Of all of Nintendo's family-friendly franchises, Animal Crossing might be the most family-friendly. The characters are all cartoon animals, there's no combat whatsoever, and the whole point is about being a good neighbor. That's why so many people use Animal Crossing as stress relief. It's a laid-back, low stakes experience to immerse yourself in.
But despite its cute exterior, there are some ominous secrets hiding just beneath the surface. The more you peek behind the curtain, the more you'll find that Animal Crossing may be far less wholesome than its appearance would lead you to believe.
In fairness, some of these gamers need to read between the lines to discover what's hiding underneath. The creepiest parts of Animal Crossing come from rumor and glitches, but they are dark and disturbing nonetheless.
These are 20 Dark Facts About Animal Crossing That Fans Don't Know.
20 Mr. Resetti Makes Children Cry
Mr. Resetti is a constant in Animal Crossing. He's the angry mole that berates players if they don't save their game. But he might have been too angry for some gamers. Nintendo received reports that Mr. Resetti's rage made some players cry. Because of this, the character was made optional in New Leaf. Players have to build his surveillance center before he'll appear.
19 The Alien Broadcast
A TV is a normal furniture piece players can buy in Animal Crossing. There are even special broadcasts depending on what time of day you watch. Some are spookier than others. In New Leaf, if players turn their TV on at 3:33 AM, the static will be interrupted by an alien broadcast. The alien will deliver a gibberish message and, at 3:34, disappear. With no explanation.
18 Your Neighbors Are Monsters
Some of the animals aren't just animals. They're inspired by Yokai, Japanese folklore monsters. Tom Nook, the shopkeeper, is a tanooki who are known for their wealth and prosperity. Luna who runs the Dream Suite is a Tapir. Myth says they eat dreams. But Kapp'n might be the scariest. He's a Kappa, and they would eat humans in their myths.
17 Breaking And Entering
Nintendo doesn't want to encourage crime. That might be why they made this change to the original Animal Crossing. In the Japanese version, players could actually break into Tom Nook's store after hours. They'd just bust the door open with their shovel. Oddly, Nook is more upset about getting woken up than potentially robbed. He'll even still do business with you.
16 The Horrors Of Resetting
Resetting your game is highly discouraged in Animal Crossing. Lots of bad things will happen if you do. If you don't save before leaving town and reset before coming back, the game takes all your money and items away. Worse, it turns your face into a black-eyed nightmare. It's supposed to resemble a Gyroid to remind players to save. But it always comes without warning.
15 Seeds Of Destruction
Seeds were an interesting addition to Animal Crossing Wild World. They randomly dropped things like trees and buildings into the map to build a new town. Through a glitch, players were able to access seeds and cause chaos. They'd visit other player's towns through wi-fi and drop seeds to destroy them. Blocking doors, creating new buildings, making paths inaccessible. Sometimes even crashing whole games.
Flea infestations could happen in the Japanese Animal Crossing. Your neighbors, who are animals, would flail about complain about being itchy. It's mostly an excuse for players to catch fleas for their bug collection, but it doesn't say a lot about the town's hygiene level for outbreaks to happen. This mechanic returned in New Leaf, but more subdued.
13 The Gyroids' Hidden History
Gyroids are those funny fire hydrant statue things outside the player's house. In-game, they're where you save, but they have a darker history in the real world. Gyroids are based on Haniwa, clay figures used in Japanese funerals. They worked like headstones and were believed to contain the soul of the deceased. So what exactly are players saving when they save at their gyroid?
12 The Sad Backstory Of The Able Sisters
As NPCs, most players likely won't pay the Able Sisters much mind, but interacting with these hedgehog seamstresses will reveal their sad past. After befriending her, the older sister Sable will tell you their parents passed away in a car crash when they were young. Sable had to raise her sisters on her own. That's heavy stuff for a game like Animal Crossing.
11 Curse Of The Pharaoh
Customizable clothing is a staple of Animal Crossing. There's a huge variety of outfits available in-game. But one is actually cursed. The King Tut Mask, part of the Egyptian Look, will bring bad luck onto the wearer. Players will trip, drop floating items, and bugs will attack them more often. The only upside is that the mask gets them insurance money.
10 Aika Village, The CreepyPasta Town
New Leaf both let gamers build their own towns and visit other people's. But some took advantage of this in scary ways. One of the most infamous player-made towns is Aika Village, an eerie vacant burg inspired by Silent Hill. It's actually an effective Creepypasta, guiding visitors through a horror story using only Animal Crossing mechanics. It's unique among gaming Creepypastas.
9 Born From Loneliness
Animal Crossing has always been about making connections in a community. That makes sense when you learn the game's origin. It was born from developer Katsuya Eguchi's loneliness after moving to Kyoto to work for Nintendo. He wanted to recreate the experience of moving to a new place. Getting a job, making new friends, and filling your empty house with furniture. It's a very human approach to game design, and almost sad in some respects.
8 Brutus The Glitch Bulldog
Way back in 2002, rumors circulated about a glitch-causing purple bulldog character in the GameCube Animal Crossing. His name was Brutus. After moving into town, he'd send messages in binary and entering his house makes the game crash. When players restart, he and his house are gone. This character has never been confirmed as real, but Nintendo France named a later bulldog character after the legend.
7 Wear Proper Headgear
Pascal the otter is noted for his laid-back, philosophical approach to life. With his calling everybody "Maaan," he's supposed to come across like a hippie. Some of the villagers have other ideas though. According to some of them, Pascal suffered a sports injury to his head as a kid and has been this way since. Are they implying Pascal has brain damage?
6 The Saucy History Of One Painting
The paintings players can buy in-game are real paintings, but Nintendo maybe should have looked beyond aesthetics. One of them depicts a lady of the evening. In fairness to them, it's not obvious. The painting is A Bar At The Folies-Bergère by Manet, or "Proper Painting" in-game. While one could assume the lady depicted is just the bartender, most art historians believe she's an escort.
5 The Devil You Know
Unlike every other character, Jack the Halloween Czar isn't an animal. Appearing only on Halloween, his Jack-o-lantern head hides his true face. So what is Jack? Going by legend, he might be a cursed human. Jack-o-lanterns come from an Irish story about a guy named Jack who tricked the Devil. As revenge, Satan cursed him to wander Earth forever. Has Jack wandered into Animal Crossing?
4 Beware Of Otters Bearing Gifts
At first glance, Lyle the otter seems like any other NPC. But don't talk to him, it's a trap. Lyle is a particularly aggressive insurance salesman. He'll wait outside the player's house, follow them if he's ignored, and won't leave them alone until they buy an insurance policy from him. And for the cost of 3000 bells, they only get 100 bell payouts. It's all a real world scam dressed up in an otter's skin.
3 This Turkey Needs A Pardon
Franklin the Turkey is an odd bird. He only appears on Thanksgiving and seems to regret doing so. Players will find him cowering behind objects, and he'll tell them that Mayor Tortimer invited him to town for the Harvest Festival under false pretenses. This implies the animals invited Franklin there to eat him. As a turkey on Thanksgiving, we guess he's right to be paranoid.
2 The Beast Master
Animal Crossing wasn't always going to be the low-stakes village simulator it became. The game's original conception was way different. In the beginning, it was going to be a story-driven RPG. Players would be helpless humans who'd need to recruit the animals for combat. With the in-game clock, certain animals would only be available at certain times. This in-game clock mechanic is all that survived.
1 Localization Issues
Cultural sensibilities play a big part in localization. It's why some Animal Crossing characters got their genders changed for America. Gracie the Giraffe, the game's resident fashion police, was a man in Japan named Grace. Due to the character's design and effeminate personality, Nintendo of America changed Gracie to female to avoid the character being seen as a gay stereotype.