Learn the Basics to Getting Started with Animal Crossing

You’ve probably heard all the hype by now about the newest installment of the Animal Crossing series – a game for the Nintendo Switch. While fans eagerly await the release of more details about the game, perhaps at this year’s E3, there are those few that haven’t played Animal Crossing yet but want to get the idea so they can get the newest version. If you’re going to start playing New Leaf on your Nintendo 3Ds, there’s a whole world of Animal Crossing awaiting you that can be overwhelming to learn. But just with any other game, you’re just going to have to play and learn as you go. 

Before you begin, however, and to make things easier for you, we’re going to spend some time discussing the basics of Animal Crossing so you can get started and learn all about the virtual world of talking animals. 

Start Screen

When you first enter the game, you will need to either build your town or move into one you’ve already made. But since you’re new to the game, you probably haven’t. So, you can do a ‘New Save File’ that starts you on a train with the character Rover to your randomized town layout. Rover is one of the many recurring animal characters you will come across in the game. Here is where you will also pick your player and town name. Keep it simple so that other players can easily spell your name when trading, and don’t enter any empty spaces before you type the name. 

Getting Started

On this train ride, your friend Rover will make a call to one of his buddies to make sure you have a place to stay, and upon arrival to the train station, you will meet Tom Nook, a bipedal Japanese raccoon dog, also known as a tanuki. Tom Nook will lend you money to buy one of four houses with the agreement that you will pay him back and help at his shop. After picking the one you like, head back to Tom’s shop to start doing chores for him, as you won’t be able to save your game until you complete a few of these, which you can do at the rotation Gyroid statue in front of your house.

Basic Controls

These are the control shortcuts you should know:

  • A: Talk, open door, shake a tree, use tool (catch bugs, cast lure, swing ax), read signs, activate stereo and furniture animations (if available)
  • B: Pick up and put away item, cancel action (back to the previous screen), hold to run (shoulder buttons will work as well if you want to give that finger a break)
  • X: Check the map, multi-item selection (when selling items or organizing letters)
  • Z: Switch on lights indoors
  • L: Grab single item when in menu
  • Z, L, R: Stop playing an NES game
  • C-Stick: Work out (will only work when Aerobics are in session)

Visiting Other Towns

To visit other towns, which is hugely beneficial for advancing in the game, you or a friend will need to have a second memory card with different town data. Once you have that, you can go to the train station and get a ticket. You can either travel indirectly or directly, and the difference is that you can still play on the first memory card, and any other remaining players, despite your absence. With direct travel, you will be penalized upon your return to town if any data was changed and no player can play with the first memory card while you’re gone. 

When you get to a new town, you should visit the police station to receive a tourist map that will help you explore the village. Each village you visit will have utterly different fruit than yours that you can buy and take home to plant new fruit trees. You can also purchase items from Tom Nook’s store that are different from those you have.