Previews

A World Wide Cosy Home

Nintendo prepares Animal Crossing DS for the Internet audience

A World Wide Cosy Home

Moving into a house in a small village, talking to the other people living there, buying furniture, sometimes going fishing - seems like the sort of thing you’d do when you’re retired. But, as we know, whatever happens in real life, some people will want to do the same in a computer game as well. So it was with Nintendo’s Animal Crossing on GameCube. Of course, the twist in this game is in the title - all the people are animals. And if the game doesn’t sound that interesting, well, like life it was all about the interactions between you as the player and the other peculiar inhabitants of the village. There wasn’t really a goal. You just hung out, improved your little home, collected items to customise your character - hats and sunglasses for example - and occasionally did something a bit more interesting like catch butterflies or digging up treasure.

Still doesn’t sound like much? Well maybe the DS version of the game will change your mind. Due for release in early 2006, the majority of the game is much the same as before, but thanks to the DS’ wi-fi networking, you can play with up to three other players in your pretty Animal Crossing village.

And with Nintendo rolling out its global gaming network, in time you’ll be able to connect to the world if you’re in an Internet hotspot such as Starbucks or a home broadband network too.

According to the game’s producer Katsuya Eguchi, this will be a big deal. “The point of the Nintendo wi-fi connection is to bring people, who are normally very far away, closer, so that it feels as if you were playing together in the same room. You can go and play tag, or hide and seek, and it allows the two players to customise the environment and the situation they’re going to be playing, which allows for a lot of different gaming experiences,” he told the Nintendo Europe website (check out the full interview at www.nintendo-europe.com - registration required).

As for the single player version, there will be more things to do there as well. One addition will be a beauty salon where you can customise your hair. There will also be plenty of new characters, as well as old favourites such as KK Slider, Tom Nook, Blathers and Mr. Resetti and loads new items to collect. Animal Crossing DS will also use the touch screen so you can type letters and design patterns for your home or drag clothing or items onto characters or just lead them around the world.