“No more debt for me,
My house is all paid off!”
― A player, City Folk
The player (also called the character) is a term used for the controllable avatar in the Animal Crossing series. The player may be either male or female; the differences in all games are largely cosmetic, with slight variations to some dialogue whenever the conversation becomes gender specific.
The player is the only human character seen in the game (including visiting players). They are the only human children, however, it is assumed Mom and Dad, who send letters occasionally, are also human in appearance.
Up until New Horizons, only one human from each town could be active at any given time, although, starting in Wild World, visiting players from other games can be in town at the same time. Players will start with either a long sleeve or a short sleeve shirt depending on the time of year.
The player is seen as an active member of the town to which they have moved. The way in which they act with their environment changes the town, which represents the open play of the Animal Crossing series. There are a number of different ways the player can interact with the town and other characters in the game. These may involve a variety of different hobbies in the game, such as fishing, bug catching, fashion and many more. Villagers do not necessarily have an active role in altering the town or the player but can be interacted with to develop friendships and to trade for furniture and tips.
In New Leaf, the player takes on the role of the Town Mayor, a role which was filled by Mayor Tortimer in previous installments. What the player does is essentially the same as in previous games, but now with more customizable options. Being the Mayor involves two key areas; Public Works Projects and the Town Ordinance.
Being the Mayor does not need to be seen as the main aim of the game, but it does allow the player to customize their town further than what was available in City Folk with the Town Fund, which allowed the player to add new features to the town. In New Leaf, the player can add features such as benches to any place in the Village, or build or upgrade new stores in Main Street. The Mayor can also change the laws by changing the Town ordinance to allow for later or earlier opening times for stores, or to make the town cleaner or wealthier.
From Animal Forest through Animal Crossing and Animal Forest e+, the player has the same appearance: Female players wear a dress, a cone-shaped "princess hat", and have a triangular hairstyle; Male players wear a shirt and shorts, as well as a horned "viking hat". The players' hats are not removable, and changing the player's shirt will also change the color of their hat. The hats reason is probably the same of Super Mario’s cap. Nintendo wanted to make the hair move, but the company did not have enough resources for doing such back in 2001. Depending on how the player answers questions in the beginning of the game, they will have a certain type of face (See Face Styles Guide). All players have an orange, triangular nose, and all players start out light-skinned. In Animal Crossing and Animal Forest e+, the player can darken their skin by "tanning" on the island - standing under the sun for a certain amount of time.
In Wild World and City Folk, villagers have a similar appearance. Both male and female players still wear similar attire as in previous games, although they do not start out with a hat. Hats and headgear can be bought from Able Sisters, and the player's hairstyle can be changed by Harriet at the hair salon, Shampoodle. After getting enough haircuts at Shampoodle or shoe shines from Kicks (CF only), a male player can get female player's haircut or shoe style and vice versa. The player again starts out light skinned, but can darken their skin with a tan by standing in sunny weather for a certain amount of time. A tan must also be maintained; it will fade over time. The player still has their orange triangular nose and randomized face.
In New Leaf, the player is significantly taller than before. The player can now wear pants, skirts, and dresses. Male players can dress in female players' clothes and vice versa. After getting 20 haircuts at Shampoodle, Harriet will offer the player an opposite gendered haircut. The player still has their randomized face and triangular nose (though it is now a model rather than a part of the player's face texture) and still starts out light skinned, though they can get a tan using the same method as in WW and CF. In Happy Home Designer, the player is given the choice to choose their own face, hairstyle, and skin color.
In New Horizons, the player is given more creative control over their character than before. Like in Happy Home Designer, they can choose their player's skin color, hairstyle, and face, although New Horizons is the first main-series game to feature this. There are now new nose shapes to choose from - an oval and a square. In the November 2020 Winter update (1.6.0), six more hairstyles inclusive of African American players were added.
Determining Facial Features
In each game up until New Horizons, the player's face is determined by a series of questions that the introductory character, Rover asks when the unseen player is currently moving into the town. In Animal Crossing: Wild World, Kapp'n asks the player instead.
The way the face is arranged can be determined when the player responds to the questions asked by each introductory character. However, in Animal Crossing, at the end of the conversation when it comes to the last question, if the player presses "B" while talking to Rover it selects the second response and randomizes the player's face, making any other question answered unusable.
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Both a male player and female player appear in the background of the Smashville stage in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He can be seen during some matches with other characters in the series, such as Harriet, Blathers and occasionally K.K. Slider.
In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS
Both male and female players appear in Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS as playable combatants. The announcement was made during the Electronic Entertainment Expo ("E3") Nintendo Direct presentation.
In the game, the player is called the "Villager" and takes on the appearance of playable characters from City Folk.
Villager's actions incorporate many of the features seen in the Animal Crossing series. These include using a net and a sapling: melee attacks they can use on their opponents. The net can grab an opponent and directly attack them and/or throw them, damaging the opponent. The sapling can grow into a tree which they can cut down with an axe to attack opponents. The villager can also absorb objects by grabbing the object and putting it in their pocket, followed by the pick up sound that is heard in the Animal Crossing series.
In Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Both male and female players are called "Villager", and they take on the appearance of playable characters from New Leaf.
The Villagers can be chosen respectively on the Character Select screen and can let players race them throughout the tracks in Mario Kart 8. That can only be possible if the player owns the 2nd DLC for Mario Kart 8, nicknamed "Animal Crossover", released since April 23rd, 2015. The DLC content is included in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the Switch version of the game.
In Super Mario Maker
Villager appears as an amiibo mystery mushroom costume in Super Mario Maker.
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
The Villager is veteran, and Male and Female Villagers are back in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
The Villagers design are kept from City Folk.