- Games 2001-2004 -

- Animal Crossing: Population Growing -

Okay, the first official game that was released in the united states was called Animal Crossing: Population Growing, which was released on September 15, 2001 on the gamecube. Many refer to this version as the “first”, and theyre technically right. It first released in japan on the n64 earlier in 2001 by the name Dobutsu no Mori, and then the gamecube version later in 2003. They all have different names, but similar gameplay. Of course, theres going to be some regional differences and also a difference between consoles.
Ive never played this game, but i do know that the dialogue and personalities of the npcs were way wilder than the more recent installments. There are plenty of screenshots out there of the villagers insulting, belittling, and being pretty rude to the player. The game itself got overwhelmingly positive reviews however, scoring an 86% favorability out of 72 reviews on GameRankings.

- Animal Crossing: Wild World -

Anywho, the next game in the franchise was Animal Crossing: Wild World, released in Japan in November 2005 for the DS. It was later released in the US and Australia in December 2005, and in Europe in March 2006. This game is one of my favorites. The art style (or animation??) that it used, as well as the new gameplay was really interesting to me. Plus, I love the compact design of the DS.
It seems like this was just Population: Growing for the DS, but there were a lot of new things added for this version. First, because of the different format, the player can now see the sky from a normal angle. This is a small thing, but because of the limits of the Gamecube, it was positioned from a birds-eye view down at the player, not level with the ground. Because of this perspective change, the 3d model of the village is in a sort of log-shape so that it rolls with the player as they run.

The only setbacks of this game is that because of localization “fixes”, holidays like Halloween, Christmas, and the cherry blossom festival aren't celebrated in the game. I think it's really sad honestly, because holidays are like the most important things that happen in Animal Crossing. They're kind of a way to get new items, and different interactions with your villagers. That's the whole playability, is the interactions you get with other people. Along with holidays, all the animals that you can catch aren't region-specific either, although I don't think that's the case for a lot of games. Anyway, it did introduce several other features that were not in the first game, like a wi-fi connection! You could connect over the internet using a friend code to invite people to your village for the first time! The way multiplayer is used varies for different games, but for Wild World there's a gate at the front of town and a guard there that asks for a code. The guard, Copper, was also in Population: Growing, and shows up for later games. However, he's not in New Horizons. In fact, a lot of npcs didn't make the cut for New Horizons, but I'll get to that later. Again, I really love Wild World, and hopefully one day I'll get the chance to play it.