What a strange beast, this Animal Crossing. It has no boss battles or ending, yet you'll find yourself absolutely glued to the screen like an OCD patient with no meds, managing your charming hamlet and mailing flattering letters to your beastly neighbors.
You hit the town flat broke with nothing but the frock on your back. Boisterous store owner Tom Nook (a raccoon) hooks you up with a job and some errands so you can land the startup cash for your new life amongst the animals. When the odd jobs are done, you're left to your own devices - be they fishing along the waterfront, hording furniture and apparel for your material obsessions or keeping the town clean by pulling weeds and trimming trees. In other words, a bunch of stuff you'd never do for fun.
But here it's sickeningly addicting because it's completely yours, a customizable hub of adorable animal shenanigans. It's sort of like a pastel version of Seinfeld: it's about nothing but there's an endless stream of it. Your reward is simply more work, interrupted occasionally by a new item for your expanding home, including everything from a grandfather clock to a set of perfectly emulated NES games.
Swapping GameCube memory cards lets you hop over to a friend's town to trade produce, share the clothing you designed and see how their town differs from yours. While you're on your trip, the animals gossip about things your friends have done to help or hurt the town and possibly jump ship for your village.