Inflating Animal Crossing's economy, one bug at a time

Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a game built on nets of bugs, on bushels of fruit, on collecting and selling enough items to build the brightest yellow benches, the fruitiest trees and the sternest Reset Surveillance Center your townsfolk have ever seen.

Underpinning the network of nosy neighbors and expensive upgrades is an economy of bells, the game's currency. Collecting items is necessary, in part because of the price they fetch at the Re-Tail market. Animal Crossing: New Leaf's multiplayer component also allows players to visit their friends' towns, so there's always the possibility of swapping to obtain items.

In recent weeks, players uncovered a glitch— or perhaps a bug, in Animal Crossing terms — that allows you to duplicate items, including the rarest. The result: A rampant inflation in bells, a phenomenon Juli Clover covered on Quora.

Acnl

If you know where to look, once-rare items like the game's golden tools, which players earn after investing many hours in the game and completing specific quests, have become commonplace. Players can duplicate and sell without having to invest the time it would normally take to uncover these rarities. They can become rich without ever wading into the finicky stalk market.

As those rare items proliferate digitally and inflation takes hold, wealthy players have taken to trading "the only game element that remains valuable," Clover writes: townsfolk, who can be persuaded to move to a certain town. Forum threads on sites like GameFAQs have sprung up dedicated to the craft of citizen trading.

"The end result," writes Clover, "is the devaluation of the items that should have been the hardest to obtain and the overall inflation of the game's currency, which is undoubtedly shortening the life of the game for thousands of players. Acquiring rare items is an end game activity, and without it, there is little else for players to do in the long run."

For more on the game, be sure to read Polygon's Animal Crossing: New Leaf review, which described the game as "part sandbox, part zen garden."

More from Polygon

The horror of Five Nights at Freddy's

  • Dark Souls 2: Crown of the Old Iron King Overview

  • Spacecom: a fast 4X built for multiplayer

  • Pillars of Eternity builds on role-playing classics

  • Tour the 1 KB hard drive built inside Minecraft

Latest Discussions

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new Polygon username and password

As part of the new Polygon launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to Polygon going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.
Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_5353_tracker