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Animal Crossing vs. Stardew Valley

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Nintendo & ConcernedApe

In the world of video game escapism, there are generally two options. Become a hero, mowing down enemies and saving the world…or engage in fun, relaxing physical labour. Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing are both games that focus on building a community and town. While both of these games have similar goals and objectives, they definitely have their own pros and cons. So to which escapist town should you retire? We’re looking at Animal Crossing vs Stardew Valley.

Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing hit the world hard in the early weeks of the pandemic. The most recent iteration of the game; Animal Crossing; New Horizons released for the Nintendo Switch on March 20, 2020. But the game itself has been around since April 14, 2001, starting its journey on the GameCube.

You play as the Villager, who moves to a new town and takes out a housing loan from the infamous Tom Nook. To pay off your debt, you can sell fish, fruit, bugs, or fossils; donating those same items to Blathers’ museum. Once you’ve paid off your debt to Tom Nook, he graciously expands your house and grants you a new loan. It’s a classic tale of capitalism.

There’s plenty of stuff you can do in addition to working on your housing debt as well. You can design the interior of your house, collect rare items, work on completing the museum, and meet your neighbours. The other townsfolk are a collection of cute animals who will move in and out of the Village. You can celebrate holidays, birthdays, and special events, exploring the Village and the animals who live in it.

Now New Horizons takes the classic Animal Crossing formula and adds a little twist to it. Instead of living in the typical Village, you arrive at an uninhabited island. Tom Nook, alongside his nephews, Timmy and Tommy, have bought an island and are offering you and three other townsfolk a new life on a brand new island. Besides to paying off your housing debt and decorating your house, you can also decorate the entire island and make decisions about its layout. This is the most autonomy the player has had over the layout and look of their village, as well as the townsfolk who reside there.

Animal Crossing is a peaceful experience with pleasing graphics and music. It’s a classic game; with the Villager and staple Animal Crossing characters like Isabel being playable Smash characters. It has been an established and loved game for over twenty years.

But Animal Crossing, specifically New Horizons, is not without its flaws. The game moves in real-time, and while you can cheat and time jump, it can definitely become monotonous. New Horizons is also lacking in events. The game has decided to release new features in free updates as time goes on. For example, the ability to swim and dive was added to the June 22nd update, four months after the game’s release. New holidays, furniture, and characters also prop up in updates. New Horizons also has a crafting feature, and while it adds a new element to the game, it makes it significantly harder to get the furniture and design pieces the player desires. The townsfolk also have limited dialogue options, and interacting with them can become boring.

In an effort to make New Horizons feel new every few months, it comes across as feeling incomplete. It is easy to feel as though you’re doing chores, rather than playing a game.

Stardew Valley

Similar to Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley is also a game about building up a village and home. Both games are designed for peaceful escapism to a quiet town. But Stardew Valley absolutely has its differences from Animal Crossing. It’s a much newer game, coming out February 26, 2016, and is playable on several consoles; PC, Playstation, Xbox, Switch, iOS, and Android.

You play as the Farmer, moving to your deceased grandfather’s farm to escape the monotony of life in the big city. You earn money by selling your crops, fishing and mining. Stardew Valley also has a pretty large crafting feature; like Animal Crossing.

But where the character interactions in Animal Crossing or meant to be cute or humorous with very little long-term consequences, your relationship with the other residents in Stardew Valley are a massive part of the game. You can even marry another character and have children with them. Once you reach certain relationship levels with them, you may receive a cut scene giving you more insight as to who they are. These cutscenes reveal an intricate and interesting larger story taking place in the valley.

There is also a combat feature because as you mine, you encounter monsters. Some cute 8-bit creatures to get your heart racing. There are mysteries to unlock throughout the valley as well. Supernatural elements abound through sightings of mermaids, woodland creatures, and the cooky Wizard.

Stardew Valley has seasonal events as well. They are cute and low-stakes events where you can get to know the other residents of the Valley and enjoy each other’s company. There are larger events as well, progressing the longer you live in the Valley, that have long-term implications for the community.

Simply put; Stardew Valley has significantly more to do than Animal Crossing and a much more elaborate plotline. But where Stardew Valley is more intricate than Animal Crossing, it is also more complicated. There is a lot to keep up with, and sometimes it feels as though there are not enough virtual hours in a day to get done all the Farmer needs to do. Time in Stardew Valley moves fast, with each hour passing by in increments of ten minutes, seven seconds in real life between them. If your Farmer is awake past 2am they will pass out, so you have to be in bed at a reasonable time.

Even though Animal Crossing can become boring in its simplicity, Stardew Valley becomes almost overwhelming. Do you focus on the Farmer’s love life? Turning a fast crop profit? Upgrading your house? Exploring the mine? Because there is definitely not enough time in the Stardew Valley day to do it all.

Furthermore, to the graphics snob, it should be noted that Stardew Valley is an 8-bit game. But the game design is beautiful, and the music is cute and relaxing.

The Village or the Valley?

In the question of Animal Crossing vs. Stardew Valley, the answer comes down to one thing. Do you want to do simple tasks to take your mind off the stresses of the day? Then your answer is Animal Crossing. Do you want to dive into an intricate world with nuanced stories, prepared to put some work into your farm? Stardew Valley is your game.

They both scratch the same itch. Simplistic escapism in the form of simple tasks and cute stories. The question is how you scratch that itch.


Thanks for reading our Animal Crossing vs Stardew Valley article. Which side do you fall on? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.


Read about seven Nintendo Switch games to get excited about HERE.

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9 Rarest And Most Valuable Pokémon Cards In Existence

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Holographic Charizard Pokemon Card image
Nintendo

If you’re one of the millions of people with a set of Pokémon cards stashed away somewhere, it might be time to dig-lett them out (sorry). Time to see if any of these babies are in your collection. Here’s our list of the top 9 rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards in existence.

Chances are you haven’t caught them all. But having even one of these could net you a large wad of cash.

Pokémon has been an on/off craze ever since it first started back in the mid-’90s. But despite releasing games, a cult anime series and several films, it’s those little cards that are making a profitable resurgence right now.

Even in just the last three years, rare Pokémon cards have been sold for thousands of dollars at auction. So now is definitely the time to check your collection. Time to see if you could be sitting on a small fortune.

9. 20th Anniversary 24-karat Gold Pikachu

Crafted in solid gold

Sold for 216,000 yen ($2,081) in October 2016.

You don’t get much more unique than a Pokémon card made from solid gold. Yep, you heard right. This insanely unique and incredibly rare Pokémon card was produced by Japanese jewellery maker, Ginza Tanaka. A limited number of solid gold cards were created as a replica of the original Japanese Pikachu card (affectionately nicknamed ‘Fat Pikachu’).

Made from 11 grams of pure 24-karat cold, the only way to get a copy of this ultra-rare Pokémon card was to enter a lottery held in 2016. If you won, you were given the chance to buy a copy of the limited-edition card for 216,000 yen (around $2,081/£1,700).

The solid gold card was shipped in its own unique box and housed in a plastic frame. And what makes this even more incredible is that, whilst most rare and unique Pokémon cards stem from early on in the game’s beginnings, this card appeared for the first time in just the last 5 years. Definitely one of the rarest (and coolest) Pokémon cards in existence.

8. Master’s Key

A more recent card – but no less rare

Sold for $21,000 in November 2019.

Like the 20th anniversary gold Pikachu, Master’s Key is another rare yet relatively new Pokémon card. It made its first appearance just over ten years ago when it was awarded to competitors in the 2010 Pokémon World Championships held in Hawaii.

Participants in both the TCG (Trading Card Game) and video game counterpart received a copy of Master’s Key. Only the trophy case differed depending on the category.

Only 36 copies of the card are estimated to exist – equal to the number of participants in all age divisions of the world championships. And to prove just how rare this Pokémon card is, one of them sold at auction in November 2019 for more than $21,000.

7. Espeon and Umbreon Gold Star POP Series 5

A pair of Gold Star Pokémon cards from one of the most valuable Pokémon sets of all time

Sold for $22,100 and $20,000 respectively between December 2020 and February 2021.

The Gold Star Pokémon cards are one of the most valuable Pokémon sets ever produced. At the time of writing, a near mint full set of 27 cards is for sale on eBay. The price tag? £35,000 ($49,717).

But it’s the Espeon and Umbreon which are the real moneymakers. Perhaps the rarest cards in the set, these two alone sold for over $20,000 in just the last few months.

The cards are named after the gold star that appears next to the Pokémon’s name at the top of the card. It signifies that the card features alternative colour artwork which is different from the common version.

Only 27 Gold Star cards were released from 2004 to 2007. Making them some of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence.

Whilst the Japanese versions of the cards remain the most valuable due to their limited availability, the English versions of the Espeon and Umbreon Gold Star cards still command a high price. PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator – the prestigious organisation that grades the quality, condition and value of trading cards) values the two cards at $194,209 and $187,277 respectively. Easily making them two of the rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards around.

6. 1999 Pokémon Japanese Promo Tropical Mega Battle Tropical Wind

An ultra-rare promo card – one of only 12 ever made

Sold for $65,100 in October 2020.

When it comes to availability, you don’t get much rarer than the Tropical Wind card.

With just 12 being given to the top players at the 1999 Tropical Mega Battle tournament, the Japanese Tropical Wind promo card is extremely rare.

This inaugural tournament – a precursor to the Pokémon World Championships – took place in 1999 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu, Hawaii. The event was invite-only and was a battle between the best 50 players from Canada, Latin America, Europe, the United States, and Japan. During the event, a handful of trophy cards could be obtained. One of these was this baby right here.

This particular Tropical Mega Battle promo card (the 1999 Japanese-language copy of Tropical Wind) has sold at auction for as much as $65,100 in PSA Gem Mint 10 condition, with the most recent sale taking place in October 2020. PSA estimates its value to be as high as $148,482. Making the ultra-rare card a contender for one of the most expensive and valuable Pokémon cards ever made.

5. No. 1 Trainer

Quite possibly the most unknown Pokémon card of all time

Sold for $90,000 in July 2020.

Most people won’t have ever heard of No. 1 Trainer, and it’s even more unlikely they’ll have seen a copy in person. When it comes to rare Pokémon cards, they don’t get much rarer than this.

With only seven copies believed to be in existence, No. 1 Trainer may well be the least known card in existence.

No.1 Trainer is a holographic promotional card awarded to finalists in the Secret Super Battle tournament held in Tokyo in 1999. To earn a place in the competition’s finals (which were held in a secret location) players had to first win a regional tournament. Their prize was the No. 1 Trainer card, which granted them access to the finals.

The text on the front of the card translates to: “The Pokémon Card Game Official Tournament’s champion is recognised here, and this honour is praised. By presenting this card, you may gain preferential entry into the Secret Super Battle.” It’s almost like a modern-day, real-life Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory.

As only seven regional tournaments were held, it’s believed that just seven copies of the No. 1 Trainer card were made – easily making it one of the rarest Pokémon cards in existence.

4. Pikachu Illustrator

Extremely expensive and extremely rare

Sold for $195,000 in October 2019.

The Pikachu Illustrator card is an incredibly rare Pokémon card. It still holds the Guinness World Record for the most expensive Pokémon trading card sold at auction (although, more about this later…).

Pikachu Illustrator was originally given to winners of promo contests held in 1997 and 1998 by Japanese magazine CoroCoro Comic. 39 copies were officially awarded to the winners. While two copies were reportedly later discovered by one of the creators of the card game, seemingly bringing the total number of Pikachu Illustrator copies to 41.

As well as being ridiculously rare, the card is unique in a number of ways. It’s the only Pokémon card to say “Illustrator” instead of “Trainer” at the top. And has a one-off pen icon in its bottom-right corner to acknowledge its creation for the design contest. The card’s artwork of Pikachu is by Atsuko Nishida, the original illustrator of the fan-favourite Pokémon.

Approximately 19 copies of the card are believed to still exist, with 10 having been certified by the PSA.

A near-flawless copy of the card graded at Mint 9 (one grade under perfect condition) sold at auction in 2019 for $195,000 and broke a Guinness World Record. But arguably, there are a couple of contenders to that crown.

3. Black Star Ishihara Signed GX Promo Card

A signed card to celebrate the Pokémon founder’s 60th birthday

Sold for $247,230 in April 2021.

Of all the cards featured on this list, this rare and incredibly valuable Pokémon card is definitely one-of-a-kind.

Just last month on April 26, 2021, a copy of the Black Star Ishihara Signed GX Promo Card made headlines when it sold for nearly a quarter of a million US dollars.

The card depicts the Pokémon company founder and current president, Tsunekazu Ishihara. It was given to staff as a celebration of his 60th birthday in 2017.

What makes this specific version even rarer is that Ishihara actually signed this near-mint card to boost its price even further.

The ability “Red Chanchanko” refers to the red vest which is traditionally worn on 60th birthdays in Japan and prevents the effect of any attack, ability or trainer card against Ishihara. Meanwhile, its GX move “60 Congratulations” tells you to flip 60 coins, and take a present for each one. A truly unique, legendary card.

2. Pokémon Blastoise #009/165R Commissioned Presentation Galaxy Star Hologram

Quite possibly the only card one in existence

Sold for $360,000 in January 2021.

This Blastoise card is probably the single rarest Pokémon card in existence. One of only two such Pokémon cards ever made, it sold for a whopping $360,000 (£266,000) in January 2021.

This Pokémon card was created in 1998 as a presentation piece by Magic: The Gathering maker Wizards of the Coast to convince Nintendo executives to allow it to handle the TCG’s English-language release. The game would eventually make its international debut one year later in 1999.

While two Blastoise ‘Presentation’ cards were produced, this is the only one that has been seen publicly. Even more impressively, it has been graded at a NM/Mint+ 8.5 level by certification website CGC, meaning that the 20-plus-year-old card is in near-perfect condition. The location and state of the other Presentation card remain unknown. This either means that this card is the sole one remaining, or someone somewhere is unknowingly sitting on a small fortune.

1. 1999 First Edition Shadowless Holographic Charizard #4

The card that every kid wanted

Sold for $369,000 in December 2020.

Charizard. The card that absolutely every kid (and adult too now, apparently) wanted. And while the shiny Charizard has always been a firm favourite, this particular variant is even rarer.

While a number of top quality, first-edition cards from the Pokémon TCG’s early days are worth some money, due to their limited availability and age, this specific version of the holographic Charizard absolutely stands out as one of the rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards ever released.

What sets the card apart is the lack of a shadow underneath the dragon graphic. This was a printing error which was corrected for most of the cards printed but the few that sneaked passed quality control are incredibly sought after.

According to auction house Iconic Auctions, the rare card is “the Holy Grail of Pokémon cards, the most iconic and important card to both the Pokémon franchise and its die-hard fans”.

A mint-condition first-edition shadowless holographic PSA 10 Charizard sold at auction in October 2020 for a staggering $220,574 to the retired rapper – and Pokémon fan – Logic. Then, just two months later in December, another one of the same quality sold for a mind-blowing £350,000.

There’s more

But as if that wasn’t enough, just a few hours after that, yet another card broke all records, selling for a mind-numbing £369,000.

Although this hasn’t officially been recognised by Guinness World Records, this certainly knocks the Pikachu Illustrator off its perch, as well as the staggering sum held by the Blastoise Galaxy Star Hologram.

Either way, despite not being the rarest, this is definitely the most valuable Pokémon card sold to date. But with the desire for rare Pokémon cards showing no signs of slowing, the big question is: how much higher can their value go?

One thing’s for sure, if anyone out there truly has caught them all, that would make for one incredibly valuable collection.


And that’s our list of the 9 rarest and most valuable Pokémon cards in existence. Did you ever have any of these? Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.


Are Team Rocket just misunderstood? Read our article HERE.

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