I got my pink Nintendo DS Lite last year as an anniversary present. Bundled with the handheld console were games that my husband chose for me, among them Nintendogs and Animal Crossing Wild World. And just like my sleepless nights with my Sony PSP (black at first) a few months before that (I got the pink one for Valentine’s Day this year), the DS Lite became a new and consuming passion.
On Christmas Day last year, my eldest son got his own DS Lite, and soon after, on New Year’s Day, my husband got one for himself too. When summer vacation rolled by, it was time to test the wireless multiplayer ability of the DS Lite. When we were feeling frisky and playful, we played against each other in Mario Kart races that lasted for hours. (Alex always chose Bowser, his parents were always versions of Yoshi in different race karts.) Yet on some nights, as we played quietly together, we would visit each other in the Animal Crossing community I created, Dogtowne. There, I was Kitty, Alex was Alpha, and Papa was, well, the unimaginatively named, hmmm, Papa. We would trade fruits, give gifts, help dig fossils, visit friends, write letters, hit rocks, catch insects, plant trees– name it, we did it in our virtual world. Somehow, I could sense that Alex was happiest on those nights, when in our make-believe world, he was the sole center of our existence if only for a short time.
And this got me thinking last night, while reading through the Happy Blog. I wanted to share with you a story which was featured last month on the Happy Blog, but which was originally from a 2005 entry of a Korean weblog called Loliel the Black Onion Brigade. Here is the comic strip from the Happy Blog but I’m also including links to the videos from Gametrailers.com and YouTube.
Last night, I returned to Dogtowne after a few months of absence. My gardens are all gone. The whole town is full of weeds and moss. The neighbors I left are gone, replaced by new faces. Some of them left me letters to say goodbye; others just disappeared, perhaps tired of waiting for me to show up. My house has cockroaches infesting all floors and I ran like crazy stomping them out. The town I knew is gone. And with it, the memories of a short-lived summer, when Papa, Kitty, and Alpha ran and frolicked and played under the Dogtowne sky.