Animal Crossing (series)

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This article is about the series. For the game of the same name, see Animal Crossing.

The Animal Crossing[nb 1] video game series is a series of communication adventure games exclusively for Nintendo consoles. The game progresses in real time in a nonlinear format. All of the games are rated 'E' for Everyone by the ESRB and 3+ by PEGI. The player takes the role of a human in a village of animals and may take on tasks from villagers, pay off their mortgage, garden, fish, catch insects, and more.



As an open-ended life simulation game, the Animal Crossing series does not have a set objective. As such, after an introductory sequence at the beginning of the games, players are free to do as they like. The only 'objective' in the game, if any, is to pay off the mortgage placed upon the player's house—but, like most activities within the game, this is entirely optional and does not incur any consequences, other than having less space to store items.


Main article: Villager

In every town in the Animal Crossing series, the village itself is populated entirely by animals (excluding the player, who is the only human shown in the entire series). Villagers are anthropomorphic, and as such, are able to speak, walk in a humanoid manner, use tools, and wear clothes. They serve as interactive characters who are assigned personalities and traits, and this affects the way they communicate with you and among themselves. Villagers are capable of conversation, have unique interests and catchphrases, and live in their own domains within the town.

Villagers will often ask the player to perform tasks for them (ranging from delivering presents to sending messages to another human player). Players can incur a reward if tasks are executed in the set time. In later games, they are also capable of playing games with the player, such as hide-and-seek. Villagers move in and out of the town regularly due to certain factors (e.g. because the player has exchanged animals with another village over Wi-Fi), or simply because they are not satisfied with their current life). It is said that they enjoy receiving letters, and if sent a gift, they will usually send one in return.


Although earlier games offered few options in terms of customization, more recent games feature the ability to not only customize appearance, but also wallpapers, carpets and furniture in their home, as well as the home's exterior. It is also possible to decorate the ground outdoors with designs.


Despite being an open-ended game, Animal Crossing does provide some activities to pass the time and help "complete" certain aspects of the gameplay (such as completing exhibits within the museum). Some of these activities include bug-catching, fishing, fossil-hunting, and even item-collecting (the latter an objective to complete the player's catalog). Players can also interact in games of hide-and-seek with villagers, participate in festivals and town events, and generally do as they like within the game.


Mainline series[edit]

Boxart English title Japanese title Platform Release date(s) Notes
Doubutsu no Mori どうぶつの森
Dōbutsu no Mori

lit. Animal Forest
Nintendo 64
iQue Player
Nintendo 64:

  April 14, 2001
iQue Player:
  June 1, 2006[1]

The first game in the series, released on the Nintendo 64 exclusively in Japan. The game was later released in China for the iQue Player.
Animal Crossing どうぶつの森+
Dōbutsu no Mori+

lit. Animal Forest+
Nintendo GameCube   December 14, 2001

  September 16, 2002
  October 17, 2003
  September 24, 2004

Released in Japan as a Nintendo GameCube port of the original game. The port was localized internationally as Animal Crossing, the first game to be released in the west, with numerous aesthetic and gameplay changes and added regional events.
Doubutsu no Mori e+ どうぶつの森e+
Dōbutsu no Mori e+

lit. Animal Forest e+
Nintendo GameCube   June 27, 2003 Japanese version of localized Animal Crossing with additional changes and updates, including new villagers and enhanced e-Reader support. Released exclusively in Japan.
Animal Crossing:
Wild World
Oideyo Dōbutsu no Mori

lit. Animal Forest: Come Here
Nintendo DS
Virtual Console
  November 23, 2005

  December 5, 2005
  December 8, 2005
  March 31, 2006
  December 6, 2007

First game released on a handheld console, first to be released worldwide, first to feature online multiplayer (via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection)
Animal Crossing:
City Folk
Machi e ikouyo: Dōbutsu no Mori

lit. Let's Go to the City: Animal Forest
Wii   November 16, 2008

  November 17, 2008
  December 4, 2008
  December 5, 2008
  January 28, 2010

Some copies of the game were bundled with Wii Speak.
Animal Crossing:
New Leaf
Tobidase Dōbutsu no Mori

lit. Jump Out Animal Forest
Nintendo 3DS   November 8, 2012

  February 8, 2013
  June 9, 2013
  June 14, 2013
  June 15, 2013

First game to utilise stereoscopic 3D visuals. The first player to move to town takes on the role of mayor.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf Welcome amiibo とびだせ どうぶつの森 amiibo+
Tobidase Dōbutsu no Mori amiibo+

lit. Jump Out Animal Forest amiibo+
Nintendo 3DS   November 23, 2016

  November 24, 2016
  November 25, 2016
  December 1, 2016
  December 8, 2016

Expansion pack for New Leaf, adding new villagers, furniture, areas and amiibo functionality. Also released as a standalone updated version of the game.
Animal Crossing:
New Horizons
あつまれ どうぶつの森
Atsumare Dōbutsu no Mori

lit. Animal Forest: Gather
Nintendo Switch   March 20, 2020
First main Animal Crossing series game to be in high-definition. The player lives on a deserted island.

Spin-off titles[edit]

Boxart English title Japanese title Platform Release date(s) Notes
Animal Crossing:
Happy Home Designer
Dōbutsu no Mori: Happī Hōmu Dezainā
Nintendo 3DS   July 30, 2015

  September 25, 2015
  October 2, 2015
  October 3, 2015

Based on New Leaf, this spin-off focuses on designing homes and gardens. First game in the series to use Amiibo.
Animal Crossing:
amiibo Festival
Dōbutsu no Mori: amiibo Fesutibaru
Wii U   November 13, 2015

  November 20, 2015
  November 21, 2015
  November 21, 2015

A multiplayer party game that utilises amiibo.
Animal Crossing:
Pocket Camp
どうぶつの森 ポケットキャンプ
Dōbutsu no Mori: Poketo Kyanpu
  October 25, 2017 (Beta)

  November 21, 2017
  November 21, 2017
  November 21, 2017

First game to be released on mobile devices. Receives regular content updates.


External links[edit]


  1. Japanese: どうぶつの森 Hepburn: Dōbutsu no MoriAnimal Forest


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