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Is that Animal Crossing obsession turning you into an 'otaku' citizen?

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Does Animal Crossing: New Leaf promote an 'otaku citizenship' ethic of obsessive collection for the sake of community? That's the theme of this week's PBS Idea Channel discussion.

3DS game Animal Crossing has been a worldwide smash hit, drawing gamers into its mechanic of collecting fruit, fossils, fish and other goodies. As mayor of a countryside town, players can trade their goodies for in-game cash, to be spent on municipal and household improvements, donated to the local museum, or gifted to neighbors.


Idea Channel's Mike Rugnetta, who hosts the weekly online culture show, asks whether this activity represents an ideal of citizenship based on otaku behavior patterns, which he describes as being somewhere between fan devotion and collection of things for its own sake. Does it promote a lifestyle and set of values in line with 'otaku' mores, especially given that the game carries no narrative separate from its own collect-and-grow mechanics?

Anyway, for the many Polygon readers (and writers) currently obsessed with Animal Crossing, it's a neat diversion.