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E308: Making Iwata cry in Animal Crossing: City Folk


By now, you've read about the new city in Animal Crossing: City Folk. The itinerant characters like Gracie and Lyle now have their own shops in the new "City" area. Two new locations in the city, as I found in my hands-on session, combine to form a shortcut to hilarity.

A theater in town offers stand-up performances from Wild World's Dr. Shrunk, which (through his reactions more than his actual terrible jokes) teach your new avatar an emotion. You can then trigger these emotional responses with an icon on the onscreen keyboard or an icon located at the top of the gameplay screen. I got "sorrow," which causes the character to cry briefly. Heartbreaking!

The Nintendo rep then led me into the new beauty shop, where you can give yourself a makeover in the form of a Mii mask. I chose the Iwata mask for my avatar Sarah, which replaced her Crossing-style head with Iwata's. This odd sequence of events left me in a position to make a cartoon version of Nintendo's president, clad in a dress, weep. You can see a picture of said crying jag after the break.

While the new city is lovely, some of the basics of City Folk could use a bit of extra awesoming. You can choose between a GameCube-style control scheme or a DS-style point-and click in which the character follows the pointer whenever you hold A. It's really hard to interact with objects in this mode -- you have to get near something and then click on yourself. It just feels less precise to use the same controls for movement and interaction than it is to walk and then press a button that isn't related to walking. The good news control-wise is that you can use the d-pad to cycle through your tools. Just like that, hours of menu time are shaved off!

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