Animal Crossing's premise is simple: live your life however you want in a village full of talking animals. However, like with most villages, this one has its fair share of myths and legends, some bizarre, others that might make you think twice about booting up -- or resetting -- this old Gamecube game again.
Like all good legends, many of those surrounding Animal Crossing have a grain of truth in them, be it rooted in mythology or the germs of ideas that developed into features later in the series. Then there are those that grow and develop in fan communities and still have a life of their own, refusing to be disproved despite the fact that the game is almost two decades old.
Let's start by introducing you to one of the most feared creatures in Animal Crossing legends.
This is Mac. The French call him Brutus. That's about as close as you'll get to a bulldog called Brutus in Animal Crossing, and he doesn't even appear in the Gamecube version, the one that spawned the legend of Brutus the Bulldog.
Like all mythical monsters, stories of Brutus have changed with re-tellings, and an ever wider variety of disasters ends up being attributed to him. To some, he is a plain villager -- a purple bulldog who moves in one day and behaves oddly. He'll send letters in binary code, and when you arrive at his home, your game immediately freezes. Then, he disappears when you restart the game.
Others describe him in a much more sinister fashion. Like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's hellhounds in The Hound of the Baskervilles, some say Brutus is a black dog with glowing red eyes. Upon meeting him, he systematically deletes your village, row by row, column by column…
Some myths are easier to believe. For example, it was widely thought that walking on a tree in Animal Crossing would prevent it from growing. This one might not be so strange if you think about it since most saplings really shouldn't be walked on.
I firmly believed this one, to the point where it became a habit to give saplings a wide berth while sprinting through town. There's also the one about trees not growing as fast in the winter.
A lot of this likely stems from the fact that trees seem to die so easily in the original Animal Crossing, but success rates still depend only on where they are planted in relation to other objects -- not seasons or being trampled on.
With the exception of some personal interactions with the storekeeper in Wild World and City Folk, Tom Nook appears to live solely for business. However, many believed if you go to Nook's store in Animal Crossing between midnight and 2 a.m., you can see a more casual Tom Nook. Hit the back of it with your shovel three times, and then go inside: Tom Nook will be there in his
Hit the back of it with your shovel three times, and then go inside: Tom Nook will be there in his PJs. There's a very good reason behind this myth, though: it's true in the Japanese version of the Gamecube game.
And Tommy and Timmy? There's no evidence provided that they are related to Nook, other than similarities in their names, despite the numerous myths to the contrary. They're not really his nephews or sons. As Nook's Wild World conversations show, they are simply his employees.
Resetti has a couple of myths of his own, too. Some players said that you could find a breakable rock in town, shatter it with your shovel, and go inside to find Resetti's house. Like the pajamas "myth", this one was actually true in the Japanese Gamecube version of Animal Crossing, too. But it's also interesting to see the foreshadowing of add-ons in future games, from the Reset Surveillance Center in City Folk to New Leaf's breakable rocks.
The other Resetti myth is not so pleasant. Many circulated the idea that if you reset the game too many times, Resetti completely deletes the game, forcing you to begin again. What really happens is a bit different, though. After you reset for the seventh time, Resetti threatens to delete your game, and then the screen goes black, only to return to Resetti again a few moments later, giving the player quite a shock. What happens after the eighth time, though?
As is true for most seafaring people, Animal Crossing players have amassed their fair share of fishing myths. Understandably, one of them centers around the living fossil -- the Coelacanth. This prized catch is the rarest of them all in the original game, with the highest price tag, too.
Those without the benefit of a player's guide -- the only reliable gaming resource before the age of comprehensive Internet walkthroughs -- believed the Coelacanth could only be caught during spring or summer, and during a rainstorm. Yet in actuality, it can be caught during the winter, too, if the weather is snowy.
The most notorious fishing myth, though, and the one that still circulates, is that of the whale. The story goes like this: at random times when you visit the Island in Animal Crossing, you will see a gigantic fish shadow appear under Kapp'n's boat. If you happen to employ a glitch that allows you to walk on water, you will encounter the whale and can even try to catch it.
If you succeed, though, the game immediately freezes, as the shadow is said to be a filler, with no real data attached to it. Tales of spotting the great beastie abound, but only one photo exists -- the one you see above -- with all YouTube videos alleging to show it having been removed.
There is also a myth about the Island itself. Several gamers reported that if the GBA connector cable is not connected just right, or if there happened to be a glitch during the connection, the Island inhabitant would have no head. It's difficult to say whether the Haunted Island myth has any merit to it, though stranger things have happened with glitches.
Then there's Kapp'n himself. Many believe he is a beaked variety of turtle. However, the truth may make you respect Kapp'n a bit more the next time you are in his boat. Why? Kapp'n is a kappa, a Japanese water spirit.
These spirits are thought to be typically less malevolent toward humans than other mythological demons, and the art of bonesetting is said to have been passed on to humans from kappa; they are also known for keeping their promises.
Kappa are thought to have a darker side as well, though, often drowning people in the water for sport. (Oh, and they like cucumbers.) However, the defining feature of a kappa is its head, which has a round, bald bowl at the top that fills with water. If the bowl empties, the kappa loses its supernatural powers, which might help explain why the only time Kapp'n is wearing head gear is when he is away from the sea in Wild World and City Folk.
Let us know in the comments if you have experienced any of these myths yourself, or if you know of others we left out!