Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Nice Package! (Dōbutsu no Mori+, GameCube)

My last blog post celebrated the 15th anniversary of the first Animal Crossing game's North American release.

Of course, as any Animal Crossing fan worth their salt will tell you, although that 2002 release was the first of the series' many entries to see the light of day in the Western world, it was the second to hit store shelves in Japan.

This game's predecessor in that region was 2001's Dōbutsu no Mori (Animal Forest, basically) for the Nintendo 64. The game showcased here, Dōbutsu no Mori+, followed just eight months later.

Surprisingly, Dōbutsu no Mori+ is more than just a simple, straightforward port of the Nintendo 64 original. For starters, it bumps up the earlier title's resolution from 320-by-240 pixels to 640-by-480 pixels. It also introduces a number of new characters--including the Able Sisters, Kapp'n and Tortimer--as well as adds new locations (like the island and the museum), Famicom games, fish and bugs. And it lets players to expand their homes beyond the limits of what was allowed in the Nintendo 64 cartridge.

Further changes and enhancements were made to the game when it was localized for Western markets, and even more were made for the 2003 Japanese release known as Dōbutsu no Mori e+. (Look for a "Nice Package!" post about that GameCube import shortly.)

Anyway, as nice as the North American Animal Crossing's packaging was and is, I far prefer the Japanese counterparts--outer sleeve, disc, memory card and instruction manual--shown here to it.

I'm especially fond of the Dōbutsu no Mori+ instruction manual, I've got to say--especially its cover. The interior pages are pretty nice, too, although I wouldn't have minded if Nintendo's artists and designers had made them a tad more whimsical.

I also really like the art that's splashed across the adorably tiny Dōbutsu no Mori+ disc. The haniwa (gyroid elsewhere) that graces the label of the packed-in memory card is a nice touch, too.

Another nice touch of the Dōbutsu no Mori+ packaging: the image of Booker that sits along the bottom edge of the game's outer sleeve.

For those of you who've never seen a Japanese GameCube game in person, this cardboard sleeve slips over a small plastic case that houses the game in question's disc and manual. Also, the case is clear, so if you situate the manual properly, it almost gives the game an alternate cover.

With all of that out of the way, which part of this Japanese game's packaging appeals the most to you?

See also: photos of the Dōbutsu no Mori Nintendo 64 packaging

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