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Animal Crossing is a game that had never crossed my radar before. I was so uninterested in the franchise that I didn’t even know the concept of the game until recently. All I knew is that there are animals that live in a town and some of them are in Smash Bros. Cutesy animals were never a route I was going to take when looking for a new game.

I was at GameStop in September looking for something new when I saw Animal Crossing: New Leaf as a Nintendo Select for $20. I was bored and done with many of my 3DS games and was looking for something new that would expand my Nintendo knowledge. I popped it in and was greeted with Tom the cat, who asked where I was going and what my name was. I entered in my Town name and personal name, and was whisked off to my new town where I would become mayor. From then on, I met Isabelle Walker, Rowan, Rhonda, Cherry and a host of other silly creatures from the town and began my never ending journey of being the best town mayor.

Animal Crossing is not a fast-paced game. The in-game clock is real time and the mayor duties often are boring adult things. I need to raise money for this project or go fishing for Lobo. All of these things do not sound appealing on paper, but Animal Crossing does something extraordinary: it makes life fun. If any of these characters were not fun or relatable, this game would be a flop. But since the atmosphere is welcoming and playful, the chores that you do to make the town great are satisfying and relaxing.

The responsibility you have being a mayor of the town is initially daunting, but as you talk to the citizens and explore your town, the responsibilities that are bestowed onto you are important, and you will drop everything to get them done. I love the endless nature that this game has to offer, as there are so many things that might come up, and it is your job to make the town better. The game will hardly ever keep you bored, as there are several objectives that you can do to purchase new items, or donate to the museum.

The characters are wonderful and never cease to amaze me. My personal favorite is Walker, the dog that wants to enjoy his life and have fun doing it. He leads a basic life, but a happy one. There are some characters that I don’t really care for, like Rowan and Cherry, but they each have a great personality and story that makes you want to keep playing, if only to watch the characters grow. The simplicity of the game is very enticing for those who wish to relax, but still feel the need to create a better world for these characters.

It has not been an easy 2019 for me, as things have changed and molded into tough situations and difficult decisions, but I can always comeback to Animal Crossing as a means of escape, even if I have to do chores. The music and the basic graphics make the game feel childlike, which is a nice change of pace from the stressful world I live in. There is no stress to get things done, and there is no pressure to become the biggest town ever. The only thing to worry about is the way you look, which everyone in the town loves regardless what you wear.

It is a game that has changed the way I see life itself. Although I have life stressors and difficulty doing the things I need to do, being able to sit back and watch the ocean is all I need to refresh. Taking it slow and letting things be is the way to really live, even if it is from a children’s game. After a stressful day, I went on the boat to Tortimer Island for the first time to see the fun things the island had to offer. When Kapp’n sang his first song, I cried. It had been a long time since I had really been to a place of pure happiness, and Kapp’n’s song really reminded me that life is a great thing, no matter what situation you are in. You could have been fired, or you could be the mayor of a town full of animals. Either way, it is a pleasure to be alive and see the world.

Thank you, Animal Crossing. Life is better now.