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About a year ago I shelled out for a 3DS special edition, Animal Crossing: New Leaf and I haven’t regretted it since despite it being a very expensive purchase for me. I want to talk about it a little because it’s one of my favourite things, and more so it’s truly something that has helped me cope with depression and the many stresses I’ve been under. For those of you not yet in the know; Animal Crossing is a video game where you get to move into a village filled with anthropomorphic animals. You get to bond with them by talking, sending letters, gifting each other stuff, giving some medication when someone gets sick and so on. You can also decorate your own house, plant flowers, design patterns and clothing, grow trees, shoot gifts flying in the sky, fish, catch bugs, discover fossils and more!

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The reason I love it so much and why it helps me relax is because its especially designed to slow you down; in the latest version for the 3DS (or 2DS!) I’ve even noticed my avatar falls on the floor constantly when I try to run instead of walk! The game revolves in real time, and though sometimes I change my DS’s time because I want to play at 5AM when I can’t sleep, I desperately try to keep to the hours Animal Crossing has set up for me because if you time travel days and weeks you get instant gratification but you also miss out on the little things that are most relaxing; watering flowers, waiting for plants to grow, seeing seasons change and so on. You also anxiously await special events where you can get cute gifts, enter a game to be the best bug catcher in town, etc. Sporadically a fanciful giraffe will visit you and rate your fashionability (until she sets up her own shop in your town!), a sketchy fox shows up and tries to sell you fake art (sometimes real), a fortune teller cat gives you mysterious advice, and every Sunday a granny boar sells turnips.

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Whenever I’m stressed out, or feel anxious I go see how my village is doing and see what’s up with my neighbour’s lives and outfits, how many pink flowers have popped up and I’ll water them till they glitter. It’s satisfying and relaxing because it’s basically a never-ending game; there’s no end goal but there’s small goals like collecting photos of your villagers (which means you’re truly their good friend!), upgrading your shops, getting a bigger house and so on. But there’s no stresses involved because however messy your village is, or however small your house and wardrobe is you’ll always have the satisfaction of seeing your villagers and their quirky mannerisms! You can listen to the lovely and soothing soundtrack which changes according to time, you can fish while you hear the pixelated water lapping quietly till a fish goes POP! and you reel in your line. You can just walk around and rearrange flowers, you can do whatever and it’s all sweet and quiet and still. Even if all that’s a little too daunting for you (which I’ve felt a lot last year) you can visit other people’s towns via dreams! There’s many users who have perfected town making and even story-telling inside of their town that are breathtaking to visit.

If you’re feeling sociable you can also visit people’s towns in real time if you have their friend DS code, or you can visit Tortimer’s Island via your internet connection and meet new people! Once I met my twin:

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I have a tumblr dedicated to it, which I don’t really update anymore because I like to keep things to myself lately, but you can visit my town via a dream with this code: 7100-2406-4715! If you wanna hang out in real time, drop me a line!

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I love Animal Crossing so much, I treasure it a lot.