Whatever your reason for playing video games may be, I’m sure we can all agree that they are a great escape from everyday life. After a hard day at work, sitting down and escaping into some magical world can be a great way to unwind. After all, who doesn’t want to be a ninja? Or a cyber commando? Or a badass wizard, even if it is just for a little while? Strange then that my (and many other people’s) most recent gaming addiction has none of that. I am, of course, talking about Animal Crossing: New Leaf. It’s a game that largely boils down to you doing whatever you can for money to pay off your mortgage and buy cool decorations for your house. I get a lot of my entertainment from the medium of gaming, a medium that has near limitless possibilities. So why am I still playing a game that just lets me do stuff I can do in real life? Why the hell am I still playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf?
I don’t quite understand why this game is so addicting. I quite literally do the exact same thing everyday. Wake up, go shake every tree in town and collect whatever drops, dig whenever I see a spot to dig and talk to folks as I pass them. Then, I go to Re-Tail and sell all the useless crap I found. Now it is time to go take my fossils to the museum to see what they’re worth. This will then be followed by the most exciting part of my day, which is opening fortune cookies to see what Nintendo items I am lucky enough to get. Then, after I make my daily mortgage payment, I am free to spend the rest of the day going to the island to collect fish and bugs to sell. Eventually, I go to sleep and the whole thing restarts the next day … What am I doing with my life?
It could be argued that all video games are a waste of time, but games like this (you’re not off the hook, either, Sims) are by far the worst. I’ll even go as far as to say they are even worse than MMORPGs. At least if you play World of WarCraft for 8 hours a day for a couple months you were at least pretending to be a badass wizard or knight or something.
This is far better than catching virtual fish, getting virtual money and working on your virtual house. I believe this simply because I will never be a badass wizard, so at least when I am dumping endless hours into WoW I am pretending to do something that I can’t really do. When I lose those same endless hours to Animal Crossing, I am for the most part doing things that I could be doing in real life.
Not just things I could be doing in real life, but some things I probably should be doing in real life. My house would be spotless if I spent as much time working on it as I did my little virtual house. If I took all the time I spent in the pursuit of bells and got a part-time job (even a crappy one), I would have enough money for a Xbox One and a PlayStation 4.
I still have a lot of fun with Animal Crossing, but I need to cut back. There is just so much other stuff I need to do. I’m going to start playing just long enough to do the things that reset everyday. The rest of my time needs to go to useful things. Like improving real life and playing different games.