- So, we've started a new feature over at our GameCareerGuide.com educational site, which includes analysis of the design of major titles from interesting folks. The first one is an in-depth analysis of Animal Crossing: Wild World for the DS from the saintly (and just slightly crazy) Eric-Jon Waugh.

It's actually called 'Ambition And Compulsory Design In Animal Crossing', and here's a brief extract: "Animal Crossing is sort of an anti-game - if by "game" we're talking about a goal-oriented production where you collect 100% of the allotted trinkets before blowing up the last boss real good. Or if we're thinking of a sandbox, where the player is left unsupervised to conduct middle school science experiments with a game's reality. Neither is this a "god game", where you're given an omnipotent and omniscient overview of a certain scenario - resulting in a sort of a sandbox through a telescope."

"The best way I can think of to explain Animal Crossing, strictly in modern videogame terms, is Shenmue without the plot. This isn't a minor distinction, though the reasons aren't as straightforward as they sound. In Shenmue the plot serves as a vague MacGuffin, creating a cognitive dissonance in the player between what knowledge of videogame law and the protagonist's sense of honor (a fun parallel, that) compels the player to do, and what alternative paths the gameworld thrusts before the player." The full piece is lots more 'wacky' fun along those lines!