Animal Crossing is possibly the most charming and addicting series that Nintendo owns. Since its original U.S. release on the Gamecube in 2004, I have constantly gone back to the series’ latest entries to improve on my home, town, and museum. While the series may be filled with simplicity and happiness, there are several life lessons that can be learned from our favorite animal-filled city.
1. You’re Not Going to Like Everyone
There are over seven billion people in this world. There are countless individuals that will make you laugh, inspire you, and give you reasons to enjoy your life. But there are also people who are also pretty much the worst. Some people are awful, some are mean, and some will have numerous mannerisms that drive you insane on a daily basis. Heck, some people are actually pretty great, but you still won’t like them! This is normal human and social nature. The same can be seen in Animal Crossing. No matter how hard I try to like everyone in my town, I always get that one particular animal that drives me insane. These are the Amelias, Frigas, and Opals of the world. Oh, and don’t even get me starts on the miserable mailroom lady, Phyllis. I could write a whole different article about her.
The point is, there are so many people in the world and it is simply impossible to like them all. This doesn’t mean we have to be rude or hateful towards them. Sure, we may dig holes in front of their doors and bop them on the head with our nets every once in a while, but try your best to be civil. Just wait patiently for that magical moment when they express their interest in venturing off to a new town. Simply tell them how great of an idea it is, and that you support their adventurous hearts. They don’t need to know that you would do anything to get rid of their existence and that you are desperately hoping someone amazing like Tangy takes their place.
2. Debt Management
This lesson perfectly pertains to my life right now. I finally graduated from my university last year, and beginning this summer I will start to receive these lovely pieces of mail that will ask me for thousands of dollars for the next couple of decades. What an incredibly terrifying thought, right? Thankfully, I have already learned a plethora of ways to handle crippling debt from a devious tanooki, known as Tom Nook. Unfortunately, even though I have put hundreds of hours into the Animal Crossing series, I have never successfully gotten out of debt in a single title. Perhaps it was all a foreshadowing of what was to come in my real life. At least Tom Nook is an adorable animal and made my financial crisis somewhat charming. I have high hopes that my debt collector will be just a funny as Mr. Nook, or at least as furry. Anyway, he taught me that to pay off my debt, I must work hard. While I will most likely not be paying off my school loans with bugs, fish, and fossils, Mr. Nook has shown me that you can also become successful doing something you truly enjoy (such as gaming journalism).
3. Personal Style
Fashion and style are things that are prominent both in Animal Crossing and the real world. However, the fashion world is much more accepting in Animal Crossing. I can wear a replicated Where’s Waldo shirt, an elegant skirt, and rain boots around the city all day. Yuka may even come tell me how great I look! However, if I tried this in the real world, things wouldn’t go so well for me. Yet, why should we let that stop us? The villagers are not judgmental (well, at least most) and really care about the player’s style and personality. They constantly praise you for the things you do, even if they may differ from everyone else’s style and personality. In fact, they often decide to just take your style and make their own! Unfortunately, this isn’t how things are in the real world. People can be quite judgmental, but Animal Crossing shows that we shouldn’t let that stop us. Embrace your style and dare to be different. Don’t let your wardrobe be decided on what will make others happy. Be a trendsetter, rather than a follower.
4. Collecting is a Dangerous Hobby
When I obtained my first fishing pole in AC, I was excited to see what my first catch would be. After catching thousands of bass, forty tires, seventeen boots, and finally catching a single Arapaima, I learned that collecting as a hobby is a maddening yet satisfying pastime. I am now an adult so I must start to collect adult things, such as Amiibos. I have searched the lands far and wide to find every single Amiibo in the Smash Brothers series. After nearly spending $1000, dealing with the worst kind of people in the world (Amiibo scalpers), and nearly losing my sanity, I am still missing two final characters (Email me if you have Robin or Lucina, we can talk business). Thankfully, Animal Crossing prepared me for this strenuous adventure of finishing my collection.
I’ll be honest, I have made mistakes in my life. I have let people I love down. It is never easy to accept your faults and improve on them. Yet, I have never upset anyone as much as I’ve upset our dear friend, Mr. Resetti. All he asked of me was to simply press the save button when it was time to stop playing. For whatever reason, I forgot to do it once. And again. And several more times, until this poor man just couldn’t care less about his profession and what I do anymore. I took him for granted and broke his trust. I will not let that happen again. Be reliable to those who care for you.
6. Moving is the Worst
Something everyone must eventually endure is the painful and stressful event of moving. Whether it’s to college, into your own apartment, or back home with your parents, you will experience that tension, stress, and miserableness of moving. You will lose your favorite momentums of your life in the dark pits of the moving van, and find things you forgot you had seven years later. Likewise, losing a friend from moving is also painful. Many of us have experienced this before. Once you go to college, many friends must go their separate ways. You will spend your whole summer together, preparing for the heartache that is to come in September. Animal Crossing decides to teach you this pain with some quality “tough love”. Eventually, you may find yourself busy with your real life for a few days, so you aren’t able to visit your town. When you finally do get back on, you are excited to see that you have mail! What could it be? Is it a present from your mom or Nintendo? Is it a message from the Happy Home Academy to once again remind you how awesome your sweet bachelor (or bachelorette) pad is? Nope. It’s your favorite villager, just writing in to tell you that they decided to just get up and move on a whim. You will never see them again, and you never got to say goodbye. There are no IPhones or Facebook; this is the end. There are few things darker or more challenging than coping with an immediate farewell, but Animal Crossing takes the liberty of teaching us this.
7. Life is a Mystery
Finally, Animal Crossing’s wacky and wondrous world is an indication of how amazingly random this world can really be. Life is full of surprises and heartaches; it is always turning itself upside-down right when you finally think you understand it. You never know when one day you might lose someone you care about, fall in love, or even stumble upon a talented dog playing lovely tunes at your favorite coffee shop. Life is incredibly unpredictable, and that’s what makes living so beautiful.