I keep thinking back to that article that I reblogged about the latest Animal Crossing and this song keeps running through my head. I don’t think I fully appreciated it until recently.
Oh man, all these people are playing Animal Crossing New Leaf and it’s their first Animal Crossing game ever and they’re totally missing out on some poignant story elements.
In each game you can talk to Sable every day and she’ll gradually open up to you and tell you more about her life.
When the Able Sisters were young their parents passed away. Mable was too young to understand the situation, and Labelle was older and frustrated and ran away to the big city leaving Sable to act as the sole parent to Mable. These events left Mable introverted and withdrawn. She works so hard because she had to take on the responsibility of raising Mable after their parents died and her big sister abandoned her.
In Animal Crossing City Folk, you can enter Gracie’s shop to buy high-end clothing and one of her employees is Labelle, the lost Able sister. Through a series of conversations with various characters you can trick Labelle into dropping her phoney proper accent and speaking in a more relaxed “country” accent. She opens up and talks about her past and her family. In New Leaf, Labelle has moved home. In the back of her shop you can see a newspaper clipping and a ribbon that used to be part of her old uniform.
If you consider that newspaper clipping compared to the backstory from the previous games it paints a sad picture. Labelle moved to the city to get away from her family but she fell on hard times and her family took her back. People who haven’t played the previous games don’t realize what a big deal it is to see those three sisters finally reunited in the same store!
In Wild World, Sable would get sad sometimes around January. If you talk to her consistently she’ll tell you this story about Tom Nook:
“Well, the first letter I got from him arrived at just around this time of year… The other day, before bed, I pulled that letter out… and just looked at it. Tee hee! It was adorable! Sure, the handwriting was a little messy, but… You could hear his determination in every word of that letter… Sweet, young Tom Nook… His call to arms, his ethos, was “Dreams before money!” He was so pure that people wondered if he’d survive this crazy old world. I did too. Every night before falling asleep, I would wish him… ‘Please keep Tom Nook’s pure spirit protected,” I’d whisper in the darkness. “Keep him safe from the apathy that breeds in the alleys of the big city…’
I don’t know why I’ve told you so much about Tom Nook and I… All those memories of our shared youth must bore you. Please forgive me.
[Tell Me More!]
…Ohh, OK, if you insist!
“The Tom Nook that left for the big city… He sent me letters quite frequently, actually. One day, I received a wooden box, not a letter. When I opened it, I was quite astonished!
Oh goodness, no! Are you kidding?! [NAME], I think you’ve been watching too many made-for-TV movies! …Ohh, I’m so sorry. Heh, I didn’t mean to snap. That just took me off guard.
No, inside the box, there was a pair of fancy, burnt-orange colored… scissors. Incredibly strong and sharp scissors! The finest scissors I’d ever laid eyes on. The enclosed letter said, “Happy birthday, Sable!” So…sweet… At the time, I was so busy that I’d even forgotten it was my birthday. To think Tom Nook had remembered it… I’m sure life was hard for Tom Nook in the city during that time… I know his job paid poorly, so for him to buy those scissors for me… When I think about it, it makes me so happy that I cry!
Oh really, [NAME]… You want to hear my memories again? I’m warning you, not all my memories are fond ones you know…
Well, we shared a lot of good times, Tom Nook and I. Before there was an observatory in dear old [TOWN NAME]… We used to climb up the roof when we wanted to look at the stars… Ohh, yes! We even made constellations together, I remember! I made one called the “Star Shirt.” Tom Nook’s looked like one of those old-time markets. He called it… “The Farmer’s Market Bargain Bin Constellation.” Ohh that takes me back…
Yes, it is… Shortly after that, Tom Nook moved to the big city… Yes, he left to chase his dreams… When he returned to [TOWN NAME], he came back a totally different soul… I still believe that… if he had just clung to those sweet memories like I do… he would have shaken off the heartsickness of those city years… Memories can be sad, but they can also save you…”
There seems to be a general theme in the Able Sisters storyline of the city representing running away. The implication is that the fast lifestyle of the city can make you sick with ennui and that taking it easy in a small town is the cure. The Animal Crossing series, as a whole, is about not running.
The literal act of “running” is the only thing that the game ‘punishes’ you for doing - you’ll destroy flowers, scare away fish and bugs, and gradually tear away the grass. But the game still gives you the option to run, because it’s about choosing to slow down and enjoy the journey. It’s not about beginnings or endings, it’s about the calmness between those events. It’s sort of like the video game version of the Japanese concept of ma. Animal Crossing is a really beautiful thing and I’m so happy it exists.
I’m not a big fan of candy corn, but this is brilliant.
I let my dog (Ellie) out into the backyard about 2.5 hours ago while I was trying to get my daughter to sleep. Half an hour later, no sign of Ellie. I get my daughter to bed and check outside. Ellie’s nowhere to be found; a section of the fence surrounding the yard has fallen down. I was out until 2AM scouring the neighborhood for her, both on foot and by car. It’s about 3:10 now, my dog has been missing since half past midnight, I’m tired, I’m worried, and I’m scared that if I go to bed I’ll miss Ellie finding her way home.
This is not what I need right now.
In 2010, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was detained in Iraq on suspicion of passing classified U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks. On Monday, after more than three years in military jail, his trial finally began at Fort Meade, Md. The 25-year-old intelligence analyst admitted earlier this year to passing documents to…
In 2010, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was detained in Iraq on suspicion of passing classified U.S. government documents to WikiLeaks. On Monday, after more than three years in military jail, his trial finally began at Fort Meade, Md.
The 25-year-old intelligence analyst admitted earlier this year to passing documents to the whistle-blowing website, though he denies the charge of “aiding the enemy,” an offense that carries a life sentence or the death penalty. Manning said at a pretrial hearing in February that he leaked information, including diplomatic cables and U.S. military war logs from Afghanistan and Iraq, in order to “spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy.”
Below is a list of 10 revelations disclosed by Manning’s leaked documents that offer insight into the breadth and scope of what he revealed, help explain his motivation for leaking, and provide context for the ongoing trial. The list, in no particular order, is far from comprehensive but encompasses some of the most significant information brought to light by the leaked documents.
- During the Iraq War, U.S. authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape, and murder by Iraqi police and soldiers, according to thousands of field reports.
- There were 109,032 “violent deaths” recorded in Iraq between 2004 and 2009, including 66,081 civilians. Leaked records from the Afghan War separately revealed coalition troops’ alleged role in killing at least 195 civilians in unreported incidents, one reportedly involving U.S. service members machine-gunning a bus, wounding or killing 15 passengers.
- The U.S. Embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any European Union country that opposed genetically modified crops, with U.S. diplomats effectively working directly for GM companies such as Monsanto.
- British and American officials colluded in a plan to mislead the British Parliament over a proposed ban on cluster bombs.
- In Baghdad in 2007, a U.S. Army helicopter gunned down a group of civilians, including two Reuters news staff.
- U.S. special operations forces were conducting offensive operations inside Pakistan despite sustained public denials and statements to the contrary by U.S. officials.
- A leaked diplomatic cable provided evidence that during an incident in 2006, U.S. troops in Iraq executed at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old, then called in an airstrike to destroy the evidence. The disclosure of this cable was later a significant factor in the Iraqi government’s refusal to grant U.S. troops immunity from prosecution beyond 2011, which led to U.S. troops withdrawing from the country.
- A NATO coalition in Afghanistan was using an undisclosed “black” unit of special operations forces to hunt down targets for death or detention without trial. The unit was revealed to have had a kill-or-capture list featuring details of more than 2,000 senior figures from the Taliban and al-Qaida, but it had in some cases mistakenly killed men, women, children, and Afghan police officers.
- The U.S. threatened the Italian government in an attempt to influence a court case involving the indictment of CIA agents over the kidnapping of an Egyptian cleric. Separately, U.S. officials were revealed to have pressured Spanish prosecutors to dissuade them from investigating U.S. torture allegations, secret “extraordinary rendition” flights, and the killing of a Spanish journalist by U.S. troops in Iraq.
- In apparent violation of a 1946 U.N. convention, Washington initiated a spying campaign in 2009 that targeted the leadership of the U.N. that sought to gather top officials’ private encryption keys, credit card details, and biometric data.
Although Manning’s disclosures totaled some 720,000 records—the largest security breach in U.S. history—the leak still amounted to less than 1 percent of the almost 77 million documents reportedly classified by U.S. government agencies in 2010. The soldier’s actions are at the center of an ongoing debate about a spike in extreme state secrecy in the U.S. since Sept. 11—an issue regularly covered here on Future Tense—that has resulted in several aggressive leak investigations and surveillance of journalists. During the first day of Manning’s trial, the government accused the soldier of indirectly assisting al-Qaida and leaking the information to “gain the notoriety he craved.” Manning’s defense attorney described him as “young, naive, but good intentioned,” passing documents to WikiLeaks in a bid to “make the world a better place.”
Manning’s trial is expected to last through the summer.
Wow wow wow. I’m aligned more with the hero side of Manning than traitor.
The stupidest thing the government could do at this point is to turn Bradley Manning into a martyr.