Animal Crossing

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This article is about the game. For the series, see Animal Crossing (series).
English game logo
North American game cover
Main Theme
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Designer(s) Katsuya Eguchi
Hisashi Nogami
Platform(s) Nintendo GameCube
Release date(s) Japan December 14, 2001
United States of America September 16, 2002
Australia October 17, 2003
Europe September 24, 2004
Genre(s) Simulation
Modes Single player
Ratings ESRB: E (Everyone)
PEGI: 3+
Media GameCube Optical Disc
File size 59 blocks on Memory Card (save data only)
Nintendo GameCube controller
Game Boy Advance (Animal Island only)
Nintendo e-Reader

Guide at StrategyWiki

Animal Crossing[nb 1] is a simulation game for the Nintendo GameCube and the first game in the Animal Crossing series to be released outside of Japan. It was first released in Japan on December 14, 2001 as an expanded port of the Nintendo 64 game Doubutsu no Mori nine months after its release. Known in Japan as Doubutsu no Mori+, the game retailed for 7,140 yen and sold 92,568 copies during its first week of sale. Animal Crossing adds new content and utilizes the Nintendo GameCube's internal clock to keep track of the in-game date and time.[nb 2] The game's newly added content includes an island location where the player can help a lone inhabitant furnish their house, a museum for donating collectables, a tailor where players can create custom designs, and compatibility with the Nintendo e-Reader with a series of cards released specifically for the game.

The game was released in North America in 2002. To prepare the game for release, Nintendo of America embarked on an extensive localization, headed by Nate Bihldorff and Rich Amtower. Their efforts resulted in a substantial increase of in-game text compared to Doubutsu no Mori, and the change of many distinctly-Japanese cultural elements to make them more recognizable to a western audience. Additional content was implemented, such as entirely new holidays, items, and characters. Certain events were also changed to have broader appeal in western regions. This version of the game was also later released in Australia in 2003, and across Europe in 2004.

Animal Crossing was a commercial and critical success, selling more than 2 million copies worldwide and garnering strong reviews from gaming media. The game Animal Crossing became a Player's Choice title about a year after its North American release. Due to the successful localization effort, the game was translated back into Japanese and released in Japan as Doubutsu no Mori e+, which features the western-oriented changes as well as additional content not present in any of the previous versions.

Animal Crossing has been included in many year-end 'best of' lists, featured in several all-time top video game countdowns, and has since received multiple awards and nominations.


A player standing outside of their house

Just as in Doubutsu no Mori, players assume the role of a human setting out for a life of their own in a town of anthropomorphic animals. Each town is randomly generated, ensuring that no two players' experiences are exactly the same. Gameplay within each village is open-ended, allowing players to engage in a variety of activities that suit their playstyle. Players can pick fruit, grow trees, garden, hunt for fossils and fish, catch bugs, do favors for the villagers, or decorate their homes.


Upon arrival to the town, the player is greeted by Tom Nook, a local store owner and freelance builder who provides the player with housing. Nook loans the house to the player, advising them to work for him in order to help pay off the house. After completing several tasks for Nook, he informs the player that they no longer need to work for him and can pay off the loan in their own time. After paying off the loan, Nook allows the player to expand their house in exchange for a new loan. After fully expanding the house and paying back all loans, Nook erects a statue of the player in their honor in front of the Train Station.


Animal Crossing introduces new content that is not present in the original Doubutsu no Mori, including new items, locations, mechanics, characters, and events.

Characters and Locations

The Museum is introduced along with its curator, Blathers, allowing players to donate all of the bugs, fish, fossils, and paintings they collect to be publicly displayed. The Able Sisters tailor shop and its proprietors Mabel and Sable are also introduced, and allow the player to create and display their own custom designs, those of which may be worn by villagers in town.

Punchy and Cheri are introduced as two of the possible villagers that can live in the player's town. 16 island-exclusive villagers can inhabit an island that can be travelled to by speaking with Kapp'n at the dock, albeit only if a Game Boy Advance is connected to the system.

Tortimer is introduced as the mayor of the player's town. He can be found near the Wishing Well during most events, and, if talked to, he will give the player an exclusive item to celebrate the event.


New items of furniture are added into the game, and the player can now add additional stories to their house, gaining a second floor or basement. Furthermore, various bugs and fish not present in the original game are added, and one fish, the Herabuna was removed and replaced with the Brook Trout. The Axe, which was unbreakable in the original game, now breaks if used too often. 11 new NES games are also added, and are now explicitly labelled as the game they emulate, rather than all simply being identified as "famicom". However, two of the new games, The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros., are unobtainable. Also, two games are exclusive to Doubutsu no Mori+, being Gomoku Narabe and Mahjong. Outside of Japan, these were replaced by Soccer and Excitebike.

Stationary is now sold in packs of four, instead of a single page as in the original game. The player can now store up to three items in storage containers. Additionally, music players can now store every aircheck and the player can quickly switch between the songs they own.

e-Reader connectivity

Main article: Nintendo e-Reader

Animal Crossing is the only title for the Nintendo GameCube released outside of Japan to feature support for the Nintendo e-Reader peripheral. By connecting to the e-Reader via a GameCube – Game Boy Advance link cable players can access the island, play NES games, and scan Animal Crossing-e cards to access special items, patterns, and mini-games. Certain NES games can be transferred to the Game Boy Advance to play on the go, and the island can be downloaded to a Game Boy Advance to play after returning to the player's town.

Regional differences

In addition to being an upgraded re-release to the original Dōbutsu no Mori, there are also many differences between the Japanese Dōbutsu no Mori+ and western Animal Crossing.


  • The dial typing system, featured in the original Doubutsu no Mori, is retained in this game, although it is replaced with a virtual QWERTY keyboard in the international versions.
  • The color of the Nintendo logo differs between versions. In Japanese version it is white, while in international version it is red.


  • The Bell Shrine from the original game is changed in the international version to be a Wishing Well.
  • Tom Nook's shop, the Melody Board, and the Dump all have different signage. In the Japanese version the signs feature katakana, but are replaced with English text in the international version.
  • The sign above the Post Office entrance is changed to a window in the international version.
  • Redd's stand during the Fireworks Show has a completely different appearance between versions. In Doubutsu no Mori it's enclosed by red canvas walls on three sides with a sign above the front side of the stall. In the international version it's open on all sides, with a red and white-striped pitched roof and more visible decorations but no signage.
  • Igloos contain woks with bubbling blocks of tofu in the Japanese version, which is changed to a pot of chowder in the international.
  • The orange-roofed player house has a Ragged Wall and Old Board Floor instead of a Wooden Wall and Steel Floor.


  • All of the possible Player face textures have black eyes in the Japanese version. In the international version, the faces are designed to appear more diverse with only a few designs retaining black eyes. This design choice is retained in other Japanese releases up to Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.
  • Farley and Franklin are new characters introduced in the international version that do not exist in the Japanese version.
  • Various existing characters were redesigned in the international version to have a less distinctly-Japanese appearance, which has been kept in all subsequent games in all regions. Japanese version shares the same designs as the original Nintendo 64 game:
    • Tortimer wears glasses with white blue lenses and a red hat in the Japanese version. He also wears a white rope around his chest.
    • Mr. Resetti and Don Resetti simply wear white shirts in the Japanese version, and wear overalls on top of the shirts in the international version. Additionally, Mr. Resetti's mining helmet features a green stripe under the headlight, while Don Resetti's is green with a white stripe.
    • Tom Nook and Redd both have Japanese characters on their aprons. In the international version Tom Nook's apron is instead emblazoned with his logo, and Redd's apron features the letter B. Tom Nook's apron in the Japanese version displays the character ten (), meaning "shop".
    • The uniforms for Tom Nook's uniform in Nook 'n' Go and Nookway were reversed for the international version. His Nook 'n' Go uniform is an apron with a blue and orange color scheme, which is changed to red and green and used for Nookway in the international version. His Nookway uniform is changed to the opposite. This was most likely done to avoid infringing on the color scheme for 7-Eleven, of which the original Nookway uniform resembles.
    • Tom Nook's Lottery uniform in the Japanese version is a red and black Haori with a white Hachimaki tied around his head, while in the international version it is changed to a tricolor apron with a sports visor.
    • Redd's uniform during the Fireworks Show is completely different in both versions. In the Japanese version he wears a red and white Hachimaki with a feather attached, and a deep-blue Haori over his usual apron. In the international version he wears a sports visor and full-length apron with red and white stripes and the letter B emblazoned on it.
    • Chip in the Japanese version has distinctly brown fur, with narrow eyes, glasses and a purple vest. In the international version, Chip's fur was desaturated, his eyes were made wider, his vest was changed to blue with a green trim, and his glasses were removed.
    • Katrina dresses on some occasions in the Japanese version in a traditional Japanese Hakama, with her head fully exposed and a white band on her forehead, as well as sometimes wearing her traditional purple robes. In the international version, Katrina exclusively wears her purple robes.

Altered Character Designs


  • Many of the events found in the Japanese version are changed for or removed from the international version.
  • In the Japanese version, villagers will wear the Summer Robe and Bamboo Robe during the Fireworks Show and during Mushrooming Season. They will also wear the Plum Kimono and Somber Robe during certain other events. In Animal Crossing, all of these clothing items are not used or legitimately obtainable, though they still exist in data.
  • On New Year's Day, the player shakes a pole in the middle of the Bell Shrine to ring the bell. In the international version this is changed to the player tossing a coin in the Wishing Well's fountain.
  • During the Cherry Blossom Festival, villagers will picnic on tatami mats at the Bell Shrine. In the international version, the mats are changed to picnic tables and the villagers dance around the Wishing Well.


  • Several furniture sets are different compared to the international version:
    • The Public Bath Theme is only present in Doubutsu no Mori, this game's Japanese version, and returns in Doubutsu no Mori e+. It is completely removed from the international version, and is also absent from Wild World. It returns in games from City Folk onwards for all regions, but is no longer a theme.
    • The Japanese Theme is only present Doubutsu no Mori, this game's Japanese version and returns in Doubutsu no Mori e+. It returns from Wild World-onwards under a different name for all regions but as a set rather than a theme.
    • The Classroom Theme contains different items to the international version.
    • The Construction Theme contains different items to the international version.
    • The Harvest Series and numerous holiday items are absent as they are exclusive to the international version.
  • There are many differences with the availability of Famicom Disk System (FDS) and Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) games between versions.
    • Japanese version features the FDS games Gomoku Narabe and Majong, while in the international version these games are changed to the NES games Soccer and Excitebike.
    • Ice Climber would be received as a "housewarming gift" after using the service to transfer save data from Doubutsu no Mori to this game's Japanese version. In the international version it can only be acquired through a Animal Crossing-e Series 4 card.
    • Mario Bros. is acquired through a uniquely generated Secret code. In the international version it can only be acquired through a Animal Crossing-e Series 4 card.
    • Japanese version features the FDS version of The Legend of Zelda which is acquired through a uniquely generated Secret code. In the international version this is changed to the NES version, though the game is not legitimately obtainable.
    • Super Mario Bros. was distributed for the Japanese version by Famitsu magazine during a sweepstakes. It is not legitimately obtainable in the international version.
  • Four shirts are unique to the Japanese version, having been redesigned in Animal Crossing:
    • I Love GC Shirt (redesigned as the Cherry Shirt — Worn by Paolo)
    • Three-Arc Shirt (redesigned as the Fortune Shirt — Worn by Rasher)
    • Tomato Juice Shirt (redesigned as the Fish-Bone Shirt — Worn by Tabby)
    • W Shirt (redesigned as the Houndstooth Tee — Worn by Grizzly)
  • The Fortune Paper and New Year's Card Stationery have a different visual appearance in the international version}.


  • Doubutsu no Mori+ is internally considered the same game as Animal Crossing despite the differences. Doubutsu no Mori+ is GAFJ, Animal Crossing is GAFE in the US version, GAFP in the PAL version.
  • Through a now discontinued service, it was possible to transfer data from Doubutsu no Mori to this game's Japanese version. As the international version was the first game in the series to be released in the West, there was no equivalent service for this version of the game.


See also: Animal Crossing/Staff

Due to being released near the end of the Nintendo 64's lifespan, Doubutsu no Mori's sales faltered in comparison to other Nintendo 64 games. As a result of this, the development team decided to port the game to the Nintendo GameCube, which released less than six months after Doubutsu no Mori. Taking advantage of the greater memory capacities of the system, the team included many new features that could not be added to the original game, such as Animal Island, Tortimer, and the Able Sisters. The game was released eight months after the original Doubutsu no Mori.

North American localization

The Nintendo of America localization team began writing game dialog in early 2002, however translation of the game's hundreds of items began months earlier[1]. Unlike the extended localization and development process for recent titles in the series, Animal Crossing was localized in the short span of eight to twelve months. During this time, the team translated 30,000+ files of text[2], worked to develop new items (such as the camping gear) and added support for the Nintendo e-Reader, which was launched just two days after the game's release in North America.

Announcement and release date

On May 16, 2001[3] at Nintendo's pre-E3 press conference, a six-second montage of footage from "Animal Forest" was shown to members of the media as part of a larger reel featuring upcoming Nintendo GameCube titles[4]. The clip did not feature any dialog, however the presence of the Bell Shrine indicates that it was still early in the localization process, if not footage straight from the Japanese version. This was the first time the game was shown in North America, and the first evidence of its English localization.

As early as October 2001[5], Nintendo established a page on their website for Animal Forest noting it was "being optimized for its U.S. debut on the GameCube."[6] A few months later on February 28, 2002 at a Nintendo Roundtable Conference, Shigeru Miyamoto confirmed that localization of Animal Forest was "progressing and moving along quite well" with Satoru Iwata projecting it to be released "sometime in the fall."[7] About a month later on March 30, 2002 the game's name was officially changed to Animal Crossing[8], as reflected on Nintendo's website at the time.

On May 22, 2002 at Nintendo's pre-E3 press conference, an extended video was shown introducing Animal Crossing and highlighting its ability to connect with the e-Reader and Game Boy Advance[9]. Iwata also confirmed the game for September release in North America. Later that day, Animal Crossing made its second E3 appearance, this time as a playable title on the show floor[10]. It was generally overshadowed by high-profile titles, however it still snagged a third place spot on the Game Critic Award's list for Best Original Game of E3 2002[11]. Despite conflicting information on modern gaming websites[12][13], Animal Crossing's North American release date was set for September 16, 2002 as noted on its official sites[14][15] and a press release from Nintendo of America[16]. There were reports, however, that select Blockbuster Video locations had received and began renting advance copies of the game as early as September 6th[17].

This article or section requires further research about global logistics and game studies.
You can help by investigating this topic and editing this article to include more information. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page.
Further Details: Discrepancies in NA release date need resolution, research into release date(s) in South American countries is needed. Starting point: Research South American distribution by Latamel Inc.
This article or section requires further research about global logistics and game studies.
You can help by investigating this topic and editing this article to include more information. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page.
Further Details: Discrepancies in NA release date need resolution, research into release date(s) in South American countries is needed. Starting point: Research South American distribution by Latamel Inc.


Animal Crossing Pioneers

On August 7, 2002 Nintendo of America announced a contest whereby 125 teams of two would be selected to receive advance promotional copies of Animal Crossing[18]. The submission deadline for the contest was August 12th. To be considered for selection, applicants had to submit a written response of 50 words or less explaining why they should be chosen as Pioneers. Those selected received a special Animal Crossing disc marked "for promotional use only", along with a 59 block Memory Card and a promotional Animal Crossing calendar. Pioneers received the game a month early and were expected to help Nintendo generate online buzz in advance of the title's release. Pioneers were also given exclusive access to their own web forum[19] where they could discuss amongst themselves as well as provide feedback to Nintendo representatives. At the end of the experience, the Pioneers were invited to an online chat with a few of the members of the game's localization team[20]. An analysis of the standard and promotional game disc concluded that the two were byte identical[21], meaning that no changes were made to the final version as a result of Pioneer feedback. The promotional copy and calendar have since become collector's items, selling for over $500 together on eBay as of March, 2014[22].


On August 30, 2002 Nintendo of America initiated the Animal Crossing "Deck Out Your Room" Sweepstakes. One grand prize winner received a TV, headphones, and CD player from Panasonic, a Nintendo GameCube, a Game Boy Advance, five GameCube games, five Game Boy Advance Games, two WaveBird controllers, and a one-year subscription to Nintendo Power. Five first prize winners received a Nintendo GameCube, a copy of Animal Crossing, and a one-year subscription to Nintendo Power[23]. The sweepstakes ended on October 15, 2002[24]. Those who registered for the sweepstakes received an Animal Crossing screensaver[25].


Animal Crossing was met with mostly positive reviews from critics, with many praising its charming, unique gameplay and long life span. e-Reader connectivity was seen as a welcome addition, although some criticized its outdated graphics and felt that it did not offer much of a single-player experience. Animal Crossing was included in many year-end 'best of' lists upon its release in 2002. It has also been featured in several all-time top video game countdowns, and has received multiple awards and nominations. Review aggregator Metacritic notes a Metascore of 87/100 for Animal Crossing[26], which places it just behind Animal Crossing: New Leaf's score of 88.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Result
2002 Game Critic Award Best Original Game of E3[27] Nominated
GameSpot's Best and Worst of 2002 Game of the Year[28] Nominated
Best Role-Playing Game on GameCube[29] Won
Most Innovative Game[30] Won
Funniest Game (Purposefully) [31] Nominated
GameSpy's Best of 2002 GameCube Game of the Year[32] Nominated
2003 The Game Developers Choice Awards Innovation Award[33] Won
Interactive Achievement Awards Innovation in Console Gaming[34] Won
Outstanding Achievement in Game Design Won
Console Role-Playing Game of the Year Won
Console Game of the Year Nominated
Game of the Year Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Gameplay Engineering Nominated

Top lists

Year Source List Placement
2003 Entertainment Weekly The 100 Greatest Videogames[35] 72
2006 Electronic Gaming Monthly The Greatest 200 Videogames of Their Time[36] 126
Nintendo Power Nintendo Power's Top 200 Games[37] 51
X-Play 10 Best GameCube Games Ever[38] 7
2007 Edge Top 100 Games of All Time [39] 49
ScrewAttack! Top 10 GameCube Games[40] 5
2008 Nintendo Power Best of the Best - Nintendo GameCube (Top 20) [41] 19
2012 TIME All-TIME 100 greatest video games[42] -


Names in other languages

Japanese どうぶつの森+
Dōbutsu no Mori+
Animal Forest+

Population: Growing!

German Willkommen bei Animal Crossing: Einwohner steigend! Welcome to Animal Crossing: Population Growing!

European Spanish Bienvenido a Animal Crossing: Población: ¡en aumento! Welcome to Animal Crossing: Population: in growth!

European French Bienvenue dans Animal Crossing: Population : croissante ! Welcome to Animal Crossing: Population: growing!

Italian Benvenuti ad Animal Crossing: Popolazione in aumento! Welcome to Animal Crossing: Population in growth!

External links


  1. Japanese: どうぶつの森+ Hepburn: Dōbutsu no Mori+Animal Forest+
  2. In Doubutsu no Mori, time only passes when the game is being played, but with the use of the GameCube's internal clock, time passes continuously.