The whimsical world of Animal Crossing games has always been a delightful escape for many gamers. Despite the occasional blunt comments from villagers, these games are cherished for their cozy and heartwarming gameplay. Little did I anticipate the emotional turmoil that awaited me when I purchased a preowned copy of Animal Crossing: Wild World.
Let’s rewind a bit. Prior to November 2023, I hadn’t delved into the 2005 Nintendo DS version of Animal Crossing. As a dedicated fan of New Leaf and New Horizons, I felt it was time to explore the game that had eluded me. Unfortunately, obtaining a new copy of Wild World without breaking the bank proved nearly impossible, so I settled for a preowned one. What could possibly go wrong?
As I inserted the cartridge into my DSi XL and fired it up, I was confronted with something unexpected: an existing save file. This copy hadn’t been wiped clean before being sold. It still held someone’s old town, player character, villagers, and decorated house.
Suddenly, I wasn’t just playing a retro game; I was peering into someone else’s past, feeling as if I’d stumbled upon a stranger’s diary. The previous owner went by the name Pipskin, and their town, Neopia, seemed to be a nod to the world of Neopets. Their meticulously designed house was a testament to the love and time they had invested. This wasn’t a game that had been discarded hastily; it was a labor of love that had been abandoned.
It was heart-wrenching to wander through the overgrown town and interact with the deserted villagers. As Pipskin, I encountered old residents like Egbert the chicken, Mathilda the kangaroo, and Elmer the horse, reminiscing about our supposed past interactions. They even mentioned Pipskin’s favorite foods and past acquaintances. One villager showed me a letter from a previous town they had lived in. With each gameplay session, I unraveled the forgotten legacy of Wild World fans.
To add to the distress, as I longed to embark on my own Wild World adventure, I realized that I had to bid farewell to Neopia. It’s not possible to have multiple towns on a single cartridge.
If you’ve never experienced the process of erasing a save file in Animal Crossing: Wild World, let me tell you, it’s a somber affair. You’re repeatedly questioned if you’re absolutely sure about deleting your town, with one message ominously declaring, “Then I’ll just get rid of [town name] and everyone and everything in it!” After consenting, you’re met with a black screen and the words, “Well, enjoy your new life…”
Seeing that text after immersing myself in someone else’s cherished former town did not align with the wholesome experience I had anticipated. It left me in a daze for a few moments before I could bring myself to start a new game.
Since that poignant evening, I’ve been happily building my own town of Solaceon in Wild World, alongside new neighbors, Rosie, Stitches, Hugh, and Amelia. Yet, I can’t shake off thoughts of Neopia and its enigmatic former owner, Pipskin. Wherever they are now, I hope they realize that their old villagers continued to adore them to the very end.
If you’re a Nintendo enthusiast seeking new game recommendations, be sure to peruse our list of the best Nintendo Switch games. Stay updated on upcoming releases with our roundup of upcoming Nintendo Switch games.