Since the main series had two different games on the handhelds and two different games on the consoles, we have experienced Animal Crossing on both handhelds and consoles. Each of them had their advantages, but they also had their disadvantages. Each version also had advantages and disadvantages, relating to both the game and the system.
This chapter in the Idea Book is a rehash of the Handhelds vs Consoles debate and talk about how it relates to Animal Crossing. Do you want a bigger map? What about playing Animal Crossing on a road trip? Do you want more towns per system? You will get your answer by reading the reasons for each argument, and you can see what system the next Animal Crossing game should be on.
Reasons for it to be on the console
Animal Crossing started out on the Nintendo 64 very late in the N64 days, but it was only available in Japan. About a year after the GameCube came out worldwide, the series extended beyond Japan, but it was only a GameCube game at the time. What does a GameCube and a Nintendo 64 have in common? They’re both home consoles. Therefore, Animal Crossing originally came from the consoles, and it wouldn’t be weird if it was on another console.
Another reason why it should be on a console rather than a handheld is because of the map size. In the GameCube Version and City Folk (both of them being console games), towns had much bigger maps. According to the Animal Crossing wiki on Wikia, each town can be divided into acres (16×16 squares). The GameCube Version’s towns had 30 acres in a 5×6 notation. City Folk had 25 acres in square notation. New Leaf had 20 acres in a 5×4 notation. And Wild World had 16 acres in a 4×4 notation. So why do console towns have larger maps than handheld towns? I may not know the answer, but it could have to do with the hardware and format. Regardless, we had other forms of evidence proving that console towns are bigger than handheld towns. The maximum amount of villagers you can have in a GameCube town is 15. City Folk had 10. Same for New Leaf if you had the campsite or picked up villagers from other towns. Other than that, 9 is the max. Wild World had 8. Another form of evidence is the cliffs. Other than Wild World, all towns had two levels of elevation (or three from the rare GameCube towns). Though, GameCube and City Folk were the two games where the cliffs can divide in the middle of town, just like the rivers. If you like designing, a bigger map is what you’ll need, which were on console games.
The consoles also have more advantage because of the battery issue. You can play all day as long as you want, but once the battery is low, you’ll need to stop playing and run back to your charger. Power outages are unpredictable, but not as common as battery outages. Not only you lose all of the data while playing, but the game recognizes whether or not you saved. If you’re playing the console, the only limit is overheating, which is only if you played even longer than handhelds from full battery to empty battery. If the console never overheats, you can play all day. Consoles have to be plugged in at all times, which means unlimited power.
Screen size is another issue. It’s neat to have your personal screens on the handhelds so nobody can watch you play Animal Crossing, but if you have a larger screen, you can execute more graphic detail as you play the game. New Leaf does have the best graphics out of the four, but the detail would be a lot better on a larger screen. Plus, if you like others to watch you play, a handheld screen is not a good screen.
Lastly, it’s about add-ons. If there were more add-ons produced and distributed by Nintendo, handheld devices can’t hold onto as much add-ons as consoles can. If you like add-ons for Animal Crossing, the consoles are better for Animal Crossing than the handhelds.
Reasons for it to be on the handheld
While the series started off as a console series, many players believe that the game is better for the handheld than for the console. Back when I was on Bell Tree, I did some poll sampling. From the last time I checked, only 225 members voted. 183 of them (81.33%) voted Handhelds, 10 of them (4.44%) voted Consoles, and the other 32 (14.22%) voted It’s the same both ways. I was part of the majority that voted Handhelds. I know that poll sampling doesn’t mean that it’s true for the general population, but I believe that more people would rather play Animal Crossing on handheld systems than console systems. Producers and managers would take opinions from the majority of the consumers. Also, notice that Wild World sold 12 million copies, as New Leaf sold nearly 10 million when Happy Home Designer came out. Combine the GameCube and Wii copies sold, they don’t sell as well as New Leaf.
Another reason why the game belongs to the handhelds more is the portability. Not only the feeling of playing Animal Crossing anywhere (including hotels, restaurants, cars, and even amusement parks) is better than playing at just one TV, but the game kinda seems like that it needs to be played everyday. If you miss a few days, some of your favorite villagers will move away, flowers will wilt, weeds will grow, and some animals won’t recognize you after not playing for a while. You can’t play consoles when you’re not at home, unless if it’s your friend’s or neighbor’s console. If you’re playing Animal Crossing on a handheld device, you do realize that it’s a game you can play not just at home, but out of town too. This means there are no days missed, even if you’ve been away from home for at least 30 days. Plus, it can keep you entertained while you’re on the road.
Another good reason why the game is better on handhelds is the double-screen notation. In Happy Home Designer, furniture can be dragged anywhere because the design menus can only be seen on the touch screen. The top screen shows what you’re doing, but the action is done on the touch screen. If you’re playing on one TV, the experience would be uncomfortable, or not as easy to use. Also, pausing the game won’t block you from seeing you play if you’re playing on a DS or 3DS system.
Aside to that, we have town sharing and system sharing. Since handhelds are cheaper and don’t require as many components (or hooking up to a TV), it’s easier to get one handheld per person than one console per person. New Leaf was one town per system, and so is City Folk. If everyone has a 3DS, there’s no need to share a 3DS, thus no need to share towns. Town sharing would be a huge drag because what if your siblings mess up your town? You don’t have to worry about that if you are playing on your system. That, and there’s fighting between you and your siblings.
The last reason why Animal Crossing is more suited for handhelds is for partying. If you had three friends that play Animal Crossing visit you in real life, you can play with them by visiting their towns through the local wireless. You don’t have to connect to the internet to play with your friends, but they can still go through your town. On the consoles, if you’re not playing online, but you are visiting other towns, you would realize that there are nobody else (human players) in town while you’re visiting.
Reasons for it to be on both systems
A lot of people prefer to play Animal Crossing on handheld devices. Some prefer to play it on consoles. But if this does get into a heated argument, the best Nintendo can do whether choosing between handheld and console is by making Animal Crossing available for both handhelds and consoles of the same generation, just like they did to Smash. The ones who would rather play Animal Crossing on the handhelds can play the handheld version, while the ones who would play on the consoles can get the console version. Some players can get both versions to experience both sides, but the games are basically the same, but that’s two different towns.
Another good reason for it to be on both systems is to utilize Cross-Controller. Handheld players can visit console towns with handhelds and vice versa. I always wanted to see characters from two Animal Crossing games visit each other. This might contradict the friend code issue, unless if they make friend codes work on both handhelds and consoles. Or they could use the Nintendo Network for stuff like that.
The third reason cannot be stated without the second, so it’s a good thing that I made the second go before. This reason is to encourage trading within both systems. They can make some items and villagers available in both games, items and villagers that are exclusive to the console version, and items and villagers exclusive to the handheld versions. The exclusives can be transferred between both versions so all items are available no matter what version you get. It’s just some that cannot be obtained if you stick to one version. It’s just like a Pokémon game.
The fourth reason is to boost sales between both their handhelds and consoles of the generation. We all know that the Wii U failed, and the only Animal Crossing game it got was a spin-off that did very poorly. Animal Crossing has became a cash cow, but also more popular of a franchise than it ever was. Besides, more people would want to see more features.
The last reason for it to be on both systems is because they did this before. It’s not just the remakes of Nintendo 64 games, but Smash was available on both the Wii U and 3DS. I would like to see a version of Animal Crossing that’s available on both systems, just to give handheld users and console users experience on both sides. And you get two towns.
Reasons why the debate doesn’t matter
Whether the next game is on a handheld or console, disc or cartridge, digital or physical copy, all of the core mechanics and game ideas I have are feasible due to the advancements of technology and increase in data size. Having larger maps on the handheld systems is now possible, even if we have larger houses than in New Leaf. As long as console controllers have more buttons, it would be possible to execute the interior design feature like what ACHHD had on the consoles.
Also, if it were the same version on both games, the hardware and format has no effect on the quality, including sound, graphics, gameplay, and performance. Moving furniture wouldn’t be any faster on the console versions than on handhelds, nor would it be any slower. Graphics aren’t as bad on the handheld versions as they are on the consoles, but they wouldn’t be any better. It’s just like buying games digitally or physically. It’s not really what you can play the game on that matters. It’s how the game goes that matters. If they are the same on both systems, then it shouldn’t matter.
In addition, Animal Crossing was on both consoles and handhelds. It wouldn’t be weird for it to be on a console since it originated on the console systems. It’s not weird for it to be on the handhelds either since the 3DS version and Wild World were more popular than the console versions. It would be weird to see puzzle games like on the iPhone and iPad appear on console systems. It would also be weird to see first person shooters as big as Call of Duty to appear on handheld systems. But Animal Crossing is fine both ways.
Moreover, Nintendo has support for both their handheld and console systems. Sony does not have as much support for the PSP and Vita as they did for the PS3 and PS4 (especially since the Vita failed). Nintendo has equal support for both their handhelds and consoles. Animal Crossing is a Nintendo exclusive franchise, and it’s one of the franchises Nintendo cares for more, at least in recent times.
The last reason for this debate to be unnecessary is the fact that Animal Crossing had the same gameplay on both handhelds and consoles. The controls are the same, both systems are capable of playing cartridges, games are just as enjoyable. The only reason that makes each game different is the version (like when Wild World had no holidays or that City Folk had shopping cards), not the system they were played on.