The Top 7... fictional holidays

Oh, wait. They just dress like pirates? And pretend to join a crew of NPC pirates, who hang out on the roof of a bank while randomly firing cannons and playing pirate-themed music?

Uh… huh.

Well, it’s the thought that counts. And thinking about pirates is still fun (complaints that they’re “played out” notwithstanding), especially if one of them hangs out with something called an Assault Parrot.

As a real-time world that works off the GameCube’s/DS’/Wii’s internal clock, Animal Crossing requires a steady and sometimes serious time commitment. Stick with it, though, and you’ll be rewarded with – among other things – in-game analogues to real holidays. Thanksgiving becomes the Harvest Festival, Christmas is Gift Day and the Fourth of July is turned into a fireworks display that isn’t meant to celebrate anything in particular. And then there are the genuinely fake holidays, like Yay Day and La-Di-Day, which enable you to make minor adjustments to your town and its inhabitants.

Above: “Ha ha, hey, I’m a gullible idiot!”

Of course, these holidays do more than just change the décor on your surroundings; they require your participation. More specifically, they usually require that you find and chat with Tortimer, the weird old mayor of your town, to get some prize that’s unique to the holiday.

Above: Is Tortimer just a kindly old community leader, or a disturbing creep? We know which way he’s leaning in this image

Sure, it’s possible to experience all the holidays in rapid succession just by messing with your console’s clock, but for a truly special experience, we recommend letting things run their course and using AC’s holidays as a convenient excuse to escape from relatives and other real-life holiday obligations.

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.