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Occupy Wall Street meets Animal Crossing

I just came back from an incredible vacation in the wild west (National parks! Mountain biking! Crazy hikes! Horses!), and look here, the Occupy Wall Street protesting has spread like wildfire.

So much so that one awesome blogger on STFU conservative compared the cause with trying to pay off debt in Animal Crossing – the infamously adorable Gamecube game where you converse with animal friends, collect fun items to decorate your house, and face mind-numbing toil to pay off said dwelling.

From the post:

“Animal Crossing was probably the first time I really understood the concept of not just debt, but being crushed by debt.”

“When you first move in to your town, you’re given a house by the local merchant Tom Nook (the raccoon on the right). It isn’t until you’ve already moved in that he reveals to you that you’re indebted to him for 100,000 bells (the game’s currency) and he forces you to work in his store as an indentured servant. After a few days (literal. days.) worth of doing delivery work, you’re freed from your servitude but not from your debt. Thank goodness Tom Nook didn’t charge interest or your in-game circumstances would be that much more dire.

You do a bunch of random gathering to gain up money to pay back your loan and just when you think you’re finally free from the crushing weight of Tom Nook’s thumb… he adds a second story onto your house! And the cycle of debt begins again.”

At first, the post struck me as funny – then I realized that Joe totally has a point. Animal Crossing was actually one of my most-played GC games next to Wind Waker and Metroid Prime – I actually ended up paying off my McMansion and getting my statue erected in town (I suppose you could see this as the equivalent to “beating” the game), but yeah – it was actually a ton of work. I fished and fished and fished that damned river for weeks on end. Metaphor for real life? Yeah, I can see it.

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Danielle Riendeau

What I do for work: spend my days as the ACLU design/code/video ninja, write about games, make (tiny) games, teach digital media at Northeastern University. What I do for fun: all of the above, plus lots of running, fitness fun, filmmaking, outdoor exploration, world travel, sci-fi everything.

7 thoughts to “Occupy Wall Street meets Animal Crossing”

  1. People are not given a house, then stuck with an unexpected debt (unless they win a house and have to pay taxes, but the would be a government issue). They shop for a house, and they no how much they are going to spend on it. If they are careful, the do not buy a house they cannot afford. A second story does not suddenly appear once your house is paid off, either. Again, you would choose to pay for a second story to be built. In the real world, these are voluntary transactions. What is described in the game is not voluntary.

  2. Of course what happens in the game is voluntary. If you don’t like having the debt, you don’t play the game. But if you want to play the game and share in the experience, you have to accept an overwhelming burden of debt.

    Also, I envy you if life has seen fit to teach you that all major expenses are voluntary. Speaking as someone who entered the job market with an uncomfortable amount of student debt right as the economy collapsed, I can tell you that being “careful” isn’t always enough. Sometimes life goes ahead and adds a second story to your house of cards when a private company buys your government loan.

  3. While having nothing to do with the OWS movement, I read this Animal Crossing story that details the secrets of Tom Nook

  4. You are wasting your time trying to explain this. The people who think that they have no choice when they amass tons of debt are never going to understand. So many of these people complain that they have too much credit card debt, but they have an ipad, and an xbox, and a flat screen tv, and dish network, and a blu ray player, and a new car, and high speed internet, and netflix, and a $300,000 house.

    People who complain about school loans could have gone to a state school, or a community college, they chose to go to a private university. Choice. It is always a choice.

    If you are a single mother, working two jobs to pay the rent, trying to make the best out of your situation for the sake of your child, then you have my sympathy. If you are a hipster tweeting via your iphone 4s that a cop totally just looked at you funny #occupywallstreet, then you can go ahead and bite me.

    Now, if we compared animal crossing to say… mandatory healthcare plans… now we might be getting somewhere.

    And P.S. I’ve stopped going to Kotaku because every other story is political. I came here to read about video games. This tie in is weak, and Trollish. There are enough political blogs out there (left or right) and I don’t care to mix the two.

  5. Wow, and I used to respect this site for it’s quirky humor and, well, no-score reviews.

    Now you’re bringing politics into my video games? For shame. I’m not going to clog up this board and argue one way or not, but I will say this: fiscal responsibility is a lesson this nation needs to learn, and stat. And, just like the poor schmuck who moved to Animal Crossing OF HIS OWN VOLITION, I am making a choice: never again shall I visit this site. Good day sir. May your politics stick in your craw.

  6. Sure, most people have debt because they are irresponsible spenders. Most homeless people are just lazy. Women have kids just for the child support. People who can’t afford health insurance just shouldn’t get sick. And those who get sexually assaulted were asking for it.

    If we spout enough anecdotes that blame the victim, we can make misfortune a personal failing. Then we’re free of any social or moral responsibility, thank heavens! We were so smart to make all the right decisions.

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