For this blog post, I wanted to explore the evolution of Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing” game covers. Animal Crossing was one of many Nintendo games that I was exposed to when I was younger and since then, there have been many games released relating to the franchise. When it comes to design, I find that Nintendo designers create very beautiful animations that call for nice game play. There have been 5 main Animal Crossing games released between 2001 and 2020.
From 2001 to 2020, it seems almost too evident that there would be a change implemented to the design of the game, whether it would be the logo or actual design features of the game. In this case, the title logo of the game actually stayed almost the exact same throughout. The title logo looks like it is emulating a wooden painted sign. The background is brown, which depicts the “wood” that the title was painted on, and the title itself is in yellow. The game title font appears to be a slab serif and after doing some research, it has been suggested that the font may be called “Fink Heavy” (part of the Rat Fink font family) and was produced by House Industries. Looking at the first game (starting on the left), the title looks very flat. There is some shading behind the wood to give a dimensional effect, but there is not much there. It appears that throughout the years the game title still did not really adjust drastically; however, in the latest game, the title has a lot more dimensionality to it. There is more contrast in the wood texture and the shadows bouncing off the letters are a lot more prominent. The light source seems to have been clearly determined as the light reflects off the top of the logo and becomes darker at the bottom. The game titles also have the extended game name attached somehow: games 1,2, and 3 have the title dangling from an extra sign, whereas 4 and 5 have it attached on the top right corner.
In terms of the illustration style that the game went through, the covers do not actually show how drastic the change was. The graphics were improved and looked a lot more neat and smooth. One can see the evolution of graphics just by looking at the way leaves are depicted. The forms seem very two dimensional and they started off with two distinct colours and then transformed gradually into having leaves that portray depth through smooth gradients on the leaves.
The intention of the game is to create the feel of a community and I think that is achieved through the designers approach of adding more characters to a glimpse of scenery and creating joyful expressions of everyone’s face. Another successful part of the designs is how full of colour they are – and the more you look at, the more you discover. Koji Takahashi was in charge of character design and later design director of the Animal Crossing games, along with other Nintendo games. It is really interesting to see how the characters and features of the game became a lot more rounded out and smoother, with higher quality as newer ones came out, which is exactly what is expected.
Links to images I used (ordered from oldest game to newest) // (I could not change the size of the image I uploaded, hopefully it works when I post it, but here are clearer references)