Why I Prefer the Original Animal Crossing
New Horizons is great, but it doesn’t quite live up to the original
Now that the hype has died down, let’s talk shop: The original Animal Crossing for the GameCube is still greater than AC: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch. Deep down, fans of the original series already knew this was true, even if they didn’t want to admit it.
This isn’t to say that New Horizons isn’t a great game; the graphics are clean, the gameplay is addicting, and there’s enough content to keep you preoccupied for a lifetime.
But something feels off about New Horizons; it’s as if that Animal Crossing magic isn’t there. Maybe you feel the same, maybe you don’t, but here are 3 reasons why the original Animal Crossing is still better than the new one.
1. Mystery And Discovery Are Gone
Animal Crossing’s greatest strength is its secrets.
Hitting a rock with your shovel and watching money fly out; or going to the train station on a Saturday night and finding an indie rocker dog were best if found organically.
Old Animal Crossing rewarded diligent players who sought out discovery in its world. Discovery has now been replaced with shiny cool things to build and put on your island.
In part, discovery is gone because many of the game’s best secrets have been told for years now; and New Horizons doesn’t have many tricks up its sleeves. But it’s also due in part to the internet spoiling anything that gamers would be better off finding on their own.
The internet has become a giant gaming-guide ruining the fun of discovering secrets.
Conversely, New Horizons almost requires players to rely on outside help due to the amount of content loaded into the game. But like I said, mystery and discovery are the series’ greatest strength. Now that many of the secrets are common knowledge, a part of Animal Crossing’s soul is gone.
2. One Town Per Purchase
The original Animal Crossing blew the hats off of young gamers when it made its North American debut in 2002.
Not only could a player have up to four people in their town — Mom, Pops, Sister, Brother — but if they had another memory card, they could have FOUR MORE! That’s right, invite your Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, and Uncle.
Creating another localized town also made the second player feel like they had their space to play around in; they weren’t locked into another person’s world.
If I wanted to name my town “Rice Cake” because I didn’t want to live in my brother’s town of “My Ass” I could do it without buying a new game. Additionally, the other player got their own Nook store, fruit trees, and a different cast of villagers to interact with.
The fact that Nintendo didn’t allow for the creation of a second island baffles me, especially because New Horizons relies heavily on unique island customization.
3. New Horizons Gets Boring Compared to the Original Animal Crossing
Repetitiveness is Animal Crossing’s Achilles heel.
When you finally decide to stop playing the game there is no end credit sequence, no final boss, you simply get bored and decide to move on with your life.
It sounds depressing, but it’s kind of like going a separate way from a good friend. You’d like to be with them longer, but life is dictating that you go in a different direction. Besides, it’s still fun to check on them after a while and see how they changed (or how many roaches are in your house).
I’m not sure if I’m getting old, or if New Horizons just doesn’t have the same magic, but it got boring a lot faster than I expected. I also suspect that the rabid AC community, obsessed with getting a 5-star island, turned me off too.
I don’t know, something felt missing this time around. Maybe the Animal Crossing formula is played out?
Call it nostalgia or biased allegiance, but I’d rather go play the original game and deal with the cockroaches than spend another second researching how many bamboo thickets I need for a 5-star island (it’s 10 by the way).