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Is Tom Nook actually a crook?

A question as old as time, or 2001

Simone de Rochefort has been producing & hosting YouTube videos for Polygon since 2016. She co-directed the upcoming documentary The Great Game: The Making of Spycraft.

The question of whether Tom Nook is a nasty money-grubbing landlord, or a generous benefactor has plagued Animal Crossing fans since the first game’s release. Nook immediately ignited strong emotions by surprising the player with a mortgage — just some gaming fun for you!

The counter-argument goes that Nook is good, because he has given you a home and doesn’t really pressure you to pay back the loan, nor does he charge you interest. And after all, it’s pretty easy to earn money in Animal Crossing.

The thing is, if you have an opinion on Nook’s morality, you’re unlikely to change it. But I wanted to explore an expert opinion on the matter. So I reached out to housing advocate Cea Waver, of the Housing Justice For All initiative, to ask her thoughts on Nook’s actions.

Ultimately I think Nook is bad ... and that’s good, right? His wicked, money-hungry actions add tension and structure to Animal Crossing, and the series wouldn’t be the same without him.

If you haven’t already, make sure you subscribe to Polygon on YouTube. And while you’re here, check out this stellar deep dive into Animalese, the language of Animal Crossing.

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