I figured I’d at least have another good thirty or forty years before I’d start becoming obsessed about my lawn. Meticulously leaving out little “Keep off the grass” signs. Harassing the neighborhood kids. Telling them not to skateboard on the sidewalk for fear they’ll land on my property.
But Animal Crossing: City Folk changed all that.
It altered my plans (and possibly my thought processes) because now I’m contemplating putting up those very same signs in my virtual town. Well, either that or declare a free-for-all after Snowman building season is over and let any visitors who want to drop by destroy any remaining patches of green.
Until then, I’m trying to gradually rebuild Midgar (my town’s) vegetation. I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks that I’ve been implementing since the beginning of December, 2008. Some of them are working for me, so perhaps you’ll find that they’ll work for you as well.
At least there’s one bright side – grass, or lack of grass, doesn’t affect your Perfect Town status. You can have a Perfect Town, even if you’re living in a desert.
Option 1: Look at all the pretty flowers
You may remember the following image. It appeared in my December 30, 2008, article, “An open letter to Nintendo: Time to fix Animal Crossing: City Folk” and was taken on December 29, 2008.
As you can see, I am trying to use the flower method to encourage grass growth in my town. If flowers are planted in a desolate area, it will help grass grow back quicker in that spot. Quicker is, of course, a relative term. It’s going to take a long time for grass to come back, but it will be just a bit faster with flowers.
It’s been about two weeks since that last picture was taken. Let’s look at how the area in front of my house looks on January 13, 2009:
Okay, so there hasn’t been a revolutionary change. But it does look a little bit better. The white snow dots, where grass will show once Spring comes, are larger and have multiplied. It is still going to take a while before my front lawn completely recovers.
Planting flowers takes time. The best thing to do is take good care of the ones you have, water the withering brown flowers to restore them and try not to run over them. Also, take the time to water healthy flowers, as it may help encourage hybrids and more flowers to grow.
Option 2: Time to create a Department of Transportation
A good way to preserve your grass is to create your own paths throughout the town. Paths ideally preserve the ground beneath them, give people a safe area to traverse and also add a little extra aesthetic appeal. Many Animal Crossing: City Folk players have already created custom path designs they are willing to share, but it is also fairly easy to create your own. Even Wendell has a few path designs, so it may be worth researching ahead of time online what designs he’ll give you for certain fish.
If you’re a beginning designer, a simple, single-tile design repeated throughout the town may be the way to go.
If you’re more experienced, perhaps create a new character and use all eight design inventory slots for different path pieces to use throughout the town.
An important thing to remember though – if you change the design in your inventory, the displayed path piece will also change. So, if you’re going lay down paths, make sure you have space in your custom design section for them.
Option 3: Institute town ordinances
Another way to help is to set down some ground rules for your town. Tortimer is a useless figurehead, so he isn’t going to be any help in passing or enforcing any new laws or ordinances. (He spends his days sleeping in the town hall!) So if you want to get something done, you’ll have to do it yourself.
You need to set some basic, grass preservation, ground rules. I’d recommend “No Running” and “Stay off the grass” to begin with, and see how those work. You may also want to enforce some sort of floral protection code as well, just to be safe. Make sure whenever someone enters your town, that you either let them know via WiiSpeak or a regular message that certain actions are not permitted.
Making signs will also be a big help. If you plan on having international visitors, the best bet would be to go with signs that don’t have words. Take , for example, the impromptu image made with the Texture Generator at Animal Crossing Ahead. You can instantly tell from the image that walking on the grass is prohibited. Have these images on the ground in front of your gate, so people know right away what is or isn’t permitted, even before you say a word.
Option 4: Astroturf
If you’re getting desperate, you can always resort to fake grass. It’s always green, it’ll never die and if you set it up right, you can still run on it. Of course, you won’t be seeing any fossils, but it is a small price to pay for perfection.
You can either design your own grass or stop by Animal Crossing Ahead‘s Texture Gallery. It’s filled with different grass patterns from various Animal Crossing players. Most of the patterns were designed for Animal Crossing or Animal Crossing: Wild World and not Animal Crossing: City Folk, but the patterns should still work. Or, next time Wendell visits your town, give him a Crucian Carp or a Black Bass for a ground or grass pattern.
Option 5: The last resort – cheating
There are two cheating options in Animal Crossing: City Folk that can restore grass, and I don’t recommend either of them. Both could have drawbacks that can affect your town, game or maybe even your Wii. However, this wouldn’t be a comprehensive grass guide if I didn’t at least include them as options.
The first, and probably safest cheating option is time traveling. You simply set your Wii’s internal clock ahead, and your town will flash forward into the future. There are drawbacks to messing with the forces of nature, and I’m not talking about alternate timelines or temporal paradoxes. The first three things you’ll notice is your character will have bedhead, weeds will overrun your town and all the neighbors you knew will have moved. See that weed up there in the image above? Imagine that times at least 50.
There are a few others risks that may be incurred due to time traveling, though it isn’t a guarantee that your game will experience these. First, turnip prices at Nooks could plummet – staying below 70 bells for a long time. Gracie Grace’s stock may also disappear, and you’ll have to wait until next season for more of her exclusive items. Joan may refuse to sell red turnips, claiming they’ve all been bought. Also, some time travelers have reported not seeing Phineas the gift giving walrus in the city after time traveling.
The other resort, which I don’t recommend as it could not only mess up aspects of your game, but also could ruin your save file, is to use the GeckoOS Wii homebrew program to cheat. While the GeckoOS cheats can regrow your grass and give you access to a lot of other amazing items and things, it also could screw up your save file, and installing the homebrew channel to have access to cheats could brick your Wii. If you’re going to go through with it anyway, visit the GeckoOS WiiRD Community and learn as much as you can about GeckoOS from people who know what they’re talking about.