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From the N64 to Pocket Camp: How Animal Crossing has evolved since 2001

We've come a long way
Product: Animal Crossing Pocket Camp | Publisher: Nintendo | Format: Android, iPhone, iPad
Animal Crossing Pocket Camp Android, thumbnail 1
With all the hype surrounding Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, it's important to remember the humble beginnings the series had, and how much its grown over the years.

So, join us as we reminisce about times gone by, and look at how Animal Crossing has changed over the years – and the strange detours it's taken along the way.

A humble acorn

The very first Animal Crossing released on the N64, all the way back in 2001. It was essentially the same game you know and love today, but its Japan-only release meant it was a fairly niche title.

That didn't last long, however. A revamped GameCube edition launched later that same year, with an American release in September 2002.

All the usual aspects of the series are there – you have a small town to run around, villagers to help, fruit to collect, and so on. But it was severely lacking in social features.

You could travel to a friend's town, but only if they were willing to give you their memory card to use on your console.

It's a wild, wild world

Thankfully, Nintendo fixed all this when it finally returned to the series in late 2005 with the DS entry, Animal Crossing: Wild World.

Significantly stepping up its game, Wild World let you and up to three friends wander about in each other's towns at the same time over the Internet, and generally cause grief in each other's worlds.

We absolutely loved it too, scoring it a 9/10 and calling it "a unique game that'll have you hooked, possibly for years."

The next entry, the Wii's Animal Crossing: Let's Go to the City, didn't offer up much new, but you could now use voice chat to communicate with your friends online.

The titular city also played an important role, acting as a central hub for all the shops. But the core gameplay remained unchanged for its third outing.

You're in charge

It wasn't until 2013's 3DS edition, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, that the series finally made some serious changes.

No longer were you just a citizen – you were now the mayor of your town, which gave you the chance to build amenities and pass laws to help grow your home like never before.

It was a belter of a game, and another 9/10 from us, with our reviewer calling it "simply the best Animal Crossing has ever been."

Don't call it a comeback

Since then, the series has gone a bit quiet, aside from a couple of spin-offs. Happy Home Designer replaced life simulation with home design, and it wasn't to everyone's tastes – we gave it a 6/10 when it launched.

And the less said about bizarre Wii U digital board game Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival the better.

But with Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp coming very soon, it seems like the series might finally return to its roots, and deliver the experience fans have sorely missed over the last few years.

Reviewer photo
Ric Cowley 26 October 2017
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