The Features That Never Returned – Animal Crossing: Wild World For The Nintendo DS
Thematically fitting for its theme of constant travels, Animal Crossing: Wild World took the hit life-simulation GameCube title to the hands of handheld players as the series jumped ship from consoles for the first time ever with its sequel. Wild World became the first Animal Crossing title to settle on a portable system — or at least, really portable if we do not count those e-Reader mini-games we previously discussed — as incoming villagers began to drop down on the Nintendo DS’s early days. Like the other previous mainline entry, however, even the most primitive game in the franchise’s history was prone to still contain exclusive features well over fifteen years after its launch. Some may be insignificant additions and others are baffling events, but here are twelve features from Animal Crossing: Wild World that never returned to future entries.
Notes in Bottles on Beaches
Bottles washing up on beaches has a whole new meaning today in Animal Crossing with the DIY recipes found throughout New Horizons. Before they were once-a-day collectibles discovered near the waves, they were a fun form of communication with friends. If players were to connect to one another through the game’s dedicated Tag Mode on the main menu, notes in bottles they have thrown into the ocean would potentially make landfall on other players’ shores. To obtain empty bottles that are customizable with your own unique messages, players could simply walk into Nook’s store and purchase one for a measly 200 bells.
After going into the inventory and sealing the bottle tight with your message, you just throw it into the ocean and save the game. After connecting to other players, hopefully, your bottle or one scrambled into the communication feature would wash up for some items or entertainment. How was this feature not in New Leaf with Streetpass being such a big deal — and is this not technically littering?
Pete, Balloons, and Gulliver Go Down From Above
2012’s Animal Crossing: New Leaf may have also been playable on a dual-screen device, but its predecessor took a completely different route of utilizing its dedicated handheld’s display. Whereas New Leaf utilized the touchscreen for inventory management at all times, Wild World had players view their village from two different albeit connected perspectives. While the bottom screen always displayed the standard third-person view players had been accustomed to with the GameCube release, the top half simply spotlighted the open sky with two-dimensional art.
The top of the display may have been convenient for looking at constellations and immediately spotting the day’s weather, but it did contain some light interactivity that could be accessed every day by using the staple slingshot tool. During mail hours, players could see Pete and shoot him down to view secret dialogue, but more notably the top screen was the only way to track down some pesky balloons and spaceman Gulliver’s UFO. Considering how games like Metroid Prime Hunters and Super Mario 64 DS were experimenting with the Nintendo DS’s display setups, it is no surprise why Wild World’s developers would have went for what would be considered today as an untraditional format.
Lyle’s Insurance Scam
Before he ran the Happy Home Academy in future Animal Crossing entries, Lyle the otter was a desperate insurance seller with one goal: to make money off one massive scheme. Begging the player to buy his accident insurance policy for a measly 3,000 bells, the coverage plan will give players back 100 bells for every 10 bee stings, 9 painting forgeries, and 10 trips they find themselves making. As you probably noticed, the total which only equals 2,900 bells means that Lyle’s promise is a complete scam no matter how you dice it. Some of Crazy Redd’s dialogue points to the fact that the two might be in cahoots with each other. Nonetheless, the fact still stands that before this special character made his rise to power selling houses, the only reason players were paying up to Lyle was so that he would not be following you around.
The Bright Nights of February
Holidays were quite an interesting situation with Animal Crossing: Wild World. Due to a multitude of factors, the usual seasonal holidays including Toy Day and Turkey Day were not included in the game. However, holidays did not go absent completely. The developers opted to include a couple of quirky events that sometimes even spanned across a few days or even a week — one of those lasting the longest was of course the Bright Nights event. Bright Nights is a simple occasion where every villager in town places holiday lights on their home during the second Monday of February. Before Saturday, players could visit Tortimer, who would ask them to vote on their favorite house. The reward for participating is nothing more than the possibility of the winner sending you a gift, but nonetheless, it is an interesting event that no other game has tried to replicate.
Fall’s Acorn Festival
Another week-long event that appeared only in Animal Crossing: Wild World was the Acorn Festival. On the first Monday of October, Tortimer who is now dressed as an acorn and referred to by “Cornimer”, can be found standing outside the town plaza for a week straight. Cornimer will ask you to retrieve 230 acorns over the course of the event in exchange for twelve prizes and fortunes. The twelve prizes in question are all items from the Mushroom series of items found in nearly every Animal Crossing title while those fortunes are unique letters with messages from Cornimer. As the player collects small, standard, large, round, and rotten acorns, the Acorn Festival just becomes another massive collectathon to attend throughout the player’s time in their village.
Yay For That One Day
Yay Day is by far the oddest event that can be found in any Animal Crossing title to this day due to a multitude of factors. For one, there are no items, letters, and bells to collect on this holiday that will arrive on either the third or fourth Sunday of January. It’s just a feel-good event simply intended to be a hangout day with your best friends — there really is nothing else to it. Not even Tortimer makes an appearance for this one. The villagers of your town will compliment you and you type one back. The only secret dialogue that can be found on this particular day can be seen if the player types in romantic phrases such as “girlfriend”, “boyfriend,” or “my love”. Upon doing so, the villager in question will blush and respond “Oh, I never knew you felt this way!”
Singing With La-Di-Day
Sticking to the subject of oddball holidays, how about one that takes place on the second Saturday of every odd-numbered month? La-Di-Day might just be one of the most frequent Animal Crossing events players can experience throughout the year. This seemingly random event will have every villager in town competing to create a new town tune. Upon talking to a villager, they will sing their creation in front of you. The player must then decide between two dialogue options being “You’re hired” and “that won’t do”. If the player chooses the former, their town tune will be changed to match what their villager had sung to them earlier.
Flowers have always been a notable source of beauty in the Animal Crossing franchise, but Wild World was the only game in the series to actually make an event out of them. Like the other week-long holidays in the title, the Flower Fest is a competition between the villagers and yourself to see who can grow the best garden around their home. While Tortimer will provide the player with a set of flowers on the second Monday of April (the event’s first day), receiving more of the plantable objects from Tom Nook’s shop or visiting friends is fair game. The winner of the Flower Festival will be given a golden flower trophy to display in their home–however, obtaining this item is a lot easier than it seems. The Sunday before the event ends, players can actually rob flowers from other gardens or plant tiles to ensure that their competitors will not succeed.
Your Not Moving Out!
Before New Horizons, keeping your favorite animals grounded in your small village was a constant hassle. At any given time you stepped away from your console for more than a few days, a villager could just decide to pack their bags and head out to the open roads. However, Wild World provided a last-minute saving grace to keeping your favorite friends around that never returned to future Animal Crossing entries. If the player returns to a villager’s home as they are packing up on their scheduled final day, there is indeed a chance they can revert the computer’s course of action. By speaking to the animal repeatedly you could eventually convince them to drop their plans and stay for the foreseeable future.
Donating to Boondox
Animal Crossing has always been littered with secret lore, but were you aware of there being a neighboring town that was so poor the villagers have to resort to eating grilled cheeses made out of only dirt and no bread or cheese? The story of Boondox is insanity, yet Wild World’s most fascinating piece of lore should come as no surprise. According to the game’s secret story told by the post office mail master birds Phyllis and Pete, Boondox is an uncivilized town located north of your village that is in complete poverty.
The player is given the option to donate to this mysterious town they cannot even visit or ever get a glimpse of beyond text. However, the location actually contains a tale you can continue to see unfold by raising more bells. Players can donate up to 6.4 million bells to Boondox in exchange for satisfaction and a few letters containing exclusive wearable head feathers. By eventually donating over three million bells to Boondox, the town will become a booming metropolis renamed “Boondopolis”.
The first Animal Crossing entry on the Nintendo GameCube had no shame holding items locked behind secret passwords, but how about an entire store? The scheming Crazy Redd has always held an infamous business throughout the franchise’s history, yet there was a time where players had to take multiple steps just to see the fox in the flesh. Upon seeing Redd’s tent in town, in Wild World players had to obtain a secret password to enter his pop-up shop. Sometimes Redd would send players his password in a mail letter, but occasionally you could have logged into the game and found no letters from the sneaky seller. To obtain his secret passwords without a letter, players would have to talk to villagers until someone in town would let you in on the codewords to get in the shop.
The Golden Axe Quest
Animal Crossing players could consider helping your villagers make deliveries as the closest activity the game offers in terms of being a fetch-quest, but nothing will ever compare to the legacy of the golden axe item in Wild World. Just when you thought the Nintendo DS entry was packed with odd ins and out, to obtain the golden axe in this game, players had to stumble upon what is known to fans as the “Trading Event”. Upon seeing Joan, players would have to buy a special red turnip that they would then give to Wendall who then trades you a turban. By bringing the turban to Saharah, she will give you a massage chair which you then could pass on to Tortimer. Finally, Toritemer would provide you with a scallop that you would hand to Pascal once you find him on a random day at your town’s beachside.
However, while those are the main steps of the process, characters could intervene with your steps by providing you with two different exchangeable items. As if showing up on specific days and times of the week randomly were not hectic enough, if players happen to receive a country guitar or red vase from Wendall and Saharah retrospectively they would have to visit K.K. Slider and Crazy Redd — if you had to see the latter though, there is a chance you could have been wrapped into another step where the player would have to see Tom Nook to give him a safe. The items obtained for the interventions are photos of either KK Slider or Tom Nook, but once you receive either of those items the entire process listed above would restart again.
Additionally, if players were to repeat all the steps and make it to Pascal, they would be able to obtain the otter’s picture by giving him the scallop for their second occasion — or if they did not get the golden axe on their first try, which is actually possible! This massive quest for one golden tool is certainly something you would only find in a wild world…