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Animal Crossing

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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Animal Crossing (2001) is a quirky life simulation game where you live in a small village and build your dream home. You develop relationships with the animal townsfolk, collect fossils, fish and insects and build a home to help the village grow. It's a simple simulation of village life where collection and conversations are king.

You play a new arrival to an isolated village and must pay off your mortgage by collecting materials and selling them. It's a simple concept, but it offers you the freedom to play your own way - talk to the locals and get to know their stories, collect insects or even go fishing.

Play progresses with real-world time; seasons change, plants grow, and the island slowly evolves as you play. Special occasions, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter all happen in the game, as well as events that occur more regularly like fitness classes and tournaments. This means that there's always something new to come back to, whether it's to water your plants, experience the first snow of winter, or catch that special fish that only appears at a certain time of day or maybe even only one day a year.

The result is a controllable fantasy escape, but one that's intimately connected to the ticking of the real-world clock. It's a place to visit for short bursts each day over the course of years.

Our examiner, Jo Robertson, first checked Animal Crossing 9 months ago. It was re-examined by Ellen Robertson and updated 4 months ago.
There are lots of games similar to Animal Crossing. Here are some we picked for you:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Collecting, Narrative and Simulation game with Adventure, Communication, Role-Play and Sequencing elements. You can play with 1 to 4 players in the same room, but you can’t play it online. Four players can have a save file with their own island but you can't play at the same time. You can take turns designing different parts of your home with three other people locally and can visit other people's villages, send letters, and go shopping together.

You can play this game in the following styles:


Play Time: It takes between half an hour and 1 hour to play a round of this game. After you finish setting up your house initially, you can then come back every day and improve things, typically spending about 45 minutes per day on the game.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

Rated PEGI 3.

Skill Level

8+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Although younger children can get around and play this, to really enjoy it you need to understand how the finances and relationships work. Collecting all the matching )or mismatching) furniture and every last insect also requires some resistance and persistence.


You can only play this on older systems (GameCube) but can usually find it second hand on eBay. There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.
To access some features, such as an island where you can get new items, you need a Game Boy Advance and a link cable to connect it to your Gamecube. 

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 14/12/2001, updated in 2004

Out Now: GameCube

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Players: 1-4

Genres: Collecting, Narrative, Simulation (Adventure, Communication, Role-Play and Sequencing)

Accessibility: 24 features

Components: 2D Overhead, Day and Night, Open World, Persistant World, Pixels and Weather

Developer: Nintendo (@Nintendo)

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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