The Notorious Tom Nook · 6 June 2020

I must agree with one of my sons. The notorious Tom Nook is the ruler of the universe. Rather, the multiverse. (Did you hear the evil laugh? Mwah ha ha!)

If you have never heard of Tom Nook, you are not playing Animal Crossing on the Nintendo Switch. (Or any other of their platforms for that matter.) But even if you are playing some version of Animal Crossing, I am going to explain just a bit.

Animal Crossing is a video game franchise that has been around for quite some time. My own nearly adult children played the game when they were kids and they are playing the newest edition now. The game is a simulation of sorts. You go around and do stuff. In the older versions of Animal Crossing, you lived in a town and you picked fruit so that you could pay your mortgage to Tom Nook. He ostensibly owned the store and the construction company that built your house in the first place. You could actually take the train to other towns too. It was great fun picking fruit and making sure the place looked good by getting rid of all the weeds that grew up if you did not tend the place. You could buy and sell stuff too. And all that stuff you got went to clutter your tiny home.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the latest edition of the Animal Crossing franchise. It is also great fun. You are living on an island this time. You can still harvest fruit and pick weeds, but there is oh so much more you can do. You can raise flowers, go fishing, and catch bugs. You can even create orchards and do other landscaping. It is all great entertainment. Until you come to the realization that Tom Nook is the ruler of the multiverse. (Did you hear the evil laugh again?)

When the kids were little, they did not realize how much Tom Nook was controlling their lives. They knew they had to pay the mortgage on their houses and that Tom Nook was the store owner so he had control of the price at which he bought and sold items. But that did not bother them then. It was not until recently that the kids realized that Tom Nook was a nefarious evil genius who was not setting out to rule the multiverse, he was indeed the ultimate ruler of the multiverse already. (I heard the evil laugh again.) He still controls the prices of everything (albeit through his little twin henchmen, Timmy and Tommy), and he holds the mortgage on the houses as well. Of course, you go to work harvesting fruit, fish, bugs, and weeds, never realizing that you were just under Tom Nook’s control. (Mwah ha ha!)

One of the most interesting things is that the game mirrors life in some ways. You think work is so much fun at first. Harvesting stuff is oh so much fun in the beginning. You shake trees to get fruit and cast your fishing line and wield your bug-catching net all for fun. At least at first. Then you realize. Tom Nook has your number. You keep getting stuff (furniture falls out of trees and there are so many things to buy), but you run out of room to store it. So you add rooms to your home. Then, you add a second story. Then, a basement (or so I hear). You get a bigger house to hold all the stuff you do not really need in the first place. Just like in real life. All the time, you are getting larger and larger debts to good ole Tom Nook. That vender of goods and purveyor of property and constructor of property enhancements. Not that he price gouges you or anything like that. He just keeps upping the ante every time you want to make your house a little bit more livable. That is when all that harvesting seems to become drudgery.

Actually, it never really becomes drudgery. But Animal Crossing does seem to mirror life a bit. Everything is fun and games until you realize that you are doing everything you can just to please the man. And that man in Animal Crossing is actually a raccoon with those bandit eyes. And he controls not only your tiny island universe but everybody else’s tiny island universes too. He controls the multiverse. (Did you hear it this time? Mwah ha ha!)

I must admit that even though I was not the one who discovered that Tom Nook was the ruler of the multiverse and even though I agree with that assessment, I do not even care one bit. I bury my head in the sand to the fact, and just go about my merry way catching fish and bugs. And paying off my bigger and bigger mortgages. I am not trying to get out from under the thumb of the man. I am just having fun. It is a game after all. Still, it is interesting that nobody really talks about Tom Nook as the ruler of the Animal Crossing multiverse. Maybe he wants to keep it that way. (Mwah ha ha!)

© 2020 Michael T. Miyoshi

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