With Animal Crossing coming this year for Switch, maybe you’ve been reliving your memories of playing it for the first time. What was your first Animal Crossing? GameCube? Nintendo DS? If you lived in Japan 18 years ago, perhaps it was on the Nintendo 64.

Complete In Box makes its long-awaited return today with an episode about the true origins of Nintendo’s critter-filled life-simulator series. On April 14, 2001, Nintendo released Animal Forest for the Nintendo 64. Originally intended for the ill-fated 64DD disk drive accessory, the game was moved to a standard cartridge and released just a few months before the GameCube version, which is what ended up coming to the West first.

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The original Nintendo 64 Animal Forest isn’t that different from the GameCube version. But to explore the differences that are there, plus get some insight into the development history of the game, we spoke with Animal Crossing expert Kelsey Lewin, a historian, YouTube video creator, and owner of the Pink Gorilla retro game store in Seattle.

This season of Complete In Box, in which we take a look back at classic games along with the box, the manual, and all the other stuff they originally came with, will run every Wednesday for the next six weeks. Hope you enjoy it!

Features Editor, Kotaku. Japanese curry aficionado. Author of the books Power-Up: How Japanese Video Games Gave the World an Extra Life and Final Fantasy V from Boss Fight Books.

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DISCUSSION

I lived in Boston in a house with a bunch of dudes from the music scene when the Gamecube one came out. I dont recall the specifics, but I remember we all had our little characters and shared a village (not sure if Im remembering correctly) - but one dude woke up early one morning and harvested all of the golden fruit we had been working on for himself - then pretended to go back to sleep, and when we all woke up to check on the progress of the fruit it was gone and we were SO PISSED.

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