My New Leaf addiction is getting worrying.
For a while there, until I had to change it due to Window’s daft security refresher policies, the password for my work computer contained the phrase ‘Hamphrey’.
I was inspired to make it my password after remembering the one that Dan uses at work in Microserfs – hellojed – in memory of his late brother.
Hamphrey didn’t die, he just left town. That’s what I tell myself every time I type it in. I was so attached to that little guy, but we grew apart.
Because I didn’t play Animal Crossing: New Leaf for a few days, and didn’t realise that people would move away if I didn’t check in to say hello to my fellow residents every day between fishing and catching insects.
And because I’ve had my 3DS for five months but only bought one game, I do visit Bishtown every day in case one of my other lovely townsfolk decides to pack their bags, so I can talk them out of leaving their digital existence.
I’m not that deluded; I’m aware that the people who populate Bishtown are merely collections of pixels and noise – and animals at that – but each of them is happy to me see whenever I come to town, and it’s such a nice feeling that I help these people get shit done. I love sending Peanut a new shirt in the post because she’s so style-conscious, and I love helping Roald get some much-needed fuel for exercise by fetching him a pear.
True enough, there are quite a few things I don’t like about the game – one of the townsfolk has been acting like a real bitch lately, spreading nasty rumours about me being a hoarder. Oh, and then there’s the whole dreary grind of collecting and selling to fund my nasty building habit, as well as the completely arbitrary and repetitive conversations.
It does all get a bit dull sometimes, but that’s down to two main things: the amount I’ve been playing it lately, and the fact that even the best stuff starts to grate after a while; I got the first four seasons of new favourite sitcom Modern Family on DVD for Christmas but I can’t imagine spending entire evenings getting through it.
But as a source of wholesome, diverting entertainment and adorable in its simple gameplay but complex mechanics, I don’t think I’ve ever played anything like it.
Yes, it gets tedious, but most things do. You learn to put up with the things you love.
Most of all, I miss Hamphrey, and typing his name every day made me think how much I love that bloody game, and can’t wait to get home and play.
If you’ve never played New Leaf, and like the idea of a game that’s as gentle and cute as it is fun and wholesome, you’ll love it.