand total of 20 minutes of their life thanks to power outages so that a few thousand people could get an extra year or two of gameplay thanks to trading.

                  Not expecting you to LIKE it, but it should be easy enough to understand its nescessity. No grind = no Animal Crossing. Something had to be done.

                • Veloxyll says:

                  Most FB games are psuedo-MP though, plus there’s no way to lose your progress since they’re basically serverside.

                  I’m not complaining about the grind/trade mechanic, I’m complaining about such a hamfisted mechanism being in a sandbox game to try and force you to play the way the developers want you to. It’s a sandbox game, doing what you want IS THE WHOLE GAME. Grinding for stuff is how the developer gates content, but if I decide to just cheat instead of grinding or going online to trade, that should be my decision.
                  I used a walkthrough to help with Phoenix Wright, I still had fun, I’m still buying the next game when I get around to it and I’d still recommend the games to other people. Should the game have punished me for my resets (which there were a lot), would it have made the game better? Of course not, it’d be preposterous to suggest such a thing. Just because Animal Crossing is Grinderiffic doesn’t really give the devs the right to verbally abuse the player
                  That’s what Wiifit is for.

                • Mari says:

                  Shamus, Mr. Resetti also appears (at least in our game) when the kids change the clock. That’s been the majority of his appearance in our games because the kiddos love the festivals (especially the Cherry Blossom one).

            • Zukhramm says:

              Deadpool, you seem to think the only possible way to stop restting to gain items is to have a mole yell at the player for three minutes.

              And even if it was, and ruined the game completely, I still believe I should be allowed to do that to myself.

              • Deadpool says:

                I wonder. COULD the gamecube and the DS handle the Demon’s Souls-like feature where the game saves at literally, every single player action? Probably having the large part of the functionality online would be a problem for both systems…

                Of course, that would also mean the aforementioned 8 year old who really wants to see Cherry Blossoms again would have to wait another year… Would that have been better?

                The cool thing I always found about Mr. Resetti is that the game doesn’t PREVENT you from resetting. It dissuades you from doing so regularly, but if there’s a cool event or interesting feature you missed you can just grit your teeth and do it. Perhaps there ARE better ways to dissuade repeated resets while allowing uncommon ones, but I do wonder if they could be done with the technology at the time…

                Most FB games are psuedo-MP though,

                And isn’t the trade emphasis on this game also pseudo-MP?

                plus there’s no way to lose your progress since they’re basically serverside.

                That’s the point though, isn’t it? I keep hearing this whole “Boo, it’s MY game I should play it how I want!” and here we have a whole sleuth of games the prevent you from “playing how you want” and yet… We’re cool with THAT. So in the end the problem isn’t THAT the game tries to stop you from cheating, it’s HOW it does it.

                And I can see that. From where I’m standing is was a fairly elegant way to achieve the desired goal with the given technology and without completely denying the option. You may not enjoy it, but surely you can see its purpose…

                • Shamus says:

                  What I don’t understand: Why would anyone reset the game when it is far, far simpler to just change the clock? Missed the Christmas festival because you had the audacity to have a real-life family? Bah. Roll the clock back 1 day. Problem solved.

                  So they instituted a degrading, insulting, un-fun form of anti-cheat that affects everyone who resets, whether they were trying to cheat or not. And then does nothing about clock-exploiting.

                • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

                  The developers could’ve made it so the game rolled a random seed for events during the night (or other determinable part of a cycle), saved it along with the game state and then used the seed for everything during the day so no matter how many times you reset you’d get the same outcome for the day. Or use it only most of the time, so the player would be forced to check all things again if he didn’t want to risk missing any changes.

                  It would make reset/retry grinding unbelievably frustrating so no-one would use it, even if it provided net benefit.

                  With the added bonus it wouldn’t make kids cry just because the developers’ are douchebags.

    • Moridin says:

      “So punishing players for CHEATING is a fairly good idea”

      No. Very much no. It’s a game. It’s supposed to be fun. Punishing doesn’t enter into it.

      • Shamus says:

        And I can’t even figure out how resetting the game would help you. The time it takes to reboot the console and log back into the game is ALREADY a bigger punishment than needed to offset whatever minuscule gain you might make by trying something again.

        • Deadpool says:

          The gain isn’t miniscule. It’s been years since I was exposed to the game (girlfriend in college liked the damned thing) but I remember suffering through Mr. Resetting quite a few times because she still deemed it easier and faster to listen to his crap and deal with the consequence of whatever the hell she has done in the past half hour of gameplay. Of course, as Resetti got more and more verbose, she started using that trick less and less…

        • Nidokoenig says:

          Well, if you’re looking for a rare drop, like you want a specific piece of holiday furniture, or you want a spotlight item at the Nookie shop or whatever, being able to reset and reroll can get you it. This game is pretty much all about loot, it’s Diablo without the combat, so this makes sense. It’s also worth considering if you’re trying to make hybrid flowers. I’m not saying it doesn’t suck, given that this is a single player game, but that’s the logic. It’s really dumb because the real cheaters will just use a cheat device, anyhow.

          Personally, I never really gave much of a shit about interior decorating, outside of Feng Shui abuse. I played it mainly for fishing, bug catching and making hybrid flowers. But I’m done with the series. When my little siblings get a new version of it, I’ll barely find the motivation to give a shit about the game for more than a week now. Usually what I’ll do is save up all my money until I have about 1.5 million and then pay off the first loan. Then walk in the next day, slam down a great big stack of bells and pay the next one off, rinse and repeat. Feels fun. Then I get bored and do something else.

          • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

            Makes it sound more like leveling the ground for players. Having something available only during a certain day of a year, and I understand that is a certain day of reallife year too, and even then only randomly sounds idiotic and unfair.

    • Mari says:

      But you can’t “win” Animal Crossing. There is no point in the game where you’re met with the announcement that “A winner is you!” or any such thing. It’s an open sandbox with only self-declared objectives after you’ve worked a few days for the evil Tom Nook. So who, exactly, are you “cheating” if you reset the game? That’s like declaring it “cheating” when you paint over a mistake on a canvas. Imagine if every time da Vinci touched up a painting an irate mole appeared to verbally abuse him several minutes for “cheating.”

    • Kdansky says:

      A: It’s not cheating.
      B: Even if it was, it’s my single player offline game. I can cheat when I play chess against myself. Why should I not be allowed to do so here?

      Nintendo, fuck you for Mr. Resetti. Luckily, I have been spared this abomination since I didn’t buy Animal Crossing.

    • Daimbert says:

      I think it is not a sound idea, no matter what reasons you’re giving, for one simple reason: if I buy a game, I get to decide how I want to play it. That’s different — as others have said — for multiplayer games, but for single player games I get to decide how I want to play.

      And resetting might make it so that I can have the game I want.

      You say that it would break the main game itself, since that was based on random loot and trading. And people who wanted to play that sort of game who resort to resetting … will end up only punishing themselves, since they won’t like a game they would have liked. That’s their problem, not the game’s.

      But what if someone, say, just wants to collect certain things or build a collection or whatever? Not letting them reset impairs their game; they might have liked the game — for different reasons than the designers expected — but this attempt to force them to play the way the designers intended could ruin the game for them. That’s not a good thing.

      And what if someone just wants the world to be a certain way and have certain things in certain places, and a random event screws it up? Even if they aren’t that great at the game, allowing them to reset as they like lets them build a world they want to play in. They find that fun. Taking that away makes that less fun, and so they ditch the game. Why would that be good?

      On cheating in general, I cheat a lot in games. I’m much more interested in following the story than in beating challenges, even in fighting games. As an example, the only reason I managed to finish Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom was because it let me turn “invincible” on and let me go through the story without any punishment. If a game punishes me for cheating when I really want to, that game might not get finished. And then I won’t buy sequels. That’s bad.

  7. kikito says:

    I confess that I smiled a bit when I heard about Samus’ daughter crying. Not because I particularly enjoy watching little children cry, but because sometimes it takes a child to make us adults see what stands in front of your faces.

  8. Jarenth says:

    I think some part of your displeasure might stem from the fact that you can do all the stuff you mentioned in your poem and rant in Minecraft as well, without having to deal with loan shark raccoons and time-wasting swear moles.

    I mean, of course you’ll have to build your museum before you can fill it. But at least you’ll never be locked in place by an spiteful mole deliberately wasting three minutes of your time because you had the gall to have little kids in your household.

  9. Groboclown says:

    The game makes little girls cry?!?

    Who will think of the children?

  10. Gandaug says:

    I never played one minute of Animal Crossing and now I’m very glad I didn’t.

  11. Brandon says:

    I remember Animal Crossing was one of the first games I bought for my DS, so many years ago. I played it obsessively for the first.. maybe two days. Then It was sporadically. Then for a while I would turn it on 3 times a day, for 5 minutes, just to upkeep my town and then turn it off. Then I quit altogether, in the span of about a week.

    I don’t mind games that waste my time. All games are, when it comes down to it, is a way to pass the time. I really don’t like it when I feel like I’m not even accomplishing anything *in the game world*. Animal Crossing is one such game that makes me feel that way.

    I think part of the problem is how the game clock works in real time, and certain events only occur VERY randomly, and even then only between say, 4 and 6 pm. So there’s something interesting that could happen.. but if you don’t happen to play the game between 4 and 6 pm (Maybe because you have a real life circumstance that prevents you from doing that, like a job) then you just will never experience that event. Which kind of sucks. So then your options are to either FIGHT to find time to try and get that event to spawn (Reset the clock, play the game when you otherwise shouldn’t/wouldn’t/couldn’t) or just give up on it. Which is kind of lame.

  12. MogTM says:

    I guess it’s just my accent, but I don’t pronounce “fool” and “do” as rhyming at all. After the first few lines, I thought Shamus was branching out into blank verse — which would have been an interesting turn of events.

    Was I the only one?

    • Shamus says:

      It’s a pretty sloppy rhyme. Songs get away with this sort of thing all the time, but it’s a lot more obvious when you’re reading it and working out the rhyme for yourself. AND when it’s the very first line.

      If I’d had more time, I’d have fixed up the first line. (I actually wrote this backwards, working from the punchline.)

      • MogTM says:

        No criticism intended — blank verse could be fun. Especially if you had a “games as art” comic paired with more “artsy” poetry …

        And the comic was funny, which is much more important than if the first rhyme was forced or not.

    • Veloxyll says:

      it works if you speak the poem in Mr T’s accent (making fool become foo’ )

  13. X2-Eliah says:

    On a different note, the font used for that poem is slightly cumbersome to read through.. Please don’t use it often.

  14. Vegedus says:

    I never quite got into it myself. I thought “Hey, it’s reasonably similar to Harvest Moon, I’ll probably like it.”. But it just seemed so pointless. None of the activities in the game are really fun on their own (I mean, most of it is just searching, and picking up, stuff), and the rewards aren’t particularly gratifying.

  15. Kdansky says:

    Also, I hope Notch changes Obsidian in Minecraft so it takes less time to mine, or I’ll have to install a mod to prevent boredom.

  16. Mr. Resetti’s rants DO serve a purpose. It’s possible to cheat very easily and save scum by turning the game off. Still.

    • Sumanai - a grouchy ball of bile and cynicism says:

      But there’re better ways to prevent cheating that don’t involve long rants, extra wasted time, and leaving players with a bad taste in their mouth because of something that was out of their hands. (blackout, emergency, acts of children)

      • Oh, yeah, I know, not least because properly used save scumming STILL breaks the game so Resetti isn’t actually sufficient deterrent. I agree with everyone here that it’s absurd to punish players, but that was Nintendo’s reasoning.

  17. toasty_mow says:

    A single player game shouldn’t stop you from cheating if you feel like it. The devolopers telling you how to play a game in the single player mode seems silly. What would happen if you enjoyed playing a game like Half Life 2 on Hard mode all the way through without dying once and every time you tried to do this Valve sent Dr. Breen to give you this huge annoying rant about how this was “foolish” and “not the way the game was meant to be played.” And that you should “spend your time in other ways.”

    Multiplayer is a different issue, because cheating and imbalances change the game negatively for everyone. I shouldn’t be actively punished for save-scumming in a single player game if I want to.

  18. Felblood says:

    Animal Crossing is something of a weird game to me.

    I love the hardcore design of it’s roguelike ancestors, but I can’t enjoy Animal Crossing.

    It’s deliberately engineered to engender Stockholm and Battered Spouse syndromes, in a way that feels manipulative and cheap, rather than brutally simulationist and charmingly old-fasioned.

    I know that a lot of what sucks in this game is a result of is pseudo-multiplayer design. You’re supposed to be racing the kid down the street for the complete museum gallery, and swapping set items with your friends’ character (just like Diablo II), but quite often they use this excuse to get away with a lot of lazy, sloppy or outright dishonorable design decisions. These flaws become blindingly obvious as the game ages, and the odds of finding somebody to trade items will becomes laughably small.

    They wanted this to be the next Poke’mon so badly that THEY tried to cheat, but in the fullness of time their subterfuge has become obvious.

  19. somecrazyfan says:

    You people should look into the lparchive.
    Seriously, google it and choose “animal crossing” from the list.
    A screenshots based LP that really sounds like a horror movie with canibalism and child enslavement and all that.

  20. Jack V. says:

    Wow, they bottled not-fun.

    I image that teaching kids to shut the console down properly (and perhaps, not to game the system) is a reasonable goal, but I get enough spurious and misdirected rants in real life. If I’m playing a kids game, I wouldn’t want to be harangued endlessly for something I didn’t do, it would screw me up!

  21. Slothful says:

    I actually liked Mr.Restti…I mean, he had actually interesting things to say, as opposed to everyone else. There was even one time when his brother showed up because he had had a heart attack or something. That guy’s got backstory!

  22. Jon Ericson says:

    Obviously, the tortuous time sink aspect of Animal Crossing is indefensible. Also troublesome for me is the game’s constant pushing of a materialistic world view. Rewards for game-approved behavior invariably take the form of some trinket or another to be horded or sold. A cynical view might suggest that Nintendo uses the game to train up the next generation of consumers for it’s products.

    However, children in general are far more tolerant, even desiring, of repetition which adults feel wastes time. When my son was learning to read, the repetitive dialog really attracted his interest. Being able to pick out a catch phrases and so on helped. However, he rarely plays these days as he prefers reading somewhat less repetitious books now.

    Two experiences really made the game, warts and all, worthwhile for us shortly after we bought it. First, when my son had set up his house and made my wife and I move into town, he got a letter from Mom. Only my wife hadn’t sent any letters yet: it was the Animal Crossing “Mom” who sends letters once and a while. After that, we started sending him little notes regularly, which thrilled him every time. (Now that I think about it, there’s no reason we can’t put up Post-it notes around the house instead.)

    The second was when he asked me to play my character. He liked listening to me do a Tom Nook or Blathers impression when I read him the dialog. (If you think reading it to yourself gets old, try reading out loud!) Then when he saw me obtain something cool he’d ask me to give it to him. Initially, I just attached these items to a letter, but later I figured out I could bury them and send him clues. Again, for a child with his temperament, the effect was wondrous.

    As it turns out, I rented a game last night that just might satisfy the Animal Crossing itch without all the time wasting BS: Little King’s Story. It’s a sort of hybrid JRPG/RTS with some of the collecting and harvesting from Animal Crossing. It’s got me hooked so far. It also makes me realize that whether or not a game “wastes time” is partially a matter of expectations. Sitting through Tom Nook’s long-winded greeting got old for me the first day, but so far I’ll happily check my kingdom’s stats or talk to adoring town folk half a dozen times even though I know the response will be the same every time.

    Oh. We were somewhat fortunate to avoid Mr. Resetti for the most part. Seems like he ought to be optional at the very least.

  23. Diamondwolf says:

    I want to point out in the whole cheating matter, not that many people cheat at Animal Crossing. I for one played it for a while, but due to power loss or other accidents it would turn off. I found the mole amusing the first two times, but it became increasingly annoying. To the point where I quit playing the whole game because I don’t want to listen to the freaking thing in a way that wastes all my time. I would rather go play farmville (which I hate) so I could at least be playing something.

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