Animal Crossing and I have a strange and complicated relationship. Whenever a new game in the series is released, I become completely immersed in the game’s world, neglecting my real life in the process. Screw working, and forget about eating; I’ve got villagers to impress and a mortgage to pay off.
Since I’m not particularly interested in starving to death, I eventually wind up taking an Animal Crossing break. Unfortunately, once I leave a village, I can’t bring myself to go back. I hate seeing my once-beautiful town covered in weeds, or that my favorite villagers have moved away. I want to remember my town at its best, which means I have to put Animal Crossing down for good.
But when I’m struck by the Animal Crossing itch, I’m left with no way to scratch it. Sure, I could delete my save file and start fresh, but erasing an imaginary world is more than my sentimental heart can bear.
Because I won’t allow myself to play the older games in the series, I’ve been fantasizing about new ones instead. And, because I’m currently obsessed with Nintendo’s amiibo figures, most of these fantasies involve amiibo functionality.
Nintendo’s already talking about ways to use amiibo in an Animal Crossing title, which means they have plenty of time to think up something creative. The figures might just unlock character-themed costumes or furniture — it’s what they did in Mario Kart 8 — but I think the game’s amiibo functionality could be a little more exciting than just that. In fact, I have a few ideas Nintendo could steal.
An Animal Crossing town is only as good as its residents, and a town full of amiibo villagers would be hard to resist. While this could quickly lead to overcrowding, there are a number of easy workarounds to that problem.
Amiibo villagers could appear at the campsite, and could be invited to move into a town if the player has enough room. Instead of moving into their own house, amiibo characters could live together in Tomodachi Life-style apartment. Even if I can’t live next door to my beloved Donkey Kong amiibo, I’d love to make him a part of my game.
Instead of moving into your town, an amiibo figure could allow you to visit their town. Zelda and Link would allow you to travel to Hyrule, while Pikachu would let you take a trip to Pallet Town. These towns would initially look like your standard Animal Crossing village, but further exploration would reveal a few secrets.
In Fire Emblem town, you might be greeted by Anna when you step into the general store. In a Donkey Kong town, there’d be bananas as far as the eye could see. When you visit Pit’s town, you could buy yourself a pair of wings, and in Mario’s town, you could pick a few Fire Flowers. Animal Crossing loses something when you don’t have new towns to visit, and amiibo towns would ensure that you’d always have places to explore.
In the original Animal Crossing, players that were lucky enough to find a cartridge could emulate classic NES games. If you weren’t in the mood to shake trees, you could hole up in your house with Wario’s Woods or Excitebike instead. Unfortunately, Nintendo removed this feature from later games, telling players they could enjoy their old favorites through Virtual Console.
While Nintendo probably doesn’t want to say goodbye to that sweet Virtual Console money, amiibo emulation would allow them restore this feature while still turning a profit. Each figure could unlock a game system and cartridge, which would allow players to enjoy games within their game.
Characters from third-party games or more recent titles would make this a little tricky, but the game wouldn’t necessarily have to feature the amiibo in question. Shulk might unlock an SNES RPG, while Rosalina could unlock a lesser-known Mario title. In the end, I don’t care which games I get to play; I just want my cartridges back.
Barring the apocalypse or a Sonic Boom-esque reboot, I’ll be playing the new Animal Crossing no matter what. However, amiibo functionality might keep me playing a little longer. No matter how hard I try, I’ve never been able to kick my town-abandoning habit. Amiibo compatibility might help me finally break the cycle.