Jul 15, 2013

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5 Things Parents Should Know: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

5 Things Parents Should Know: Animal Crossing: New Leaf

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Today Vivid Gamer is proud to continue the new recurring feature: 5 things parents should know. Here at Vivid Gamer, we want to try to help educate parents about various games. More than a review, this feature will help you learn about the game. Going beyond the ESRB ratings, we’ll let you know what might not be suitable for children or what might actually be acceptable, so you can make a more informed judgement about whether or not to allow your child to play the particular title.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is the latest entry in a popular Nintendo series that allows players to simulate the life of a character in a town full of anthropomorphic animals. Released back in June, this title has garnered some really good scores. Rated E for everyone, Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a game for any age group. The retail price for the 3DS title is $34.99 and can be purchased either as a physical copy or download via the Nintendo eShop. Parents might be curious to know just what sort of things their kids could possibly find in this game.

1. Slow-paced

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When you’re young (and sometimes, even when you’re an adult), you expect to play a game that can be beaten within a short amount of time. Or at least, you want that sense of accomplishment. Earning bells, or the currency in New Leaf, can be a slow process. Young kids might want to expand their house in hopes of filling it with whatever items they get right away, and be frustrated when this isn’t possible. The game also relies partially on luck for acquiring a lot of items, so younger children may be upset when they can’t get the shirt or sofa they wanted. Besides, catching some bugs and fish require you to be somewhat stealthy and patient.

2. Focus On Money Management

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One of the main goals in the game is to earn enough bells in order to pay off one of the many loans on your house (or help fund public works projects like new stores or town improvements). Unlike how loans are handled in real life, there is no penalty in taking your time to pay off your loan and no interest is ever charged. You also have the ability to save your bells in a bank account that will earn you interest each month. Parents might like having this serve as an aid in teaching older children about money management. Of course, for those with children too young to understand, this might prove to be a hassle when their kids want to make their house bigger but don’t get why they have to spend their bells on the loans.

3. Online Features Unrated

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Even though New Leaf does not require you to ever get online and visit others’ towns, one of the fun things to do it hang out with your friends either in your town or theirs. Luckily, you can only invite and visit the towns of those on your 3DS’s friends list. This gives parents a good deal of control over who their child plays with. However, there is an optional feature that you can unlock that lets players hang out on a tropical island together regardless of being on each other’s friends lists. While New Leaf is blood/gore free and violence is toned down to being able to bop your neighbors on the head with a net, you still run the risk of coming across inappropriate language and/or images that other players might use or display.

4. Single Player

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This is more directed towards parents of multiple children. Given the fact that only one person can play on a 3DS at a time, it is to be assumed that Animal Crossing: New Leaf would be a single-player title. Though you can have multiple people residing in one town on the game, only one can play at a time. There is also the fact that because all residents live in the same town, what actions one does (i.e., dig up all the fossils, chop down trees, buying items in shop, etc.) does affect the others’ experience with the game, which could lead to potential problems.

5. Reading Is A Plus

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While it is possible to play this game without ever really needing to know what is being said, being able to read the neighbors’ conversations is really helpful. On occasion, one of your neighbors will ask you to either take an item to another neighbor or bring them a certain item. They’ll also sometimes invite you over to their house, all of which can net you new clothing or furniture. Being able to read makes it easier for children to handle these tasks on their own. Parents can also use this to help their children learn more words, especially if it’s a word that you rarely use in your home.

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