Animal Crossing (GCN)

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Animal Crossing.jpg
Developer(s) Nintendo EAD
Publisher(s) Nintendo
Distributor(s) Nintendo
Platform(s) Nintendo GameCube
Engine Doubutsu no Mori
Release date(s) JPDecember 14, 2001
NA September 15, 2002
AUS October 17, 2003
EU September 24, 2004
Genre(s) Life Simulation
Modes Single player
Media GameCube Optical Disc
Input methods GameCube controller
Game Boy Advance
Nintendo e-Reader
NIWA Strategy.png Guide/Walkthrough at StrategyWiki

Animal Crossing (Japanese: どうぶつの森+, Dōbutsu no Mori+, lit. Animal Forest+), sometimes subtitled Population Growing, is an updated version of Doubutsu no Mori for the Nintendo 64, released for the Nintendo GameCube in Japan on December 14, 2001, just nine months after the original title, and localized for western regions in 2002. This version contains extra features that had to be left out of the Nintendo 64 version, and also utilizes the GameCube's built-in clock to keep track of the date and time while dropping the Nintendo 64's original system that utilized an internal clock built into the game cartridge. With the use of the GameCube's clock, time passes in the game even when the game is not being played. This led to the game's slogan, "It's playing, even when you're not".

During the game's localization process overseas as Animal Crossing, there were many changes that not only involved immense translation from Japanese to English, but also replacements of many cultural references as well as brand new content, including new holidays, new items and new or altered events to appeal more to western audiances. Due to its popularity, Animal Crossing became a Player's Choice title about a year after its North American release. The game was so commercially successful that it was ported back into Japanese with a few additional features and released as Doubutsu no Mori e+. Animal Crossing was also well-received by critics, and was included in many year-end 'best of' lists upon its release. It has also been featured in several all-time top video game countdowns, and has received multiple awards and nominations.


Animal Crossing introduced numerous additions not present in the original Doubutsu no Mori, including new items, new mechanics, and other things.

Characters and Locations

Animal Crossing adds numerous characters and villagers into the game. For instance, the player can now travel to an island by speaking with Kapp'n at the beach, though only if a Game Boy Advance is connected to the system. Additionally, the Museum is added, allowing players to gather all of the bugs, fish, fossils, and paintings they collect to be on display for the public. The Able Sisters is also included, which allows the player to create their own custom designs.


Various new furniture is added into the game, and the player can now gain additional upgrades for their house, gaining a second floor or basement. Furthermore, various bugs and fish not present in the original game are added, and the Axe, which was unbreakable in the original game, now breaks if used too often. More NES games are also added, and are explicitly labeled by the game they emulate, rather than simply being called "famicom".

Tortimer, the mayor of the Player's town, is included, who will give the player an item to celebrate any holiday in which he appears.

Stationary is also sold in packs of four, instead of one page in the original game, and the player can store more than one item in storage containers. Additionally, the player can now insert multiple airchecks into the same music player.

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 Nintendo GameCube Game Boy Advance Cable players can access the island, play NES games, and scan Animal Crossing-e cards to access special items, patterns, and mini-games.

North American localization

Animal Crossing introduced the concept of region-exclusive holidays and special events that would later become a series staple.

The Japanese release (Doubutsu no Mori +) features many culturally specific items and events that cater to a Japanese audience which Nintendo altered or removed in order to make the gameplay more appealing to Western players. Some examples include the transformation of the Bell Shrine into the Wishing Well and the removal of the spa items, which are typical of Japanese onsen. In an effort to preserve the game's unique real-world character, events were introduced that would be familiar to North American players, such as Groundhog's Day and Thanksgiving.

The NOA 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 Doubutsu no Mori+. This was the first time the game was shown in North America, and the first evidence of its English localization.

As early as October of 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].

Eh wot! This article or section needs attention from an expert in global logistics and game studies for Animal Crossing.
The specific problem is: 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.

Website and promotion

Main article: Crossing Guardian

In early September 2002 the official North American Animal Crossing website, the Crossing Guardian, went live. It mimicked a real-life newspaper and featured articles on different aspects of the game, sometimes written from the perspective of in-game characters. The site was also used to distribute secret codes for exclusive NES games as well as items from the Mario Theme.

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 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].

Commercials and trailer

Nintendo of America began its advertising campaign in early September, 2002 with the release of four live-action commercials featuring players living in an Animal Crossing world[26]. These commercials along with a trailer for the game appeared on a Preview DVD for the Nintendo GameCube that was distributed by retailers (both in North America and internationally[27]) in late 2002 and may have also been an insert in Nintendo Power magazine[28]. Video trailers for the game were also included on Interactive Multi-Game Demo Disc Versions 5[29] and 7[30], released in July and September of 2002, respectively. These game discs were sent to retailers for use in Nintendo GameCube demo kiosks.

Pricing and sales

Animal Crossing shipped with a $49.95 MSRP in North America[31]. In a press release from Nintendo of America dated October 28, 2002 the game was reported to have sold over 100,000 copies in its first four weeks of sale[32], ranking eighth in video game sales for the month of September[33]. Animal Crossing would fall off the charts the next month and would not reappear near the top of an industry-wide cumulative sales chart (monthly or otherwise) for the remainder of its life cycle, however it would remain a popular title in terms of GameCube software sales. In December of 2002, it sold over 130,000 copies[34], not far behind Super Mario Sunshine, which was released a few weeks before Animal Crossing. By October of 2004 Animal Crossing had sold upwards of 760,000 copies, making it the 11th best selling title on the system at the time[35]. On September 25th, 2003 just over a year after its initial release, Animal Crossing became a Player's Choice title, with a new MSRP of $29.99[36]. All-time sales figures place Animal Crossing as the sixth best-selling GameCube game with somewhere between 1.68[37] and 1.92[38] million units sold, just ahead of the critically acclaimed Metroid Prime. Comparing it to the Pikmin series, another new Nintendo IP debuting on the GameCube, Animal Crossing sold more than both Pikmin titles combined—a considerable feat considering the original Pikmin had been available since the console's launch.

Regional Differences

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

General Changes

  • Doubutsu no Mori+ almost has the same game code as Animal Crossing. Doubutsu no Mori+ is GAFJ, Animal Crossing is GAFE in the US version, GAFP in the PAL version.
  • The dial typing system, featured in the original Doubutsu no Mori, is retained in Doubutsu no Mori+.
  • The player is able to transfer data from Doubutsu no Mori into the Japanese version. This is removed in Animal Crossing due to the fact that Doubutsu no Mori was not released outside of Japan.

Event Changes

  • Different events are featured in the games compared to Animal Crossing. Seven Spring Herbs Day, Coming of Age Day, Bean Throwing Festival, White Day, Festival of the Weaver, Summer Day, Winter Day are exclusive to the Japanese games. Groundhog Day, Valentine's Day, April Fool's Day, Nature Day, Spring Cleaning, Founder's Day, Hometown Day, Explorer's Day, the Harvest Festival, and Sale Day are all exclusive to Animal Crossing.
  • 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 unused.
  • On New Year's Day, instead of tossing a coin in the fountain, the player shakes the pole in the middle of the Bell Shrine to ring the bell.
  • During the Cherry Blossom Festival, villagers will picnic on tatami mats at the Bell Shrine. In Animal Crossing, they simply dance around the Wishing Well.

Item Changes

  • Doubutsu no Mori+ features the Famicom games Gomoku Narabe and Majong, while Animal Crossing and Doubutsu no Mori e+ feature the NES games Soccer and Exitebike. In addition, Doubutsu no Mori+ features the Famicom Disk System version of Legend of Zelda. Animal Crossing and Doubutsu no Mori e+ feature the English NES version. And you can obtain the Forbidden Four NES games normally in the game. In Animal Crossing you need a cheating device.
  • The Ragged Wall and Old Board Floor, and Public Bath Wall and Bathroom Floor are absent from Animal Crossing.
  • The Zen and Public Bath furniture themes are absent from Animal Crossing, though they appear in all later games.
  • The W Shirt and the Tomato Juice Shirt are exclusive to Doubutsu no Mori and Doubutsu no Mori+.
  • The New Year's Card and the Fortune Paper were redesigned for Animal Crossing.

Area Changes

  • Doubutsu no Mori+ features a Bell shrine in place of the Wishing Well.
  • Tom Nook's shop, the Post Office, and the Dump have different signage containing katakana.
  • Igloos contain woks with bubbling blocks of tofu, as opposed to the pot of chowder seen in Animal Crossing.

Design Changes

  • All Player designs have black eyes in Doubutsu no Mori+. In Animal Crossing, only a few designs retain black eyes, possibly to add diversity. This trait is retained in other Japanese releases up to Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp.
  • Tortimer wears glasses with white blue lenses and a red hat in Doubutsu no Mori+.
  • Mr. Resetti and Don Resetti simply wear white shirts in Doubutsu no Mori+, and wear overalls on top of the shirts in Animal Crossing. 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 default (For Tom Nook) uniforms instead of their respective logos. Tom Nook's displays the character ten (), meaning "shop", while Redd's is currently unknown.
    • On a side note, Tom Nook's Uniform from Nook 'n' Go has green and red stripes in Doubutsu no Mori+, as opposed to blue and orange stripes in Animal Crossing. This also applies to his Nookway uniform, but in the other way around. Additionally, his Lottery uniform has him wear a red and black vest with a white rope tied around his head, as opposed to a tricolor apron with a sports visor.
  • Chip has lighter fur, gray-rimmed glasses, and squinted eyes in Doubutsu no Mori+.
  • Katrina dresses in a traditional Japanese Hakama, with her head fully exposed and wearing a white band on her forehead in Doubutsu no Mori+, in addition to her traditional gypsy robes. In Animal Crossing, Katrina dresses exclusively in Gypsy robes.
  • Amelia's pupils are much smaller and centered, and her eyes are half closed instead of scowling.
  • Bangle has slightly smaller eyes that are half closed. She also possesses blue eyelids.
  • Bluebear's pupils are much larger, and her muzzle is more circular.
  • Boris has more compressed eyes with yellow eyelids, while his pupils are more displaced.
  • Cleo has orange blush under her eyes, which are more narrowly spaced. Her nostrils are also much larger.
  • Chevre's eyes are more square shaped instead of rounded, and her freckles are orange instead of pink. Her hair is also different.
  • Cupcake's hair and eyeshadow colors are inverted. Her hair is a blueish purple, and her eye shadow is dark pink. Her nose is also much larger.
  • Fang's fur is slightly lighter, while his eyes are much larger and positioned further upward. He also has brown eyelids as opposed to purple.
  • Friga has a darker pink tone in her skin, smaller eyes, orange makeup, and purple hair.
  • Huggy's fur is orange instead of tan, while her nose is a much darker brown. Her cheeks are also colored pink instead of red.
  • Jane has white fur, brown skin, tired eyes, and large pink lips. This is changed to purple fur, pink skin and different lip and eye designs in later games to avoid racial connotations.
  • Kody's eyes are further spaced and much smaller, and his mouth is larger.
  • Lucy has a larger mouth that is colored pink, and has pink lines under her eyes in place of blush.
  • Murphy's eyes and eyebrows are more curved, and his mouth is more compressed, giving him a more menacing look.
  • Nibbles has green fur instead of teal, and has blush instead of freckles.
  • Portia's eyes are shorter and positioned lower on her face.
  • Static's eyes are larger, and his pupils are much larger. His frown is also much more curved.
  • Stella has hot pink wool instead of purple, a pink face, and a nose
  • Ursala has darker hair, with thick slanted eyebrows. Her muzzle is smaller and cream colored, and her eyes are almond-shaped.
  • Valise has lighter, purplish fur.
  • Vladimir has smaller pupils and lacks a muzzle. His nose and mouth are also much bigger.
  • The Nintendo logo color changes. In Animal Crossing it was red, in Doubutsu no Mori+ it was white, and Doubutsu no Mori has the Nintendo 64 logo.


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, however 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[39], 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[40] Nominated
GameSpot's Best and Worst of 2002 Game of the Year[41] Nominated
Best Role-Playing Game on GameCube[42] Won
Most Innovative Game[43] Won
Funniest Game (Purposefully) [44] Nominated
GameSpy's Best of 2002 GameCube Game of the Year[45] Nominated
2003 The Game Developers Choice Awards Innovation Award[46] Won
Interactive Achievement Awards Innovation in Console Gaming[47] 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[48] 72
2006 Electronic Gaming Monthly The Greatest 200 Videogames of Their Time[49] 126
Nintendo Power Nintendo Power's Top 200 Games[50] 51
X-Play 10 Best GameCube Games Ever[51] 7
2007 Edge Top 100 Games of All Time [52] 49
ScrewAttack! Top 10 GameCube Games[53] 5
2008 Nintendo Power Best of the Best - Nintendo GameCube (Top 20) [54] 19
2012 TIME All-TIME 100 greatest video games[55] -


For this subject's image gallery, see Animal Crossing (GCN)/Gallery.


External links



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