Animal Crossing, the lovely life sim that Nintendo fans adore, has been around in Japan longer than the US thanks to debuting not on the GameCube, but the N64. Doubutsu no Mori, or Animal Forest (as it’s known over there) was present at Spaceworld 2000 — a full two years before the series would appear in English. Excitingly, some press material from the event meant for English press as been shared courtesy of 8-4 co-founder John Ricciardi today, and it’s about as wonderful as proto-Animal Crossing can be:
Chances are good you’ve never seen this: first-ever official English PR materials for Animal Crossing – given only to members of foreign press at Spaceworld 2000. Featuring all your favorite characters, including Dog Policeman, Pelican Postman, and Raccoon #AnimalCrossing pic.twitter.com/hSrFvqrS4g
— John Ricciardi 🐉🤷♂️ (@johntv) October 23, 2018
Nintendo touted it as ‘a completely new concept in communication software’ rather than any other type of game or genre. The real-time clock and ability to chat with villagers is front and center, but what really sells it are the placeholder names for the NPCS Copper, Pete, and Tom Nook. This was from when the game was only 70%, complete mind you. (On a personal note, I’d totally hang with Pelican Postman.)
The series has come a long way, with multiple characters in Smash and a new entry due next year. All the upcoming content won’t stop me from occasionally looking back on this old pamphlet now, and remembering Dog Policeman is out there keeping my town safe.
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