Time keeps on slipping

In-game clocks can be weird sometimes. This morning, I started up a game of Style Savvy: Trendsetters, and it was August in my game the last time I played. When I booted up my save today, it had suddenly become September, even though my day hadn’t finished and I’d saved the game when my character was still in her shop.

This must mean that Style Savvy follows time based on my 3DS’ internal clock, to a point. While days pass whenever you close up shop for the day, they’re not numbered, so it’s possible to go through more than 30 in-game days before a real-world month passes.

The Pokemon series has been weird about time like that, too. Starting with Gold/Silver/Crystal, there were certain Pokemon you could only catch during the day or night. Diamond/Pearl/Platinum were like that, but they also gave you a diary that automatically recorded major events on your journey (exploring a new route, catching a new Pokemon, etc.) Black/White doesn’t have a day/night cycle, instead using a seasonal cycle (one season = one month in real time) to determine the likelihood of encountering certain Pokemon.

Animal Crossing has been pretty consistent about running events in real-time. Every game has holidays assigned to a rigid schedule, and stores open and close according to the time on your game system clock. The Xbox Live Arcade game State of Decay, and a couple of games on WiiWare – Bonsai Barber and Harvest Moon: My Little Shop – also have time-based events, but with all of these games, things are also going in the background when the game is turned off, so you really have to play them every day to benefit the most from them. I think I may have lost a survivor in State of Decay because I hadn’t played it in a week. I might be in even bigger trouble now, as it’s been more than a month since my last session.

Maybe I’m a little more comfortable with the systems used in Pokemon and Style Savvy (however weird they may be), where time and events may change, but my game progress doesn’t. I don’t play games for multiple days in a row like I used to, so it’s less stressful for me when I don’t get set back due to something out of my control. This also might explain why I was never that good with Tamagotchis…

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