The Upcoming Gaming War Will Be Won by Alpacas
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We have a problem, people. It's the alpaca. They're starting to work their way into our games. It isn't as cute as you'd expect. I mean, sure, it started out okay, and there are some alpaca heroes that seem pretty decent enough, but things are starting to go a bit overboard. The alpaca are getting out of line, and it's only a matter of time before we start seeing unexpected alpaca everywhere.

The alpaca video game invasion started in the most natural way possible: They appeared as livestock in Harvest Moon: The Tale of Two Towns. It seems innocent and natural enough. I mean, it's a farming simulation; you need to try and spice things up. Since Marvelous Entertainment had already added RPG elements into Harvest Moon, giving us Rune Factory, the only thing left was to add the adorable alpaca so we'd have a new way to get wool.

Seeing how cute they are and how well it worked, you had to know alpaca were going to show up elsewhere. The other major animal game is Animal Crossing. It's in Animal Crossing: New Leaf that the alpaca start to take power. Reese and Cyrus run Re-Tail, the game's equivalent of a thrift shop. The two also handle the Stalk Market, Animal Crossing's version of a stock market. Even worse, they're adorable. People may talk about Tom Nook being the game's secret villain, but these alpaca are even worse. The problem is, Reese and Cyrus are absolutely innocuous, but they also influence the town's economical climate and are animals that have mastered the art of human speech.

Still, at least the inclusion of alpacas and the world of Animal Crossing: New Leaf, in its own way, makes some sense. It's other gaming endeavors that take the inclusion of alpacas over the line, moving things past weird and right into crazy town.

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Paca Plus is where the whole alpaca thing went wrong. Paca Plus is a horribly translated, indie visual-novel dating sim. Players follow a young man, named Saeki, whose girlfriend suddenly transforms into an alpaca. He then has to court her in her alpaca form, all the while wondering if he's stuck with a fluffy, adorable animal, or if something's mentally wrong with him.

Though, if you're playing Paca Plus, you might start wondering if something is wrong with you. The script is absolutely ridiculous, rife with spelling and grammatical errors, not to mention things that just don't make sense. Yet somehow, that makes the affair even more endearing. Besides, a little fault like that isn't holding back the alpaca agenda. Not only is there Paca Plus, but there is now also a prequel called Paca Plus Minus and a sequel called Paca Plus Plus.

Yet, there's something even more unnerving than Paca Plus and its ilk. Your iOS devices and Android tablets aren't even safe anymore, as developer Cocosola has Alpaca Evolution and Alpaca Evolution Begins waiting for you. Both barely qualify as games, since they're basically a freakishly mutated version of bubble wrap. Players tap ordinary alpaca on screen, so a quickly evolving super-alpaca can attack, and then it either ingests or absorbs them, transforming it into an unholy monster.

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I speak from experience, as I briefly ventured into the world of Alpaca Evolution Begins. Well, not so briefly, as I actually put about four days into raising some furry freaks. Was it tediously entertaining? Sure. But more unsettling is how many other people actually played one of these two games. Cocosola says on Google Play that there have been 5 million Alpaca Evolution downloads. It's seeping into society.

The alpacas are turning up everywhere. I'd say we need to fight back, but it's too late. They're not only too cute, but they're also being used in too many horribly awesome games. I mean, Reese and Cyrus are already installed as Animal Crossing staples. There are even plush toys of them! I wouldn't be surprised if there's even a Paca Plus Plus Plus waiting in the wings. So help me if it's an otome version. I can only hold out so long! No, it's a fad we'll have to live with, at least until it stops being funny. Or until it conquers us all.

Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada
@JMariye

Contributing Writer
Date: 08/21/2013

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