WARNING: THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS. I REPEAT, THIS CONTAINS SPOILERS.
Ah, video games. It sure is a fun pass-time for us isn't it? We do enjoy entering into another universe and partaking in different tasks to receive some sort of satisfaction or enjoyment out of the things that we are designed to do. From jumping up platforms to rotating pieces into place to shooting countless hordes of baddies, it's all a ton of fun that we simply enjoy soaking up. Recently I have come across two games that have been taking up a great amount of my attention. Well, it's actually three, but I didn't know I was going to get Scribblenauts Unlimited as a gift. The two that I'm referring to are the ones in the title, no duh. As I kept playing each game, bouncing from surviving in a dystopian underwater city torn apart by rampant objectivism to running around a colorful, bouncy town bustling with talking animals and currency in the form of bells, I started to find myself connected the two together to certain aspects. It could be that perhaps these two games share something similar to them that we are not aware of. Now, I know what you're thinking, how can a shooter with old-timey music be anything at all like a life simulator where you can get pieces of furniture in the form of a leaf? Well, goddamn it, I found a few things that might prove my insane concept to be semi-plausible. Sure, I could be pulling out some stuff out of my ass, but if some guy can say that all the Pixar films are taking place in the same time period (save for Brave), then I can do something of this caliber as well.
5. The economy is entirely up to your tampering
We have this thing called an economy. Supposedly it's keeping everything in order in terms of our finances. Odd, considering most economies nowadays are basically going down the shitter, but in the world of video games we can escape the harsh reality of finding it hard to purchase more video games by clinging on to the few we got and playing them ad nauseum. Another brilliant thing that games allow us to do is not worry about the true complexity that goes with tampering or managing an economy. Geopolitics, graphs, currency exchanges? Forget that, every pixelated wonderland that we go to keeps everything running like the world in the 20s, with no depression to break the good times away. Well...at least not an economical depression. Thankfully, in these games you have the ability to mend the economy to your favor, so that you can reap more of the benefits. And by god, it's sure is nice to be able to be more control of your finances. Video games almost manage to give that beautiful illusion that you're the 1% sometimes. Ahhhh...oh right the list!
So how do both of them carry out the way to swindle yourself from some economic benefits? Well, for starters, both of them involve you being able to tamper with prices that are set in the particular universe. In Bioshock, there's a straight-forward way to do this, which involves simply hacking into machines and having them reduce the price for you. This is the only and also problematic way to get lower prices because if you don't hack the machine properly, you are hurt. Animal Crossing New Leaf, on the other hand, allows you to barter with certain citizens to have them reduce the price for you. There's also being able to enact an ordinance that allows your town to be more wealthy which increases the prices of what people sell you, but also gives you more money when you sell something to them. Not to mention that you can put something for sale as cheap or as expensive as you want in the Re-Tail store. A trade system is also evident in both universes since you will have to do fetch quests for people to obtain new items that can help you. Sometimes they fair out well, other times...not so much. But with the bad, you can always turn it around and make it a good. Whether it's selling something you don't want in ACNL or robbing bodies in Bioshock. The differences in both games is that Bioshock has a more personal "every-man-for-himself" economic strategy which means that you have to look out for number one and use your own cunning to find ways to make the best of the economic climate while ACNL has you more in control of the economy and more outlets to reap its benefits.
4. You have to scavenge to survive and be cautious of what's around you.
Whilst there is a semblance of an economy verging in both worlds, there is no doubt that you need to do a hell of a lot of work to enjoy it properly. I mean, sure, I made it sound like a cake walk, and in some senses it is. But that's when you get with the handling of the money and doing financial tasks. When it comes to finding ways to obtain the money or something that can help you get money, you have to be very cautious. Every corner that you see, you have to analyze it carefully. You have to clean it out of anything that it could possess, for anything that you find could eventually aid you. If you're not careful, you could get something that could mildly annoy you or mean complete disaster. There's a whole slew of objects out there that are destined to ruin your day and make it difficult for you to enjoy spending your currency as frivolously as a teenage girl in an American Apparel store. So you have to keep one eye on your wallet, and another on your ass.
Perhaps for some of you it seems simple to associate Bioshock as following this practice. After all, you rob desks, safes, boxes, corpses of people you kill, corpses of people you haven't killed but probably would have if it you were confronted with them alive and many more for money, health, potions, tools and so on and so forth. Sometimes you just find them lying about and take them before anyone else can. You find random booze that you drink and depending on how careful you are, this booze could be useful to you or it would have been a waste of your functional liver. Then if you have enough money from all the dead bodies you've robbed, you can go to a vending machine and either buy some more helpful items or hack the machine and then buy those helpful items. Also, as you walk along, you have to be careful of security cameras or other scavengers or otherwise you'll be broken like a chocolate bar being shared by two really hungry survivors. How in the hell does this compare to a place where you're the freakin' mayor?
Well, the thing is that in ACNL, you can't just wire all of the town's bell revenue and put it in your pockets. No, like everyone else in the world, you gotta do something to get the money. Not to mention, you'll be owing a lot of debts to a raccoon by the name of Tom Nook. So, unless you want to suffer a horrible fate or every person in middle class America, you gotta go out there and get yourself some bells. You first have to get/buy tools such as a net, a shovel, a fishing rod and a watering can. Once you have that, you catch bugs and fish, dig up fossils, break rocks with your shovel or hit the rock, hoping that money will spontaneously come out of it and shake trees to get fruit and other things out of them. Once you do all that, you then sell them to the Re-Tail shop for some bells. Then you have to go pay Tom Nook by an ATM sort of device and once that's done, it's off to another debt for a bigger house. Oh and if you think that's just simply all fine and dandy, you have to consider the risk of pitfall seeds, scorpions, spiders and maybe the odd mosquito. That and then townsfolk will want to sell you shit you may not want to buy and you have to make public works projects to make them happy, which sucks out some of your bells if you feel like helping the cause...which you should to get others to help as well. Luckily, you can go to an island and capture some more special bugs and fish, but you have to pay a guy named Kapp'n a few hundred bells to go there. And even then , you can only take 40 items back to your town to sell them.
So basically what I'm saying here is that in each game you have objects of desire that aid you in your journey by either means of protection or economy, there are things that you can use but aren't the greatest of benefits, you have threats that you must evade and/or overcome and that you might have to do meticulous tasks in order to reap a greater benefit. Perhaps in ACNL, you don't get as drastic of a blow as in Bioshock since you can save your bells at that ATM device I was talking about earlier and hardly ever get your bells stolen unless you buy something from Redd. To be fair though, even in the Bioshock you have Vita-Chambers that bring you back to life, and depending on how you're playing it, it doesn't deal that much of a critical blow to you. Plus, both do share the biggest threat of them all...bees!
3. The cuter denizens are the most helpful
There's a saying that goes "Beware the cute ones". I don't know who said it but they basically meant that if you see someone that looks innocent and charming, you should be wary of their motives or actions. For it could simply be a facade that is trying to snag you into something much more sinister and catastrophic. In this case, that's not really what's going on. The people that look at you and instantly give you diabetes are the ones that have the insulin to help you back to your normal self. So, you always want to be on the look-out for them in case you're in trouble.
In this scenario, it's more plain to see that ACNL is the one that shines through. You have a great deal of citizens in your town that have very adowable features on them. They can give you items for free or provide fetch-quests that gladfully reward you. If you talk to them, you get more information about the world that you live in and you can use those tips to help you out further on your aimless quest. Then there's of course Isabelle...who the fanbase as declared as basically hands down, the cutest friggin' thing you've ever seen. By that logic, I guess she really does a lot for you. You'd be pretty much right, for she is the one that tells you how satisfied your citizens are, allows you to change the town flag and the town tune, and even helps you create public works projects. Truly, she is the one that you can count on to have the greatest of times in the realms of the game. What mirrors that in Bioshock? Why the Little Sisters of course!
While not as plentiful as the citizens of ACNL, the Little Sisters are the precious little bundles of joy that you will need to survive in the hell sinkhole known as Rapture. This time, there's more effort that goes into obtaining the reward than simply just talking to someone and finding something that they want (although to be fair, some of your citizens to ask for OUTRAGEOUS things). See, if you want your Little Sister, you'll have to take down the Big Daddies that protect them. They ain't no walk in the park, as their attacks pack quite the punch. You have to be damn sure you have everything that you need in order to take them down. Then once you have the Little Sister you have the choice of harvesting them or rescuing them. Much like in Animal Crossing, if you do the dignified act, you get rewarded for it. You get a good amount of Adam that you can spend on power ups and if you rescue three in a row, you receive a present. At the same time, you can also be a heartless fiend and harvest them, taking away a lot of Adam that you can use for more power ups. The only thing you obtain from cruelty in ACNL is moderate amusement at the reactions of your citizens.
2. You have an illusion of choice
If there's one thing that we like to have...or if you want to be edgy, believe that we have, it's the idea of free choice. We can decide whether or not we want to spend our money and if we want to spend our money, we can look at an array of options and pick the one that suits our needs. It's something that some of us may not appreciate once our options are robbed from us and we're forced to walk a narrow line. In games, for the general sense, you're basically walking that line, hoping that you finally reach the end and get what you want. Occasionally there are games where you have the compass pointing in any direction that you desire, although they usually have moments where they throw your ass down and demand you follow with what they say. Then there are the games that make it seem like you have a compass, but the more you play the game, the more you see how broken your compass is, and how it only points into one direction.
Each title has their own way of chaining you to a wall as you venture into the toy-box of the possibilities. Bioshock, for instance, forces you to follow a man by the name of Atlas. He's your guide and asks if you would kindly help him reunite him with your family. Once you find that the ruler of Rapture, Andrew Ryan, has killed his family, he then makes you go to Ryan and forces you to kill him. It's made very evident that you're bound to Atlas's whims when Ryan gives you the infamous "A Man Chooses, A Slave Obeys" speech and you end up doing what Atlas wants you to do in the first place. Sure, you have the choice of harming or saving the Little Sisters; yes, you can find a dozen different ways to get rid of scavengers or get by security systems and no doubt you can combine your different abilities to best suit your situation, but in the end, you are subject to the voice of Atlas. Anything he says, you go with it. You can try to ignore his pleas, but you don't progress anywhere. You just stay where you are, like a sitting goose.
ACNL has the same sort of premise, only it presents it in a more bizarre manner. You are forced into your position as a mayor. When you arrive into town, you're magically given this authority position. At first, it sounds fun. Being in a town where you're magically declared the ruler? What's not to love! You still have the ability to do whatever you want. If you want to dig holes around the place, go fishing, talk to people, walk around aimlessly, you have the right to do so. With that said, the debt that has been thrown on your head by the Nooks still looms and you can't avoid not paying it. Same goes for your responsibilities as mayor. You will have to find things for other people, you will have to initiate public works projects. If you want the admiration and the cool features, you will have to be the servant to this town. Distract yourself all you want, you can't avoid that you are bound to the town, like the devil is to the souls of sinners.
1. The world is under an oppressive ruler
Yes, you heard me right. This is the most critical aspect that shows that these two games are related in their own bizarre way. In both of these realities, the person who is in charge of everything is nothing short of a fiend. They hold all power and are able to do anything it takes to assert their dominance. Few voices oppose them, and the ones that do can be silenced in mere seconds. There's not really much else I can say about what this entails as it's already self-explanatory, but trust me, it gets a whole lot more convoluted the more we look into the dictators that are in control of the world.
First, who are the kings in both worlds? In Bioshock, it's Andrew Ryan, the man they call "the Bloody King of Rapture" with a dream of creating Eden underwater. In ACNL, it's you. You might think that perhaps you're not as evil as you think, but if you really think about it, you accept the role of mayor, despite knowing how bizarre the opportunity is. You don't do the respectable decision and refuse the offer or tell them to hold the election, you roll with the idea. How do each of these rulers enforce their power to the citizens? With Ryan, he sends minions after you, rigs areas to assure your demise and constantly threatens you the more and more you try to foil him. You, on the other hand, enact ordinances that the town must follow once the proper paperwork are done, hit people with nets, tell Isabelle about any "problematic citizens" to which she promptly deals with, trap them with holes that you dig around them and force them to buy your belongings at the Re-Tail shop. Some might do them all and even more, while others would do two of things above, either way, you do something to show that you're in charge. Both also are supposed to be ruling the land for as long as your lives give for, but the chilling reality is that the one who really rules the world isn't you...it's someone much more powerful.
See, in the worlds of Rapture and (insert your town name here), there lives someone in the shadows who truly asserts the power and uses you. Frank Fontaine (aka Atlas) is the man that truly controls Rapture. In the tapes that you find, it's made clear to most citizens that the one who really is in charge of the city isn't Ryan, but Fontaine, who has manipulated a great deal of people to follow him and challenge Ryan to becoming the ruler. All along he uses you with the trigger phrase of "would you kindly", causing you to do everything he says, which is why you can't do much else other than follow with what he has to say. Once you kill Ryan off, Fontaine reveals himself and admits that he has been using you for his longest con ever. How about ACNL? Why, it's Tom Nook! While much more benevolent than Fontaine, Nook still has you knee deep in debt and has more money than you since he's in the real estate business and has his children helping him by having them open up a shop that you have to go into if you want to receive certain critical items. Even though people don't rebel against you and hardly even consider Tom to be the real owner of the town, you can see it in their eyes that they aren't truly afraid of you, but rather the raccoon that could kick them out at any given moment due to mortgages.
So there you have it! Now, if you'll excuse me...I'm gonna see if there's some hilariously bizarre fanfiction that has this crossover and possibly do a dramatic reading of it for my own amusement.