Let's talk about Bill. You might know a Bill in your life; chances are you know of many. Perhaps they go by 'William' or 'Will' or 'Billy' or something else entirely. Maybe you knew them very well, or maybe you didn't know them at all. I myself have known several. But I'm not talking about any Bill in real life.
I'm talking about Bill from a video game.
"But Tex," you say, "there are like a thousand different Bills in video games too, MORON"
Maybe. But how many of them are ducks?
This is Bill. Bill the Duck, from the Animal Crossing
series. He's a jock, who is often self-absorbed and narcissistic, with just
enough redeeming qualities to make getting to know him worthwhile. He was one of the characters featured on the cover of Animal Crossing
for the Gamecube, as well as Animal Crossing: City Folk
for the Wii. I did not play either of these games.
The only game in the series that I have played is the installment that was released for the DS: Animal Crossing: Wild World
. It was given to me as a birthday present in 2009, only a few days before a big move from Winnipeg over to a town I despised at the time (and sometimes still do), where my family has lived ever since. The move itself was lackluster, and I was furious with my parents, with the world, with the military, with everything, because I did not want to leave Winnipeg. I was having a fantastic time, and it was being brutally cut short.
I am not kidding when I say that everything
about that move went poorly for me. It took almost a month for me to find a proper friend that I could actually trust in the new town, and beyond that it wasn't until the next August
where I began to encounter people, places, and experiences that started to make the move worth it. Recent discussions with both of my parents have revealed that neither of them was very happy about the move either, so I have gotten some six-years-late vindication.
I could talk about that all day, but let's get back to Bill.Wild World
was brand new when we were moving, and it was addicting. It was an escape from reality, a reality that was frustrating me without end. It was calm, it was relaxing, and it was fun. I spent a lot of time playing the game those first several months, as my town's population slowly shifted and grew around me.
The first villager to join my town was Bill. At first, I had a bit of trouble connecting with him. His attitude to start off was a bit standoffish, but I continued to interact with him anyway because the alternative was having Tom Nook inquiring about my next house payment. Bill warmed up to me rather quickly, and I slowly warmed up to him. Although his dialogue was often repeated (to the point where I could sometimes predict exactly what he was going to say), his easygoing nature revealed itself and it was always heartwarming to see him. Some of the other villagers came and went; others stayed put just like Bill. But none of them really connected
with me like Bill did. He was the first, and the best. Every time I turned on the game, I sought him out, to see if there was anything he needed. I gave him presents whenever I could. Sometimes I just walked beside him as he wandered around town.
Eventually, I grew bored with the game. There's only so many times that I can keep myself focused and entertained with the same repetitive tasks, and while I liked Bill, he wasn't the same as a real person (nor would he ever be). So I started to slip away. First for weeks at a time, then months.
But every time I turned the game on, there was Bill. Waiting patiently, loyally. Heartbroken that I had vanished, and so happy that I had returned. It made turning the game back off rather sad, and as far as I know, he's still waiting for me in there, even now. I don't think I have even turned on the game in the past year.
I never really cared for any of the characters in Animal Crossing
; none of them truly struck a chord with me.
So when Nintendo announced the Animal Crossing
amiibo card series... I hesitated. On the one hand... that's asking for too much. Over 100 cards in the first series alone (of which we know there will be at least one more) with 7 cards per pack, costing $6.99 per pack here in Canada. You don't know which cards you're getting. Collecting them all could become a nightmare.
But I saw Bill.
So I decided that I would buy three packs, hoping that my favorite villager would show up.
Bill must have been thinking the same thing, because he did.
Welcome back, Bill.