Have you ever played "Animal Crossing: New Leaf?" I’m still so amazed that despite the fact that your little town is contained to just a somewhat sparing amount of acres, it feels like there’s so much to do and see. But please don’t expect "Animal Crossing" to retain its cutesy innocence forever, because, well, it won’t. And to think I know this secret only by a seemingly harmless outing. Here’s my story.
For the longest time I had heard about “this game called 'Animal Crossing,'” and of course, how good it was. The game had gotten flooded with attention, and kind of I wanted to play it. You know, just for the sake of finally seeing what all this fuss was about, and whether or not this humble little life-sim deserved it. But i could never actually find the game in stores, regardless of how many times I ran in Gamestop with this irrational hope in my eyes. I had gotten sick of it.
Eventually, I stopped looking. I knew that by even trying to look for a copy of this game, I was just setting myself up for the inevitable disappointment that seemed to always follow afterwards.
But it was one day that changed everything. It was just some random weekend when I decided to go to Gamestop again. Now, I know what you’re thinking: I wasn’t looking for "Animal Crossing: New Leaf" again, or anything in particular. I just went to Gamestop because I was bored and figured I could at least buy myself a new game to pass the time I’d normally spend staring boringly at a computer screen, scrolling the same pages I’ve already read. I decided to look at the extensive wall of 3DS games, and there it was. A used copy of "Animal Crossing: New Leaf," the last one they had in stock.
Yeah, it was used, but it was the last one, and I wasn’t about to pass this up just because somebody else had it before me.
I excitedly took the game from the shelf and over to the cashier. And no, he didn’t tell me some “cryptic message” in hushed whispers or anything like that, he just rung up the game and put it in a bag for me.
I couldn’t possibly believe that I finally had the game that eluded me for so long, let alone in my hands. When I finally got home, the literal first thing I did was take the game out and put it in my 3DS. I was honestly so excited I didn’t even take my shoes off before I played it. I started the game up and created a new file, my hands trembling with excitement as I got greeted by Rover.
But before I started a new save, I noticed that the previous owner of the game didn’t delete their file. But honestly, that wasn’t even the part that bothered me, what bothered me was the name of the save file: “...”. I tried to tell myself that it was a glitch or, even a nasty prank meant to scare people.
I really wanted to play this game, and I took irrational comfort in these little lies I told myself.
It was now February, and I had been playing the game for months now. I had a perfect town, millions of Bells, villagers I loved, and everything was going well.
But for the endless hours I had played, something was constantly troubling me. No matter how much I loved this game, I just couldn’t bring myself to stop thinking about that save with an ellipsis for a name. Even though I knew I shouldn’t have, I decided that I would put an end to my troubles and look at that mysterious save file. I saved my town and quit, returning me to the main menu screen. I pressed A and selected “...”.
I came out of my house and my character was a girl who looked surprisingly like the girl I used on my town. I looked at my ID card out of curiosity, and to my surprise, my name was “...”, just like the name on the save file.
The sky was a blood red, and the grass was so deteriorated the ground was entirely brown except for the weeds that this seemingly neglected town was littered with, and no music was playing in the background.
I decided to go in some of the villagers’ houses, just to see them. The first house I went in belonged to Lolly the cat.
I know that the villagers have emotions, but Lolly looked, well, legitimately miserable, to an extent that I actually felt sympathy for a cat in a video game.
I walked over to her and pressed A to talk. A text box appeared along with a somewhat slower version of Lolly’s voice. “Mayor? Jonathan? Where are you? It’s been so long... But it’ll be okay. I’m just sorry I wasn’t good enough for you...”
Lolly said as the text box disappeared on its own.
For some reason, the name Jonathan seemed familiar, and as I mentally retraced my steps to find out where that name was, I realized where it came from: Jonathan was the name of the Gamestop clerk who had rung up my game.
I ran out of Lolly’s house and went into another one, this one being Grizzly’s.
Again, I decided to talk to him. “Our mayor abandoned us. Weren’t we good enough for him? We wasted our time sending him gifts and helping him, just to try to convince him to stay. Why?!”
Grizzly said with an angered look on his face.
I left the house yet again, and went to another one, just to see what everyone had to say. Tia was in the house I went in, with the same depressed look as Lolly.
I talked to her, and she told me a very brief message: “Happiness is a beautiful lie.”
I decided I would quit, then delete the file, but as I pressed start and tried to select “Save And Quit,” a text box without a name tag appeared that just said “Why?”
I tried to make the text box go away, but no matter what button I mashed, it wouldn’t. I had tried almost everything including turning the power off, and the only alternative I had left at this point was to rip the cartridge out. It came out successfully, and the Game Card Removed splash popped up as I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
I put the game back in its case and returned it to the store a few days later.
I still wanted to play the game though, so I looked for a new copy on Amazon. I eventually found a copy of the game that was new, but there were also a surprising amount of listings for the game used. I didn’t even look at them. There’s no way I’m taking that chance again.