Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thank you for playing: 15 years of Dōbutsu no Mori (Animal Crossing)

April 14th, 2001. That's the day Dōbutsu no Mori (Animal Forest in English) for the Nintendo 64 was released in Japan.

I haven't been playing the series since then, of course. Not that I can remember exactly when I started playing it. All I know is that the North American version of Japan's Dōbutsu no Mori+, a GameCube title that first hit store shelves in late 2001, is what pushed me to finally pick up a GC console.

The thing is, I distinctly remember waiting until the GameCube dropped to $99 in price before I bought one. Also, I'm pretty sure the copy of Animal Crossing I purchased alongside that system (a silver one, in case anyone's curious) was a "Player's Choice" release.

GameFAQs is telling me the "Player's Choice" iteration of Animal Crossing didn't drop until late 2003, so I guess that's around when I was introduced to the achingly lovely world of this long-running series.

I share all of that because I've been an Animal Crossing devotee ever since. I own every sequel that's seen the light of day between the first localized effort and today--well, except for Amiibo Festival. Hell, I own multiple copies of some of these titles.

Because of that, the video above, published via Nintendo of Japan's YouTube channel yesterday to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the series' launch, prompts a giant, teeth-baring smile to spread across my face each time I watch it. (And believe me, I've watched it a number of times in the last 12 or so hours.)

How about you? Are any of you huge Dōbutsu no Mori or Animal Crossing fans? Or do you have any particularly strong memories of your first Animal Crossing or Dōbutsu no Mori experience? If so, please feel free to share the love with me and others in the comments section below.

See also: an old post full of photos of Dōbutsu no Mori's splendid Nintendo 64 packaging and my review of Animal Crossing for the GameCube

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