Ben's 12 Days of Christmas Memories - Day 5: Welcome to Ani--GameCube

I needed it... That's who...

A year after the GCN's release I finally had a shot at getting one. Super Mario Sunshine was on the market, and it was everything I had been waiting for since Mario 64. I remember trying to play the demos at the store every chance I got, but I'd also check out the other games they had to offer. I especially liked playing Sonic Adventure 2 and showing off my skills in that game, but Mario Sunshine was the main one I was concerned about. I did need more than just that though. I couldn't really justify wanting an entire console if there was nothing else I wanted to play. So I talked to friends about it at school, and tried to see what they had to say.

My friend Keith was basically the only person who knew anything about the GCN, and he too was wanting one for Christmas. "I want to get Animal Crossing" he said, but personally I wasn't so sure. The commercials I had seen for it on TV seemed funny, but would I really like something like that? I mainly cared about Mario! Even so I decided to listen to his advice, and asked my parents for it as well. It ended up being one of the best decisions I had ever made.

Remember how I said it would be impossible to top my previous Christmases? Well 2002 in some ways did it. After I opened my GameCube, Mario Sunshine, Animal Crossing, and Spyro Enter the Dragonfly (I'm sorry about this one), there were a few other surprises waiting for me. One of which was a game holder where you could sit your console on top, and put your games in a drawer below it (I currently have my N64 in this below my foosball table). This thing was really cool because it gave me somewhere to store my GCN, and made it easier to keep things together. The other gift I received though completely caught me off guard. It was the newer PlayStation "One!" This was a revised model of the original PS1 (which I destroyed a couple of years before on Christmas), and was a bit smaller than the original. It's because of this little "dead" console that I was finally able to play the games I had received a couple of years back, and it's what let me get back into games like Mega Man Legends, and Legends 2. Despite getting it so late, I would use that thing for many MANY years. In fact it remained connected to my TV until roughly 2005.

Anyway the PSOne was a really nice bonus, but the GCN was my main focus that year. The wireless controller my parents found also shocked me greatly (I no longer had to sit in front of the TV!), and Mario Sunshine itself was everything I could have ever hoped for. I still consider it to be my favorite 3D Mario game, but that was to be expected. What I didn't expect however was just how much I ended up loving Animal Crossing.

Playing "life" was a completely new experience for me. For the first time I got to "own" my own "house," and do whatever I felt like. I could walk around the town, get to know my neighbors, and then buy furniture to decorate my house. It was so different from what I was used to, and I loved the fact that it used a real time clock. The world felt like it was living, and I never knew what to expect out of it. In fact because of this it quickly became a game I actually played every single day. While others could be picked up at any time when I felt like it, Animal Crossing was always moving forward with or without me. I felt the need to check every day, and I made sure to use my time wisely. Over Christmas break I spent a lot of the time just wondering around the town trying to build snowmen and what not, but once school started up it was the first thing I would play when I got back home. That's not to say I ignored other games I had (I was still playing my DC almost daily as well), but Animal Crossing ended up taking more of my time than I expected. I just loved it.

Eventually my love for the series is what lead me to getting other entries as they released. Animal Crossing Wild World became one of the first non PC online games I had played, and I spent a lot of time with the other sequels as well. It's a series that is special to me, and it all started way back in 2002 on Christmas day.

This wasn't all this Christmas had to offer me though. Building off of the previous year, I also received the e-Reader add on for my GBA, and got some cards that connected with the GCN games I had (mainly Animal Crossing). The eReader itself was a flop in the end, but I still liked it for what it was. It was a nice little accessory, and I liked being able to play classic NES games and mini games on my GBA. Man that was a good year.

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