Saturday, January 25, 2014

Mother Daughter Girls' Night: Animal Crossing New Leaf Style

On Friday afternoons our school has early release for a regularly scheduled faculty meeting. Sometimes outsiders of our community gasp at the notion of their children being released at 12:30 for the weekend, but I absolutely adore it. Recently my girls have been playing with my office mate's girls for a couple of hours while we continue to work. The four girls (ages 7 to 11) all have their own Nintendo 3DS and Animal Crossing New Leaf which they have started to play cooperatively on Friday afternoons.  By cooperatively I mean, the girls can actually connect within the game, and interact. Each of the girls bring to the table their perspective of the game and it turns into this incredibly fun filled couple of hours. Of course I wanted in on the fun, so I had to run out and buy Animal Crossing New Leaf for my 3DS.

I am absolutely head over heels about ACNL (that's what the cool kids like to call it and hashtag it). Animal Crossing New Leaf is a joyful world where you have a character that lives in a town, you design your own house, earn bells by actively contributing to society, buy and trade common items, spend your days chatting up neighbors, and tending to your community (that doesn't even capture a tenth of the experience). One of my favorite things to do is take trips on a fishing boat while being serenaded by Kapp'n to an island where exotic fruit grows, beautiful insects thrive, and where it's safe to encounter many types of sea creatures. Truthfully, I am not a huge swimmer, but there is something about slipping on my wetsuit (mandatory to enter the water) and taking a relaxing swim around the island capturing creatures like sea slugs or crabs with my own bare hands. Yes, I am referring to the joy I feel playing Animal Crossing New Leaf. Trips to the island most certainly bring me joy.

In the very best of intuitive Nintendo design, I easily picked up the simple routines that have enhanced life in my town, Harperly. BUT… the most wonderful aspect of ACNL is that I can game with my girls. I've learned so much from them, they've had the game since Christmas, and in turn I've quickly picked up my own repertoire of tips and tricks. On Friday night the three of us plopped on the sectional and instead of watching a movie, we played ACNL together. I need to create a short video of us, it is unbelievable fun! I had to take a family portrait from when I invited the girls over to my town, here we are in my house:

(left is Sj standing, then G and I are on the couch, yes that's my swollen eye from a bee sting)
Are we not adorable?


It delights me to share gaming with my girls, it delights me that Nintendo has created this beautiful space that I can frolic, laugh, and present myself in the most authentic teachable moments as a mother. My daughters' personalities have come out in their style of interacting in ACNL. My oldest daughter has lots of bells saved in the bank and works hard to pay off public works projects, valuing her community, and interactions with her neighbors. She doesn't let weeds grow and waters her flowers daily. She's also very tight with a bell and won't gamble them away at the Stalk Market, but does have a frivolous side when it comes to fashion. On the other hand my 7 year old loves to spend a bell as soon as it hits her account. She has items dropped all over town, weeds are growing, she rarely digs up fossils, and she is in it for the bells and whistles, hardy har har. I take pride in teaching her different strategies and how to keep her closet organized, talking through what seems like a fair price for an item or how to set the price on a personal item at the Flea Market. I've witnessed both girls working together to trade items one has in their town that the other one really wants. Of course, I've spoiled my girls, fishing for them, tidying up their space, and buying them dream items (hey I work hard for my bells, I like to spoil). I may be playing, but I am always a mother.

Stay tuned for the next post, where I'll share a photo of us in head to toe matching outfits and we even went fishing together!

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Disclosure, I am a Nintendo Brand Enthusiast, but all ACNL games were purchased by my family. This post was not written as a campaign for Nintendo (all words and squeals of delight are my own), it is simply too much fun to not share with everyone I know! I can guarantee more ACNL posts to follow!