Christmas has come early to Twycross! Well, if you spend your Christmases labouriously entering alphanumeric codes, anyway. As I touched upon last time, it’s possible, if unwieldy, to exchange goods with remote towns by telling Nook the item, player and town that they’re destined for and then passing along the code he regurgitates.
It was well worth the effort, of course – Robin had sent a Master Sword he’d found in Serenity’s Lost & Found office – well, a copy, more accurately. Once you’ve discovered a particular item in Animal Crossing you’re able to order as many duplicates as you like, which encourages you to share without risking your own collection in the process.
The American version of the game also came with a “grab bag” from Nintendo, which turned out to contain K. K. Slider tune and – wheee! – a couple of NESes which, when arrange in your house, let you play creaking Nintendo titles Tennis and Golf. They’re not the shining highlights of the catalogue, having been created in that post-Atari era where games crudely aped reality rather than exploring their creative potential, but they were nice to tinker with all the same. (That said, the Gameboy version of Golf still reigns supreme.)
Meanwhile, some online investigation revealed that the Nintendo Power website, while naturally defunct after a decade, was still being hosted online and displaying its most recent rare item – this turned out to be a Starman which makes you flash, Mario-style, when interacted with. Some thoughtful soul has collated all of these ancient codes, so my intention is to use one in each blog post from now on – hopefully none of the contents have perished in the last ten years.
Out in the wild, I decided – inspired by a throwaway comment I made last time – to try planting a money tree in one of the glowing golden patches that crop up from time to time, since it had worked so well with my shovel. While I was able to rebury the money bags and summon a tiny golden sapling, none of my crimes against nature seemed to take root and were gone before long. Horticulture and alchemy don’t mix, it would appear.
My plans to send Robin a wardrobe in return for the Legendary Sword of Evil’s Bane – it’s perfectly fair, shut up – were nipped in the bud by the bane of my existence, Tom Nook. Having greedily raked in enough of my bells with his scams and extortion he’d decided to upgrade his shop, and wasn’t willing to let me in. I was tempted to write him a strongly-worded letter, but went fishing instead. Bottling up perfectly justified irritation and taking it out on helpless animals – it’s the British way!
Mitzi the cat had previously advised me to wait for a rainy day, a tactic I’d learned in another lifetime chasing the elusive Hylian Loach, so with the pitter-patter of virtual raindrops all around me I slung my fishing rod whimsically into the air, nearly taking my eye out, and plodded to the beach. Glory – or pneumonia – awaited!
Actually, coelacanths awaited, helpfully dumbed down to “living fossils” by the game. The rain had brought the prehistoric beasties out to play and not only was Blathers pellet-spewingly happy to receive one, Tom Nook was willing to buy them for a staggering fifteen thousand bells each – which, obviously, was my afternoon’s activity sorted.
An hour’s fishing was enough to completely clear the debt of my recent house extension, leaving me gloriously solvent for at least thirty glorious seconds – at which point I ventured back into Nook’s newly-opened gas station only to be forced into a conversation about which house upgrade I wanted next. Not upgrading wasn’t an option – literally. Talk about your hard sells.
I plumped for the basement rather than another house extension, largely because I was eager to have a more private location for my toilet. Not that my character can actually relieve himself, of course, but it’s the principle of the thing. Hygiene, and that.
The following day, having returned from whatever hell my character’s plunged into when the game’s not running, I was greeted with a flight of stairs leading down into a remarkably spacious basement. I was genuinely disappointed to discover that you can’t redecorate it, and apparently its existence has no effect on the rating that your house receives – in a game all about customisation and creation it seems rather hard-hearted not to let me stick a rug down. Still, it had only cost me 50,000 bells, so I can’t complain at what amounts to the world’s largest wardrobe.
Another week in my virtual Twycross had come to an end, with a week in the real one looming over my shoulder. I couldn’t stray for too long, however – after all, the harvest moon was just around the corner…