I'm so excited for Animal Crossing: New Leaf on 3DS that when new footage of the game rolled during the latest Nintendo Direct, I was quite literally jumping around in my seat.
My love for the series knows no bounds. To me, Animal Crossing is Nintendo's greatest active series, a timeless blend of sun-kissed relaxation, hanging out with friends, and hardcore collectathon.
So I thought I'd compile a list of the ten big things you need to know about New Leaf. The sort of stuff any self-respecting Animal Crossing fan should be aware of. Some of it might be obvious, some of it's intriguing, and some is downright shocking.
Be a dapper Dan
You've always been able to pick out a new top, brolly and hat in Animal Crossing, but now you'll be able to choose a pair of trousers and shoes that take your fancy too.
This aspect will add even further customisation and personality to a series that's already brimming with choice.
Share your creations
In New Leaf, you'll be able to generate QR codes for your latest designs, and send them to your friends.
Made a neat little homage to Kirby you want to pass round? Have a particularly striking Gingham design gathering dust? Drawn a giant willy and feel like sharing it with pals?
The little barcode-like invention will enable you to do just that.
Go for a swim
If you're a die-hard fan of the series like me, then this will have you leaping for joy – you can now take a dip in the perennially blue waters.
Who knows what extra adventures lay out there, beyond the sea, somewhere, waiting for you and me?
You're in charge
For the first time in the series, you're made mayor of your little town.
That means that you can do things like set the times of shops opening, so whether you tend to play morning, noon or night, you should always be able to get that last piece of the Nintendo furniture set from Nookways.
... but if you're in charge...
... that means that Tortimer may be taking a back seat to the action. Tortimer of course is traditionally the man with the (town) plan in Animal Crossing, and a regular member of the gigantic cast of characters.
But with you in the driving seat, what role will he play? Like so many other features of New Leaf, that's currently a mystery.
Well, since you're in charge...
If you've ever yearned to make a major impact on the look of the town outside of your humble abode, then one feature that's back is the ability to tinker with benches and lamps across the entire landscape.
Not since Dobutsu no Mori e+* has this been so widely available (you could add a wishing well to the town square in a few releases, of course), and we can't wait to see it in action.
*Now do you believe me when I told you I'm a massive Animal Crossing nerd?
Three dimensions are better than two
So this one's a no-brainer, being on the 3DS and all, but the addition of 3D should affect more than just the presentation.
In Japan, the game is roughly translated as Animal Forest: Jump Out, an allusion to the world jumping out of the screen, so it's clear that Nintendo has a few surprises up its sleeve in this aspect.
Not lost in translation
There's a character in the game called Shizu, and she's been seen following your character about in some presentations. Shizu is a play on the word Shih Tzu – you know, those tiny dogs that incessantly trail along behind their owners.
You're the Mayor, and in that context, who would likely follow you around all day? A personal secretary of course, so it looks like you'll be able to call on Shizu to get stuff done quickly around town.
Everything you expect
From the footage that's dripped out slowly since the 3DS launch, it seems like business as usual for a series that evolves on its ideas, rather than revolutionises.
It's a double-edged blade of course, nothing massively ground breaking has been seen, but most fans will simply be after more of the same. Much more, by the looks of things.
Dog is a DJ
A more controversial musical direction decision than Bob Dylan in 1965, K.K. Slider will now bring a new kind of sound to his legendary late night performances: DJing. I've personally come to terms with this, though it's taken quite some time, and several sessions with my psychologist.