Chris Buffa (Modojo): Nintendo released the original Animal Crossing in the United States on April 14, 2001. At first, this charming title reminded us of Electronic Arts’ The Sims, though any perceived similarities quickly evaporated once we played the game. The concept of living in a town populated with anthropomorphic critters was a tough sell to some people. For us, it provided a welcome escape from the real world. There’s very little stress in Animal Crossing, which is one of the big reasons we love it.