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Blogging Animal Crossing: Let's go to the City Wii Review

18/08/2009 Review Review
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It's been a busy few months in our household. I wasn't really intending to stop playing City Folk but after a week's holiday away from home, somehow life got the better of me and I couldn't bring myself to play catchup, setting the clock back to play each day since I last played - so I just didn't play at all.

The longer I carried on not playing, of course, the longer the catch up period! Eventually I resigned myself to giving up completely. However, the lure of summer in Oakwood became too much, and so, during my summer break, I decided to play the game again.

It's been around three months since I last went into Oakwood, and I decided just to open up the game where it was and take the consequences. The town was fairly full of weeds, but it didn't take too much time to pull those up. I watered the few flowers that were left - that's my main disappointment really - Oakwood really was full of flowers, and now there are only a handful left around the town. Since I hadn't planned to stop playing, I didn't put my hybrids in my house where they would have been safe, so they're all lost as well. What a shame! Still, it shouldn't be too long before some spring up again.

During the summer I think the insects are what dominate life in town.

My townies had missed me, and I had a few conversations with various animals where I had to think up excuses for where I'd been!

The soundtrack to summer in Animal Crossing is that of the cicadas calling, and I confess that I'd missed it! I ran (okay, I walked - save that grass!) around town finding all the new bugs that I could and donating one of each to Blathers for the Museum's collection. During the summer I think the insects are what dominate life in town - from the friendly Bug Off contests each month to the inevitable bites from the scarier bugs that only appear at night! There are new fish as well, including sharks, so I will have to look out for those.

I had to chase the cockroaches out of my house because I hadn't 'lived' in it for so long, I hate those things! Luckily there were none in my bedroom!

I especially loved the Witch's shirt and hat, which not only looks hot with my current 'bed hair' look...

I also paid a quick visit to the city to see the new range at Gracie Grace, and couldn't resist snapping it all up! Luckily I still had plenty of money in my bank account so I just took that golden shopping card with me and Labelle ran round bringing me everything I asked for. I especially loved the Witch's shirt and hat, which not only looks hot with my current 'bed hair' look (that's what happens when you stay in bed for too long!) will come in handy when Halloween comes around I'm sure! I took the 'Sweets' range of furniture home and exchanged my outdated Easter Egg furniture for that.

It's actually been pretty exciting to come back into the game after such a long break and have plenty to do - it didn't feel like the daily grind of old, it felt more like a rediscovery of the fun you can have in this game. However, I have plans in store for the town, so I am going to try and play a little bit more often again, which should be fun.

Posted: 19/08/2009

Updates from Oakwood are getting fewer and further between. I'm still checking in to town every day but just doing the essential jobs in order to keep the game ticking over. There are days when I play a little bit more, for example a Wednesday when Crazy Redd's stock changes, or a Sunday when I buy turnips, but usually I'm just watering flowers and checking turnip prices, as well as throwing an axe into the fountain!

May rolled around bringing with it a host of new bugs and fish to catch; I've managed to get some of them but haven't made time to catch them all yet. Also with the season change, I noticed that the grass is growing a bit faster, or so it seems! I'm still madly planting flowers in order to grow the grass back everywhere; the downside of this is that I have to keep them all watered.

May also brought a stock change in Gracie Grace's store. This time I haven't rushed out and bought it - yet. I'm waiting to see Gracie in the shop and hoping that she'll assess my fashion sense and give me 10% off, before I spend any money there!

Bunny turned up outside my town hall having hidden Easter eggs all over town.

The one special character who I haven't seen yet is Gulliver. Apparently he flies across town in his UFO and you have to shoot him down with your slingshot, and then the next day he reappears with a gift for you. I must find out how this works, as otherwise, as in Wild World, I will be left with only his items to collect!

I'm still waiting for a Golden Axe from Serena the fountain goddess - she's now given me three silver ones but still no gold! The other day I happened to be online chatting with some fellow Animal Crossing players when she gave me the third silver one - I mentioned it in our conversation and it turned out that another player really wanted one. I quickly opened gates and she popped over - exchanging a Silver Fishing Rod for the Axe. That was brilliant, as I haven't seen a Silver Rod in my store yet and I really wanted one! I'll just have to keep trying for the Golden Axe.

Posted: 08/06/2009

It's been a few weeks since the last update from Oakwood but until Easter there hadn't been much more to report. I've been slowly collecting items that were missing from my catalogue, fishing and bug catching when new fish and insects became available, and doing lots of gardening.

My grass is slowly growing back and having plenty of flowers planted is helping - I must confess to being very relieved if I fire my game up and see that it's raining, so that I don't have to water all the flowers!

I've had a couple of new patterns from Wendell the travelling walrus, and I've also managed to recycle some carpets with Saharah. As well as that, one day when I popped to the city, I managed to bump into Gracie who gave me a fashion review! Luckily I was wearing a co-ordinated outfit, so she thought I looked pretty good, and gave me a 10% discount in the store on that day!

Bunny turned up outside my town hall having hidden Easter eggs all over town.

On Easter day there was a special event in town - Zipper T. Bunny turned up outside my town hall having hidden Easter eggs all over town. I had to wander off the paths to find them all, but it was fun. Some of them had candy inside, while some of them contained Bunny Foils which could be exchanged for the Egg series of furniture. There is a lot of guessing going on as to which character is dressed up in a bunny suit for this festival - I didn't care too much, as long as I didn't have to do endless hunting and get duplicates, but thank goodness, this time the hunt was simple! Zipper T. Bunny gave me one and only one of each item in the set, and I happily took all the Egg furniture home to my main room.

The Egg set looks pretty weird in my house, but I like it - the clock does funny things on the hour, you can really play with the toy, and I'm very pleased to have a theme in my house which contains a music player, too. My home is so much better now that I have K.K. Slider's songs playing all the time!

There have been a couple more DLC items from Nintendo recently; a Shamrock Hat to celebrate St. Patrick's day, and then a DSi bench which arrived on the day that Nintendo released the DSi in the shops here. Nintendo are currently running a competition to design an item of summer DLC so if you're interested in that, details can be found here.

Posted: 23/04/2009

Weeks are beginning to run into one another in Oakwood these days. Just more turnip price watching, axe throwing, and flower watering! Thankfully I'm getting better at remembering to take in-game photos so that at least reminds me about important events.

I've been desperately trying to stick to walking on the paths that I laid down, but it is tricky, I'm constantly walking on the flowers by accident. And the grass seems really slow to grow back, I'm sure the grass in my real life garden grows faster!

Early in the week I discovered a wailing kitten in Oakwood. She had been separated from her mum and couldn't find her way back! This is a feature that was introduced to Animal Crossing in Wild World and has stayed fairly much unchanged in City Folk; after wifi sessions you might find either the kitten (Katie) or the mother cat (Kaitlin) in your town, and you have to try to re-unite them. Luckily I was in contact with the other player and despite a time lag where the mother cat was waiting in the other town for a few days before Katie turned up in my town, we managed to get them back together eventually. Katie sent me an exclusive gift to say thank you, so that was nice. Another item that wouldn't have been found if not for online play.

I've been drinking a lot of coffee from Brewster in the Roost, and even meeting townies and other characters in the coffee shop too! After seven days' coffee drinking, one day when I had a gyroid in my pockets, Brewster chatted to me about his passion for gyroid collecting, and has offered me a space to store my gyroids too, so that will be really useful!

I knew this meant that Wisp would be visiting after 8pm, so late at night I fired up the game again to try and find him.

An online friend got in touch and let me know about a special event in her Japanese town, so I visited there one day and picked up a Rice Cake from Tortimer on Girls' Day. Not a terribly exciting event but after Festivale, I appreciated the simplicity of just collecting an exclusive item rather than having to work for hours to collect a whole series of furniture!

Finally, one day towards the end of the week I spotted a golden lamp lying around in my town. I knew this meant that Wisp would be visiting after 8pm, so late at night I fired up the game again to try and find him. Luckily I bumped into him without having to wander too far from the path, and he whispered to let me know where to find him. For finding his lamp he gave me a wish - I opted to receive an item still missing from my catalogue.

Oh, and one last thing - after selling turnips this week I made it to 10 million bells in the bank - the piggy bank gift is mine! Only another 90 million to go until the next prize.

Posted: 23/03/2009

Tags: Wii Eclectic Gamer Strategy

If I had to describe this week in Animal Crossing it would be 'just a bit cheesed off'. The week started with the excitement of 'Festivale', a special event in which a dancing peacock whipped the villagers up into a frenzy. They were playing silly games all day and giving out candy to the winners - and once you'd finally earned three candies of the right colour for your efforts at these luck based games, you could exchange them with Pave (the peacock) for exclusive furniture items.

Yet again, when playing alone, this turned into the most tedious, mind-numbing activity. Half the time I wasn't even looking at which responses I was making, just clicking through the options to get another game over and done with. Pave would, of course, start giving out duplicate items rather than the ones you needed, as well.

However when the games and candy collecting was shared out with wifi friends it became a lot more fun, thank goodness, and I enjoyed playing with a friend for a while. Having said that, it still took almost four hours of play in total to earn all the items available, so I was glad when it was over - and I'm sure that's not really how I should feel after a special event.

A special event in which a dancing peacock whipped the villagers up into a frenzy.

The Stalk Market in my own town was fairly abysmal, with turnip prices on a steady decline all week. I thought I would have to sell at a huge loss but then a wifi friend came through and I was able to make another million bells or so, after giving some away here and there!

The seasons are on the change, and over the past fortnight the trees have turned green, then this week the snow disappeared. Unfortunately I felt that this really did make my town look ugly; the dynamic path feature seemed good at first but with a lot of running around in the town, the majority of the grass has been worn away. I'm feeling a bit disappointed about this, as are a lot of players that I know, because you can't really play the game properly if you have to be constantly taking care not to run or even walk over certain areas.

So, I spent an hour or so laying down patterns as paths in my town, in an effort to keep to the same tracks and hope that the grass will grow back in the other areas. I have read that it can take a very long time though ... and I will have to sacrifice the ongoing money making through fruit harvesting as a result, as it is impossible to do that and stay on the paths. Even looking for fossils to dig up will be tricky. Only time will tell whether it will be worth the effort and sacrifice.

Still, Spring is on the way, and with the beginning of a new month and season comes new bugs and fish to catch, so that will add some interest back into the game for me I hope, despite the curtailment of my running around!

Posted: 12/03/2009

Tags: Wii Eclectic Gamer Strategy

It's been quite a mundane week in Oakwood; each day has simply been about completing chores, selling fruit, and checking the shops for any interesting items. To be honest, that's all I have had time for!

As usual on a Sunday, I found Joan and bought some turnips to play the Stalk Market during the week. This week my prices were terrible! I could hardly make a profit on any day. This meant that I hunted further afield to find an online player with better prices - easily achieved through a forum, thank goodness! I ended up making a tidy little profit on my few turnips, even after leaving a gift for my online host.

I'm still trying to catch a few of the winter fish, I'd really like a silver fishing rod to help with that!

There was one very exciting event this week - Tom Nook sold me a silver net! Very occasionally he stocks silver tools, which don't really look much different to the normal ones, so you have to keep your eyes peeled. Apparently the net will make it easier for me to catch bugs. I can't really test it until the summer though, there aren't that many insects around during the winter months.

I'm still trying to catch a few of the winter fish, I'd really like a silver fishing rod to help with that! Hopefully I'll be able to catch the outstanding ones before they disappear at the end of next month.

Posted: 27/02/2009

Tags: Wii Eclectic Gamer Strategy

Daisy's had a fairly exciting week, in addition to the usual chores around the town! On Monday there was a special event on Groundhog Day in North America, so I hooked up with a US friend to visit their town. Daisy tiptoed around that town, as it was carefully laid out with paths and flowers to maximise grass growth, so no running allowed!

A quick chat with Tortimer and I was the proud owner of a special Resetti Model, only available in US games on this day, which is now displayed along with the other models in my house. Again, an item that I wouldn't have been able to acquire without the wifi element of the game! While I was there I spotted another couple of items that I needed and asked my friend if she could order them from Nooks for me. I then spent the next couple of days awaiting mail from her with the gifts inside - who knew that mail could be so exciting!

I've been fishing a fair bit this week, and I've managed to catch two of the three fish that were still outstanding - a tuna, and the living fossil, the coelacanth, which only appears when it is snowing or raining, so you don't see it very often! I donated both of these to Blathers in the museum; he seems pleased that the collection is coming on well! I still need a stringfish, which I haven't even spotted yet, so fishing will be high on the priority list for the rest of the month, as the stringfish disappears at the end of February!

When I turned on the game, Pete the postman was standing right outside my house.

Most exciting of all was Friday. When I turned on the game, Pete the postman was standing right outside my house. Sometimes you see Pete wandering around making deliveries, but only at 9am or 5pm, and it was around lunchtime, so it was very unusual. He wouldn't let me out of the house without giving me a special delivery letter from Nintendo! The letter was from Captain Olimar, and contained a special gift, the Red Pikmin hat!! I was ecstatic to get this, and immediately went to the Able sisters to make myself a matching dress!

When the game was released there were rumours of Nintendo's downloadable content (DLC), and I had wondered how it would be distributed, so now I know! In order to make sure you can access this, you just need to make sure that you have set up your Nintendo WFC settings and have Wii Connect 24 turned on.

Posted: 15/02/2009

Tags: Wii Eclectic Gamer Strategy

Further to the plight mentioned in my last bulletin, I made a shout-out on an Animal Crossing networking site that I use fairly regularly. Someone almost immediately replied and said that their Gracie Grace store still had the items I needed!

Via the site, we arranged a time to meet via WiFi; she bought the items in her store and I paid her the bells, so it was a win win situation! This camaraderie is one of the things that I love about Animal Crossing - the online play is in no way competitive, people share items and help one another out.

The other day, in fact, I left my town open for a (real life) friend to look around while I did something else. Another player that I met via a US forum came to my town and left me some fossils that I needed for my museum collection! That friend is back by chance this evening too, requesting a couple of items that I can help find for him.

I was interested to read the other review on Gamepeople which expressed disappointment at the difficulty they had found found in meeting people online. I think you do have to go to a bit of effort to find friends, but once you have found a place where you feel happy chatting to other players online, it really enhances the game play. In fact my experience this weekend just shows that Nintendo have obviously put features into this game which forces you to wifi in order to complete parts of the game.

Once you've 'met' people online then you need to exchange friend codes.

Most of the forums simply require you to register for a free account. After that you can post on the message boards; these are usually split into different sections, and there is often one specifically for finding wifi friends. Obviously you can title your message request to ask for specific people, for example players in a particular time zone, or 'safe' players, or those with/without Wii Speak. Once you've 'met' people online then you need to exchange friend codes.

Animal Crossing UK and Europe: This site is a networking site similar to facebook in the way that it operates, and has a core of members from the UK/Europe, although there are some US members too. Small at the moment, but very friendly and well worth looking at.

Animal Crossing Community: This site is one of the biggest Animal Crossing forums and a good place to start. Check out the Wifi Lobby to find other players to connect with. Friend codes here are exchanged via a specific Friend Code Request tool in the site, you're not allowed to post them in your messages. This works well, and there is also a ratings section so that you can see that other players are family friendly, etc.

Animal Crossing Forums <-- More forums where you can easily find wifi players, as well as plenty of information about gameplay.

Posted: 29/01/2009

Tags: Wii Eclectic Gamer Strategy

This week in Animal Crossing City Folk I am cross and upset (yes, really, upset!). I had planned to buy the set of Gorgeous furniture in Gracie Grace's exclusive store before the season changed in February, but when I got there some of the items were sold out. Sold out! How could this be?!!

Desperate to complete the set, I broke the time travel rule again and tried to go back to a time when they were in stock, but no luck. I then went forward, hoping that the following year the shop would be restocked - but no. Back to the year before the real time, in case the set hadn't been sold out that year - but it seems that sold out is sold out, and your game's save file remembers this.

It will take a few days to get the town back to perfect status.

So, the only way for me to complete this set will be somehow to obtain the missing pieces from another player via WiFi - which will be hard, because the set is really expensive so I shouldn't think anyone will have items going spare!

What's more, in finding this out, I lost all my beautiful hybrids and now have a whole town to weed (the price you pay for not-very-careful time travel). It will take a few days to get the town back to perfect status, as I'll only be able to buy a few flowers every day; still, I only have myself to blame for this!

It just underlines to me that I really don't enjoy the game when I give in to the urge to time travel just to get stuff. Rather, to me, the game is more enjoyable taken step by step, then there is more achievement felt with every gain, however small.

Tthere is a fishing tournament in my town tomorrow so I'll have a try then.

Ah well, you win some, you lose some - I'll be able to grow hybrids again and get the town looking pretty in no time - but I'm still seething about the furniture, especially as I could almost have afforded it and bought it all a week ago!

Other town news: I've plodded on with turnips (only a small profit again this week) and filling the museum, as well as keeping track of a few new items that I've needed in my catalogue, both furniture and clothes/accessories. Still no golden axe from my grumpy fountain goddess, and as yet I haven't had a decent attempt at fishing to catch the outstanding fish available this month - but there is a fishing tournament in my town tomorrow so I'll have a try then.

Posted: 18/01/2009

Tags: Wii Eclectic Gamer Strategy

Oakwood is enjoying a post Christmas slump. Nothing amazingly exciting has happened in town, but I'm still playing every day just to do the essential and enjoyable chores each day.

Each day has seen a couple of additions to my catalogue of items, either from Nook's shop or the Able Sisters. And I'm madly saving bells in order to be able to buy Gracie Grace's extortionately expensive furniture series in the city, but I'm not quite there yet. I only made a small profit on turnips this week.

One achievement this week was that I managed to shoot down a golden slingshot. At certain times in the day, presents attached to balloons float across your screen, and if you manage to pop the balloon using your slingshot, then you get whatever is in the present when it drops to the ground. The golden slingshot is pretty useful as it shoots three shots at a time, giving you a much greater range for shooting! The special Mario series of items can be obtained this way but I only have three of them so far, so I need to look out for a few more balloons soon.

I'm still waiting for the golden axe from my fountain goddess.

I'm still waiting for the golden axe from my fountain goddess, she is being very slow to hand out her gifts. I don't think she likes me very much.

I've done quite well catching insects this week; I managed to bag a dung beetle (caught rolling my snowballs away), a bee that was trying to attack me, and some ants which were crawling over some rotten turnips. I'm not having quite as much luck with fish though, I have some of this season's catch still outstanding so I will need to be fishing like crazy in the next couple of weeks.

I moved the Wii to another room so that I could play Animal Crossing while using my cross trainer at the same time.

Now, confession time. I'm finding I have to adjust the clock so that I can play the time of day in town at the time of day that it suits me in real life, and these simply don't match up. It's not quite time travel, I keep telling myself, just small changes here and there.

It is the New Year and the season for resolutions ... so in real life I moved the Wii to another room so that I could play Animal Crossing while using my cross trainer at the same time. Conjures up a funny picture, I know - and I'm glad that there's no web cam attached to the game! For the most part it works quite well, although I do have to stop running every now and again for the bits where you need to point the Wii-mote at the screen!

Posted: 12/01/2009

Tags: Wii Eclectic Gamer Strategy

Just as the long-awaited windmill was about to be built in my town I had to leave the Wii behind for a week, as real life took over and we went away for Christmas. In fact the last few days of the school term here were so busy that I didn't get a chance to play those days either. So, for the first time since owning the game, when we got home from our week away I broke the time travel rule.

The game is set up so that you can override the clock settings if you wish, so it was quite simple to turn the clock back to each day that I hadn't played, and complete the 'essential' tasks for that day. For me these include watering flowers, throwing an axe into the fountain, rolling snowballs to make a Snowman (in winter of course!), and checking turnip prices. Everything else is incidental, or at least can wait until a day when I have more time!

Of course there was also the special Christmas Eve event to catch up on, when Jingle the reindeer visits towns to deliver presents on Santa's behalf. Although I believe this event existed in the Animal Crossing Gamecube, I hadn't ever played it before; it wasn't in Animal Crossing: Wild World DS. You have to disguise yourself each time you speak to Jingle, then he will give you a new present each time. After a great deal of perseverance (because he gives you duplicates!) and a lot of different disguises I finally ended up with the whole Jingle set of furniture. I think this event would have been much better with Wi-fi friends to play with, but I didn't find anyone online when I was playing!

Of course there was also the special Christmas Eve event to catch up on, when Jingle the reindeer visits towns to deliver presents on Santa's behalf.

It took me a couple of days to catch up on the 9 days' worth of play that I'd missed, then I was back into real time. Having lost my time travel virginity I think I will probably adjust the clock most days as otherwise I simply won't have time to play at the time of day that I need to in order to track turnip prices etc., especially now that I have the top upgrade of shop - sells more but is open less!

An online Animal Crossing friend of mine has released an updated version of a little program that can keep track of your catalogue of items and all other collectibles in the game, so I spent a while fiddling with that and checking off items that I already have. The geeky side of me comes out at this point and I start working out percentages of things collected in each category; I'm about 60% done overall!

New Year's Eve was also marked in the game, with a huge countdown clock in front of the Town Hall.

New Year's Eve was also marked in the game, with a huge countdown clock in front of the Town Hall. Tortimer the mayor gave everyone party poppers for the big moment (but I missed it because I was out partying in real life!). On New Year's Day Tortimer was still in town, giving out New Year's shirts to everyone. Apparently there are different designs for each year, I suspect they're linked in with the animals from the Chinese New Year, as the design on mine certainly looked like an ox - but I'd have to do some serious time travel to test that theory and I'm not ready for that yet! Catchup and clock adjustment is one thing, but time traveling a whole year is a bit much!

Other things of note that have happened in Oakwood: I got the silver axe from my fountain goddess - the gold one is still eluding me though! The windmill was built in town and looks beautiful down by the beach. One of my animal neighbours has moved out, and a new one has moved in, but I have yet to have a proper chat with him as he was in the middle of unpacking when I met him! And these days Blathers the museum curator seems quite happy with the way the displays are coming on, so I must be doing ok with the bug, fish, and fossil collecting too.

Posted: 02/01/2009

Tags: Wii Eclectic Gamer Strategy

As I sit down to write this, I do wonder how many weeks it will be before I have nothing to say. There are plenty of other games that really wouldn't hold any interest after 5 weeks of playing at least an hour a day. Actually I daren't look at my Wii records to see how many hours of gameplay I've clocked up! But I'm still loving it and there is still so much yet to discover, despite having had exciting things going on every day in this alternate reality! I've finally found an SD card for the Wii, too, so I've been taking lots of in game photos which has been fun.

On Monday I was hugely excited to go to the City and finally find Resetti's Surveillance Centre. Resetti can be quite an annoying mole who, in previous games, popped up and shouted at you if you forgot to save your game properly. He still does this, I think, but also in this game he has a secret hideout which you can only access in the evening on a random day. We'd been looking out for it for a couple of weeks and not spotted it, so it was great to see it! I am now the proud owner of a Silver Shovel.

On Tuesday Nook closed his shop for a day to remodel. I must confess I hadn't been looking forward to this, as I love Nook's Cranny for its long opening hours! Still, when the bigger Nookway store opened the next day it was nice to have a bit more choice available, even if the shop does close earlier.

I managed to connect with someone on WiFi whose turnip prices were fabulous.

On Wednesday I finally received the golden watering can from Pelly at the Town Hall! This means that Oakwood has been a perfect town for a whole 15 days. Proud of my perfect town, I opened it up to visitors and finally used Wii Speak properly for the first time. It worked well and was fairly clear, but I'm still not sure I like it, personally. I'll keep going and see if it grows on me - I know some players who really like it, but I wonder if they are people who don't have their family wandering into the living room to talk to them all the time!!

It was a good day for the Stalk Market, too - I managed to connect with someone on WiFi whose turnip prices were fabulous; having bought turnips for 90 bells apiece, I sold them for 478! So I managed to make over 2 million bells, which at this stage in the game makes me rich indeed, for someone who's playing without any time travel! I used the money to pay off the last of my mortgage.

Having paid the last portion of my debt, on Thursday I had a beautiful flag outside my house to show that I'm debt free. I'm very proud of it! Also on Thursday it began to snow in Oakwood, and the snow finally stuck! I spent a while hunting around for the two snowballs that appear in town every day on snowy days but could only find one of them!

Friday was a really exciting day - finally my fountain was built!! Tortimer stood in front of it all day long, and I was able to show it off to a few guests who came into my town that day. I'm looking forward to throwing an axe into it and hoping for the gift of a silver or golden axe, but apparently this can take some time.

I also managed to find my two snowballs for the day and roll them together to make that perfect snowman. I love the Snowman in Animal Crossing, not only does he send you exclusive furniture but he's also quite chatty, and can be quite comical with it!

Some of my villagers challenged me to a game of Hide and Seek in the evening. This is a new feature in the game.

Some of my villagers challenged me to a game of Hide and Seek in the evening. This is a new feature in the game which I hadn't seen before - one animal will suggest a game, and when you accept, that animal rounds up a couple of others. You meet outside the town hall and they run away to hide, then a 15 minute timer starts and you have to find them all before your time is up! Luckily I managed it, although it's surprising how well brightly coloured animal neighbours can hide!!

Over the weekend I'm hoping to find enough time to make some Snowmen in the game, but it's going to be busy in real life so that might be all I have time for. I've donated some more bells to the town fund so now I have a hard decision to make, do we want a lighthouse or a windmill in town? My other human residents have voted for a windmill, so it might just have to be that - which gives me something else to look forward to next week.

Oh, and there's a fishing tournament today (Saturday). These can be great fun; whoever catches the longest fish wins a cup! Luckily I caught a pike during the week, which is one of the biggest river fish at this time of year, so I've kept it in my house. I'm planning to submit it at the last minute, so that none of those pesky animals can go out and beat me!

Posted: 07/12/2008

Tags: Wii Eclectic Gamer Strategy

It's been a quiet week in Oakwood, mainly because I've had a bad cold so have been heading to bed early every day rather than staying up on WiFi! This is where I would say the DS game wins over the big console - if it had been AC:WW I would still have played in bed! My husband says that he prefers AC:CF for this reason though, as I have to leave it downstairs!

Still, despite a week with less play than before, there have been some notable events in the town. First of all, a new bridge was built! In this game you have to give donations to your town fund, and the first few of these actually add features to the town. All the town's residents could choose between a couple of places that it could be built. It took them a week to build it but it's great! After my next sizable donation I should be getting a fountain which has a special function as well as being pretty, so I am looking forward to that, too.

I was really excited to see my first hybrid flowers appearing this week.

The town is still perfect, but I still need to wait a few more days for my golden watering can. In the meantime, though, I received the silver can in the post, from the seed company! When you have bought 50 packets of seeds from Tom Nook they send you the silver watering can as a reward. It's nice and shiny and seems to do a better job of watering flowers!

On the topic of flowers, I was really excited to see my first hybrid flowers appearing this week. Certain colours of flowers, when planted in combination, will spawn other colours - my red and white cosmos produced a pink one, and I also have an orange rose from red and yellow roses together.

The game celebrates 'Naughty or Nice Day', with an exclusive European special gift from the mayor

I'm happy to say that I'm feeling better at the end of the week, so back on WiFi again, which really is the best bit of the game. My only criticism is that my friend roster isn't big enough to add everyone that I would like to have on it.

European players will find themselves particularly popular on WiFi today, as the game celebrates 'Naughty or Nice Day', with an exclusive European special gift from the mayor - American players will need to visit a European town if they want to get it! The date is set to co-incide with St. Nicholas' Day, and your bulletin board says to leave a shoe or even a sock outside your door. As the only place to get a shoe in the game is to fish some rubbish out of the river I confess I didn't actually do this, so I hope it's not really necessary and that I will get a present anyway!!

Posted: 07/12/2008

Tags: Wii Eclectic Gamer Strategy

It's been an extremely exciting week in the town of Oakwood and there is loads to report!

First of all at the beginning of the week Tom Nook decided to upgrade his shop. This was a bit of a relief, as Nook's Cranny doesn't sell an axe or a slingshot, both rather essential gameplay tools. The only small annoyance was the fact that Nook had to close his shop for a day to refurbish it, but I guess it is a small price to pay for the bigger, better, and longer opening hours store that is Nook'n'Go!

Thankfully, the same day that Nook was closed was also the flea market event in my town. This is a regular event where you can visit your neighbours' houses and buy their stuff (well, the things they want to sell you) at knock down prices! Also, they will visit your house and buy your things at vastly inflated prices, so it's worth stocking up on fish and bugs to sell - I made some good bells this way.

It will take a while to pay for that, as the loan for it is huge!

Joan, the turnip seller, visited on Sunday, and I made sure I spent as much money as possible on turnips. The Stalk Market is by far the best way to make easy bells in this game, although this week I didn't get great returns, it was a profit at least. I used the bells to donate to the town fund (more on that another time) and to pay off another mortgage. Nook has helpfully built me a basement, but it will take a while to pay for that, as the loan for it is huge!

Towards the beginning of the week I was working hard on my town's status, as there are good rewards for having that 'perfect' town. This means having the correct number of trees and/or flowers in each acre of the town - and therefore requires a fair bit of mapping and counting in order to achieve it. I was thrilled when Pelly at the Town Hall finally told me that Oakwood was a great place to live. Now I just have to keep it that way for a fortnight to get the prize!

The City really started bustling. I didn't spend that much time there, but I did finally get an invitation to visit Crazy Redd's Store. Once there I decided to pay the membership fee and join, as he wouldn't let me buy anything otherwise! I bought a painting, hoping that it wasn't a forgery! Thankfully when I got it home and took it to my museum it was fine and Blathers, the museum curator, is proudly displaying it in the art gallery there.

On Thursday, coinciding with the US Thanksgiving Day, there was a Harvest Festival in town.

On Thursday, coinciding with the US Thanksgiving Day, there was a Harvest Festival in town. This was a fabulous event with comedy value no end as you had to collect a knife and fork from the mayor, and then play hide and seek with a visiting turkey! I played in my town, and then my time ran out but I still needed some of the special items only available on this day - so I went hunting for wifi friends.

One of the best improvements I have seen in the game so far is that special events are still playable over WiFi. These used to just disappear in Animal Crossing: Wild World DS, if you opened gates then the event would stop - but now you can play festivals with friends, which is great. I had a ball running round someone else's town looking for the turkey! There were three people playing at the time and it was much more fun to be able to shout out 'Found him!' and tell everyone where to come to have a chat and get that special item of furniture - then swap it if it wasn't the one you needed!

And now it's the end of the week, and almost the end of the month, so I am madly trying to catch all the fish and insects that won't be available again for a while. I probably won't manage it as I don't seem to be able to play much during daylight hours, but I'm going to have fun trying!

Posted: 29/11/2008

Tags: Wii Eclectic Gamer Strategy

One week into the game and here's another blog post with some more observations.

For me personally there is one main rule - no time travel. If I need a bug that can only be caught in the middle of the night then I'll stay up until the middle of the night! And likewise the daytime fish and insects - they'll have to be caught at weekends since I'm at work during the weekdays normally. If I miss something that only happens in November then I'll have to wait until next November to get it!

I've also decided to be more relaxed in my gameplay - in Wild World I really had to get every item, catch, collect and complete everything, as quickly as possible, and I spent hours doing it. For starters, I don't have as much time these days, so I can't possibly attempt to play the game as seriously as I did before. Also, it's simply not as easy when playing on a console as you can't take it with you like you could the DS. Not to mention the fact that I have children who also love to play the game, so I have to share the Wii time with them!

Daytime fish and insects - they'll have to be caught at weekends since I'm at work during the weekdays normally

As I've played again this week I've just been enjoying some of my favourite parts of the game. I spent one evening laying down patterns and mapping out the acres in my town, in preparation for working on the 'perfect town' challenge, and now I'm just waiting for my new fruit trees to grow before I can plant some more.

It's been easy to find some wifi friends on various Animal Crossing forums, and I've enjoyed testing out that side of the game. Now I have all the different types of fruit growing in my town, which is good as I need to make some serious money!

I've managed to pay off the first two mortgage instalments. I did the first one by sheer hard work, fishing and selling fruit. The second was slightly easier; I had really high turnip prices in my town so I advertised the fact on a forum. Then I had a few people come to sell turnips. One of them generously donated some bells after they'd made a huge profit, so that was really helpful! I'm going to be buying turnips this Sunday and hoping to find a good price to sell them somewhere myself! The Stalk Market is definitely the best way to make big money.

If you walk a certain route lots of times, the grass wears away, making a path.

Saharah, the carpet seller, visited my town this week - only now she's a carpet recycler! She wanted me to ask my villagers for old carpets but none of them had any for me, so she wouldn't give me one of her special carpets!

Nook still has his smallest shop, Nook's Cranny. He's had special items for sale every day, I think - and one day it was the throne, but at 800,000 bells it was much too expensive for me! I've just been buying flowers and concentrating on the town layout, but I think I probably ought to buy a bit more from the shop in order to get the shop upgrade soon.

My favourite new feature of the week has to be the dynamic paths. In City Folk, if you walk a certain route lots of times, the grass wears away, making a path. I love this! It's fab to see the path appearing on my favourite routes around the town.

That's all for now - this is nowhere near exhaustive but there will be more next week too!

Posted: 23/11/2008

Tags: Wii Eclectic Gamer Strategy

As a huge fan of the Animal Crossing games I could hardly contain my excitement when I got the 'Let's go to the City' game, bundled with Wii Speak. I couldn't wait to get writing about how the new game works out. I'll be blogging my way through the experience right here on this page - so you can enjoy it too.

As an aside, I'm not entirely sure why the game had to be re-titled for the European market as it's just made it a bit of a mouthful, very difficult to abbreviate and talk about - City Folk just rolls off the tongue far more easily and as it was the name that I'd heard about pre-release, it's what I find myself referring to the game as, so forgive me for that please!

Nostalgia kicked in straight away as I started the game, there was Rover welcoming me just as in the original Gamecube version. No matter if you didn't play the other games, this version introduces you to all aspects as you play it, and if you did play the previous two games then you spend the first fifteen minutes of play noticing tiny differences and re-acquainting yourself with favourite characters.

Nostalgia kicked in straight away as I started the game, there was Rover welcoming me just as in the original Gamecube version.

I hit a technical hitch almost straight away, however, and not one that I was expecting. One of the options in the game is to import your Wild World character into the City Folk version, and this is what I was planning to do. I spent 18 months of my life working hard to almost complete the catalogue in the old game, so if I could save myself some time collecting furniture in this game then it was worth doing! But, when I tried following instructions to move my character across, both the Wii and the DS informed me that I had the wrong game cartridge.

Of course I couldn't wait to solve the problem, although I had an idea of what might be wrong, so I went ahead and created my town and a brand new character. As I began to play, I found the controls very intuitive and easy to pick up. The graphics look incredibly like Animal Crossing Gamecube, although a bit smoother and cleaner. But the town layout itself takes you right back to the original game, with its different ground levels.

The gameplay is very very similar to the old games, but I think there will be enough differences to keep my interest up, I'm already completely hooked, and smiling at subtle changes that bring the game right up to date, while enjoying every minute of the familiarity after knowing some of these characters and the game for years now!

I'm already completely hooked, and smiling at subtle changes that bring the game right up to date.

I played for long enough to finish my initial chores for that rich raccoon, and then stopped to think through my earlier problem. The only thing I could think was that this was a region specific clash, as my DS cartridge is a USA game, while my Wii and the Wii game are European. To test this theory I invited a friend and their DS game round, and went through the rigmarole of moving my character first into their town, and then tried again to get it into the Wii game. Thankfully it worked and I copied the character over. I must admit that I was surprised about this - I knew that the Wii was region locked but somehow I hadn't anticipated that particular difficulty. Still, it will affect a minority of people and I suspect that most of those who will be affected would probably be able to find a friend to help them out as I did.

So, my old friend Daisy finally made it into Oakwood, my brand new City Folk town. She managed to take her catalogue of items and clothing with her, but had to leave behind her fossil collection, gyroid collection, and worst of all, her money! She then had to work her way through Nook's chores - mildly annoying, given that I really didn't need to learn all of these skills, but there we go. After that it was down to the hard graft of earning some money to pay off the first mortgage. I managed to pay off the first loan simply by fishing and catching bugs, picking up shells and shaking cherries from my trees.

Of course I had to take a trip to the City, the main new feature in the game. Kapp'n drives the bus from your town to the City, where you can explore a whole range of shops, some familiar and others brand new. In a quick sweep of the mall, the highlights seemed to me to be the Auction house, where items can be left for other players to purchase, GracieGrace's high end boutique, the Happy Room Academy headquarters, and Dr Shrunk's marquee, as well as a shoe cleaner and good old Crazy Redd himself. I didn't have enough bells to try everything but I loved the concept of 'going to the city', and I think I will be spending a fair bit more time there!

It's not a very British thing, really, to have a microphone on in your living room

As with Animal Crossing:Wild World, one of the main features of the game is online play, and for this you and your friends have to have registered one another's friend codes before you can travel to each other's towns. Thankfully there are plenty of forums online where you can easily exchange details with people and see who you meet that way. Within a short space of time I'd managed to exchange a code with someone and opened my town gates for a first visit. It wasn't quite the same thrill as the first time I did this on the DS game, where it was a totally new experience to connect via Nintendo WFC, but still pretty exciting to see the notification 'someone's arriving' flash across the screen!

There was the added question at first: do you have Wii Speak? We both did, and tried using it, but as I suspected it was fairly glitchy and I couldn't really hear what my friend was saying - to be honest I hope she couldn't hear what I was saying either as I was more talking to my husband in the same room as me than to her! I didn't try very hard to get it working any better as it felt a bit weird - it's not a very British thing, really, to have a microphone on in your living room, it goes completely against our culture I think! So I imagine I will stick to the text based chat, although I'd like to try plugging a usb keyboard into the Wii for this, as the onscreen writing is fairly laborious. I would be more inclined to use the microphone with a friend I already know than with a complete stranger, it just seems a bit strange to me otherwise.

I'll be back soon with my next blog update.

Anyway, my new friend and I pottered around chatting a bit about our previous Animal Crossing: Wild World DS experiences, and what we thought of this game, and then we both popped back to her town. Unfortunately we both have the same native fruit so couldn't make an exchange there but hopefully I will soon find more friends to add to the list. I really enjoyed the visits, more than I thought I would. I noticed little things like the triangles on her ground pattern (I have circles on mine) and loved chatting with the animals in her town - some of the conversations you have with villagers are really surreal and very funny.

My initial foray into the game leaves me completely wanting more, as I've only skimmed the surface of the game in the first few of hours of playing. There is definitely enough new things in the game for me to keep playing. I'll be back soon with my next blog update, and thereafter each week (ed: we'll keep adding these to the review).

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