Redd sells valuable paintings and statues based on real-life works of art, which you need to buy to help fill out the town's museum. But because he's a sleazeball, his items are often forgeries, and the only way to know if you were scammed or not in most Animal Crossing games is to try to sell it or have it appraised by the narcoleptic owl that runs the museum.
"And upon closer perusal, that is one fly-ass hat."
Then, without telling anybody, Nintendo decided to implement a way for players to spot fake works of art without a demoralizing trip to one of your animal neighbors. If you squint at your 3DS hard enough in Animal Crossing: New Leaf, it's possible to pick out the alterations the developers made to the tiny, pixelated pieces. These are barely-noticeable tweaks, meaning that even if you know that it's possible to identify fakes, only those with a solid knowledge of art will be able to pick up on the hints.
For example, in Thomas Gainsborough's 1770 oil portrait The Blue Boy, does the titular boy have both hands on his hips or only one?
Too obscure? Well, how about this -- does the woman in the Mona Lisa have her right hand resting on top of her left hand, or is it the other way around?
Right on left is right, as seen on the left.
And have you studied Edo period woodblock prints? You damn well better have. Is the scary looking guy in the picture below supposed to be doing the double guns or jazz hands?
Of course, we assume you've memorized Caravaggio's 16th-century masterpiece Basket of Fruit. Because if you haven't, you'll miss the extra hole in one of the leaves.
They named the game after this new leaf.
Twenty-two of the game's pieces have subtle but distinct fake variants. The game doesn't tell you that you can spot fakes, so it would be natural to assume that the whole affair is luck-based. In fact, the game doesn't even tell you that these are real works of art -- while everyone will recognize the Mona Lisa, how many of you will spot that the blurry "Solemn Painting" is actually Diego Velazquez's 1656 masterpiece Las Meninas?
Only truly astute art collectors, as pictured.
It turns out that Art History minor will come in handy for you after all -- unlike the rest of the world, you'll avoid getting taken advantage of by your weird, greedy little animal neighbors.
Ridley Davis studies professional writing at Michigan State University. He also isn't actually named Ridley Davis. Karl Smallwood loves video games and writing, you can follow him on Tumblr and Twitter or see more of his work at Factfiend.com.
For more crazy things you missed, check out 7 Insane Easter Eggs Hidden in Movies and TV Shows and The 5 Most Elaborately Hidden Video Game Easter Eggs.
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