On April 14, 2001, Dobutsu no Mori made its debut in Japan on Nintendo 64.
It was the first game in the series that Western fans know as Animal Crossing, and though the game didn't make its way stateside until 2002, a lot of the features that fans love most were present in the Japanese N64 version.
Fifteen years, six games and a whole bunch of amiibo cards later, we're taking a look back at where the Animal Crossing series got started. Below, we've nailed down some of our favorite features and highlights of that first game that was playing, even when you weren't.
Many of the best things about Animal Crossing have endured. The series has expanded upon these features and added new ones to keep building toward a better game, slowly but surely. The most recent mainline title, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, might have been the platonic ideal of the series, thanks to endless customization options, new ways to hang out with friends and animal folks, and a diverse array of things to do. But it all goes back to that first entry 15 years ago that captured a certain kind of Nintendo fan's imagination, something the series still does to this day.