I Calculated How Much Tom Nook Is Ripping You Off in Animal Crossing

I despise capitalists, and Tom Nook is Animal Crossing’s foremost capitalist. His status as a shop owner turned landlord has become a meme among players. He’s constantly forcing you into new surprise loans to upgrade your house; everyone knows he’s a crook. Now, finally, Animal Crossing: New Horizons is here, and the game’s economy has given us a way to determine just how much of a crook he is.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/n7jyjd/tom-nook-ripping-you-off-animal-crossing-new-horizons-bells-to-usd
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I can still never get on the Tom Nook is a crook train. Interest free, no deadline loan on a home. Every person who owns a real house would love to have one. Also if his “marked up” price for the Nintendo Switch is what’s actually reflective of its $300 value (rather than converting the trade-in value to $300), the house you’re getting from him is even cheaper.

Edited to add: every gaming website has put out 2-3 “Tom Nook bad” articles in the last, like, week and I need everyone to chill.


I understand where this is coming from, but also, I don’t have experience with the version of this character that forced house updates on you in… City Folk? So I’m sure I’m seeing this through a different lens than ppl who have been involved in this series for longer. My problem is less the price and more the fact that it increases. I don’t really understand why making rooms larger or adding additions gets progressively more expensive. If adding a room cost more than a house, that’s a problem! I dislike that aspect very much, and that’s where the unfairness lies to me.

So the details are a bit unclear here, but in some ways isn’t this a bit similar to progressive taxation? A small, simple house should be affordable to everyone, while further expanding one of your annexes is a luxury.

Of course, taxing property at the point of construction and then never again is an odd way to approach this, to say the least, and we don’t know whether this is a government taxation system, an informal project set up by Nook to subsidise smaller houses, or just him making a buck off the wealthiest townsfolk.


Regardless of how “good” his rates are, Tom Nook is still, unfortunately, a landlord.



No idea if I’m being honest. I’ve never owned property in my life, and to be quite honest, it’s very far out of my reach given my current location and circumstances. Property taxation isn’t really on my mind when I’m discussing this aspect of the game. I was thinking more about the material and labor costs of it, which is what I assumed Nook was having you pay for, as well as whatever he wants as the middleman between you and the contractors. It seems odd for those to go up when each upgrade is getting another room added and expanded the same way every time. Theoretically, it should require the same labor and same materials.

I think with Japanese games you can go with a first approximation that their currencies are worth the same as the Yen. Seems to match with e.g. the “Pokédollar” of Pokemon.

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From Chris Plante:


I’m here to let Austin know that according to the AC wiki I just read, Lucy’s favorite song is Comrade K.K.

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Tom Nook is a ***************** and needs to be ***************** all right, but it’s the Capitalist mode of production (Wage labour, commodity production, private property) and its social relations that are the real problem.

Folks, Tom Nook may be a capitalist p̶i̶g tanuki, but he is not a landlord.

He’s a real estate agent/contractor.


Here is my hottest take: Tom Nook is my friend. Yes, it is a pretty one-sided friendship but boy am I taken with him, his floral shirts, and lil pot belly.


He lets me freely display anarchist propaganda on the island so I don’t know how to read him.

Oh the town flag is the ancom/anarcho-syndicalist red and black? That’s cool. Please pay off your loan.

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That’s compatible with capitalism: you’re free to use whatever iconography you like, as long as you’re paying The Man for the right to do so.


Damn. Tom Nook got me again.

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The thing about Nook is he never (in this edition at least) pressures you to repay at all. You can just take the house and never pay without being nagged about it.

On the other hand, bells are probably not legal tender anywhere else so essentially it’s a town run on company scrip.



I have been a longtime Tom Nook apologist. He always struck me as an incrementalist working within the system to get roofs over the heads of people with no finances, no credit, nothing but a need for shelter. Beyond that, it’s all up to player agency and listen, I dunno how much contractors and permits cost. But it all tracks, and I would say Tom is spared when the Revolution comes.

Until New Horizons. Then this ain’t getting kids under safe houses, but exerting will on a deserted island.

Oh Tom. I was on your side. 8C


Nook Miles are definitely company scrip.

He’s a tanuki, creating fake currency is just in his nature.


I’ve never played Animal Crossing before. If you mess with the system clock, will it eventually change seasons? Also I’d say tarantula island isn’t cheating but time manipulation could be. For a tarantula island, you are using the tools inside the game, but time skipping is you manipulating the game outside of its rules. At the same time, cheating in video games is fine as long as it isn’t a multiplayer game where there are winners and losers.