The First Game Was on the Nintendo 64
If you thought the first Animal Crossing game was on the GameCube, you’d be mistaken. The very first release was actually on the Nintendo 64. It was called Dobutsu no Mori (Animal Forest) and was exclusive to Japan at the very beginning of 2001. In fact, it was one of the very last games released for the N64 at the end of its life cycle.
This was an experimental title that ended up being re-released later on the GameCube due to its wild success. Since the N64 had no internal clock, the real-time clock had to be set manually, and it used an internal device within the cartridge to keep time ticking.
Though many changes were made when it was re-released on the GameCube, it set the stage for what the series would grow into. This first version of the game was never officially localized in English for western regions; instead, the updated version of the game for GameCube introduced the west to Animal Crossing.
Tom Nook Isn’t a Raccoon
Most people think Tom Nook is a raccoon. He does look like one, after all. But he is actually based on a tanuki, which is also called the Japanese raccoon dog.
The tanuki is a significant animal in Japanese folklore. Legends call them mischievous and crafty shapeshifters. Maybe Tom Nook is sneaky in that he finds ways to make so much money off of the player character. It is also probably how he got his name since Tom Nook sounds similar to tanuki.
If the tanuki sounds familiar to you, it might be because of the Tanooki Suit in the Super Mario Bros. series that allows Mario to transform into a raccoon-like character.
K.K. Slider Is Based on Animal Crossing’s Composer
K.K. Slider, the traveling musician who plays songs on his guitar when visiting towns, is one of the most popular recurring characters in Animal Crossing. Fans love listening to his concerts on Saturday nights in the games.
What you might not know about him is that his character and name are based on Animal Crossing’s composer, Kazumi Totaka. In Japanese culture, the last name is said before the first name, so his shortened name would be Totaka K. In Japan, K.K. Slider’s name is Totakeke, which sounds like Totaka K.
All of this is just shortened to K.K. in the English localization. K.K. Slider is basically the animal version of the game’s composer as he holds the guitar and sings songs that he wrote himself.
There Was an Animal Crossing Movie
If you’ve always wanted an Animal Crossing movie, the good news is that one already exists! The bad news is that it was only released in Japan. Thankfully, it’s pretty easily available online with a quick Google search.
It’s called Dōbutsu no Mori, and it was released in 2006. It follows a young girl named Ai who moves to a new town and finds that it’s populated entirely by animals. She befriends some of the villagers there, works for Tom Nook and does other things that are reminiscent of the Animal Crossing games.
It seems that there were no plans to release an official English version of the movie, despite the film being a big hit in Japan, earning 1.7 billion yen (about $16.2 million) at the box office.
You Can See Aliens on the TV for Exactly One Minute Each Night
Have you ever taken the time to actually watch what’s shown on the TVs in your Animal Crossing house? Usually, the TVs just display generic pictures, but there’s one instance of programming that’s a little creepy.
At exactly 3:33 am on Saturdays, a certain broadcast will appear on TVs if you happen to be watching at that time: an alien figure and a UFO will show up on the screen, and it will only last for one minute.
If you don’t want to stay up that late for just a minute’s worth of weird aliens, you can always change your clock to make it happen at a more convenient time. It’s a fun yet creepy Easter egg that has no actual purpose, but it’s one of those things that fans like to be able to say they saw with their own eyes.
You Could See Tom Nook in His Pajamas at Night
Normally, when all of the stores close for the night in Animal Crossing games, you won’t be able to see the characters who run them until the morning. One exception to this is in Animal Forest e+ (the updated version of the original Japanese Animal Crossing for GameCube).
In this version of the game, you can visit Tom Nook in his store at night by hitting the door three times with a tool such as a shovel. Doing so will grant you access into the store, but Tom Nook will be half-asleep and in his pajamas.
You can buy items, but they’ll be at a higher cost due to the inconvenience for poor Tom Nook, whose sleep was rudely interrupted. This isn’t possible in the English version of the game or in any other Animal Crossing title.
Some Characters Have Dark Backstories
Animal Crossing may seem like it’s all happy sunshine and rainbows, but some of the characters actually have deeper (and darker) backstories than you’d think. You wouldn’t know it unless you take the time to read a lot of the dialogue in the games.
Specifically, the Able sisters have quite an elaborate history. By talking to Sable once every day, she goes from being shy and completely silent to opening up about her family’s past. Their clothing shop was founded by their parents until they were in a fatal accident, leaving the sisters as orphans.
You can keep getting to know Sable to learn that Label and Sable fought after their parents’ deaths, causing Label to leave them and pursue a career in the city (where we’d first meet her in City Folk). In that game, you can get to know the sisters even better and learn that they actually want to reconnect and repair their relationship, and you can encourage them to do so.
Finally, the sisters are reunited in New Leaf when all three work together in the Able Sisters shop. Though Label travels on her own in New Horizons, dialogue suggests that the sisters have maintained a strong relationship ever since reuniting.
You Can Play NES Games in Animal Crossing
Before there was Virtual Console or Nintendo Switch online, there were NES games in the original Animal Crossing. And yes, you could actually play them in their entirety.
NES games were items that could be obtained mostly from Nook’s Lottery or buried by villagers. A few of them were found on the island, and a handful of them were given away for free by Nintendo. Some examples of the NES games you could collect and play included Balloon Fight, Excitebike, Donkey Kong, Wario’s Woods, Punch-Out!!, and others.
There were 15 playable NES games in total, and of course, you needed a Nintendo Entertainment System within the game to be able to play them. If you acquired the NES without any games and tried to interact with it, you’d just get an error message.
The best part of all was that there was an item in the game that was a fake NES game cartridge called Super Tortimer, given to the player by Mayor Tortimer on April Fool’s Day. Any attempt to play it results in a laughing sound.
Saharah and Gracie Are Male in Japan
Both Saharah the carpet seller and Gracie the fashionista are female in English localizations of Animal Crossing, but in the Japanese localizations, they are both male characters.
In Japan, Saharah is actually called Roland, and Gracie is just Grace. They’re both male characters who speak in a feminine manner. Grace even has the voice of a snooty villager, which is normally a female-only personality, despite being male in the game.
The English localization team decided to make them be female characters ever since their debut, perhaps originally to avoid any possible controversy, and later to keep the gender consistent for long-time fans.
Blanca Can Replace Rover in New Leaf
Normally, when starting a brand new save file in New Leaf, Rover the cat is the one who greets you on the train to get your name and ask where you are headed.
If you start your save file on April Fools Day, a different cat will appear. On April 1, Blanca will take Rover’s place. Her face is, well, blank, so she asks you to draw one for her.
Normally, Blanca only appears on April Fools Day in your town, so this is the only instance of her taking Rover’s place when starting a new save file.
The First Handheld Animal Crossing Was in 2001… Sort of
When you think of the first Animal Crossing game for handheld devices, your mind probably jumps to Wild World on the DS. While this was technically the first true handheld Animal Crossing experience, there was an instance earlier than that on the Game Boy Advance.
In Animal Crossing for the GameCube, there was an island separated from the town’s mainland called Animal Island that you could visit. An exclusive villager would reside there that you could catch bugs and fish with.
Normally, you wouldn’t be able to save on Animal Island and would have to travel to and from it while playing. If you connected a Game Boy Advance, though, the island would be sent to the handheld device and you could continue playing on the island there.
Once the island had been uploaded to the Game Boy Advance, you’d be able to keep interacting with the islander and participating in activities there. When you were finished, you could reconnect the GBA and send the island back, saving your progress to your main game.
A Villager in New Horizons Is Named After a Special Fan
During the development of New Horizons, a wholesome YouTube video of one of the oldest Animal Crossing fans went viral. An 87-year-old fan named Audie had logged over 3,500 hours into New Leaf on the 3DS, and the video showed off a tour of her island as well as her thoughts on the game.
The YouTube video surpassed 12 million views, which must have caught the attention of somebody on the Animal Crossing team. One of the eight new villagers in New Horizons is a wolf named Audie.
It’s possible that the name might just be a total coincidence, but this doesn’t seem likely. Audie the wolf’s name is different in other languages; it’s Monika in Japan and a few other countries. This means that the New Horizons English localization team purposely chose the name Audie instead of Monika or Monica, probably to honor one of their most dedicated fans.
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