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Animal Crossing: A Stalinist Take

Animal Crossing is a wonderful game that has arrived just in time for us to escape the misery of real life. It has also planted the seeds of regret for when exam results come in and you realise island life may have detracted somewhat from your revision. 

Don’t be distracted by the cute animals, bright colours and relaxed resort lifestyle – it’s all a guise to lure you into believing in its sinister ultra-capitalist ideology. The game may have a PEGI 3 rating, but this is no game for kids. We know the truth: this is a ruthless corporate totalitarian dictatorship. An appalling dystopia that must be stopped. 

Every aspect of this game revolves around maximising your earnings and promoting ultra-capitalism. Walking up and down collecting seashells you’ll soon sell from the seashore. Cementing your social outcast status when hitting rocks with a shovel like an absolute loon, hoping that bags of cash start popping out. Accelerating global warming by chopping down trees to get more resources. 

The worst part? It all comes back to Tom Nook: resident raccoon tycoon. That hi-fi stereo you bought at the shop? That’s owned by Tom’s associates Timmy and Tommy. Thought you did the right thing by donating that T-Rex torso to Blathers at the museum? More business for his good friend Nook.

With every activity, you are being exploited for free labour working for Tom Nook, the sly conman who ropes you into helping furnish other villagers’ houses, then paying seed money for him to build houses, lest you wish to progress. But his most notorious deeds lie in the property business. Having finally sold your last piece of furniture to pay off Nook’s gargantuan loan, the alluring house expansion returns you to a life in crushing debt to a talking raccoon. 

In an attempt to make this gruelling reality more palatable to us, Nintendo tries to misguide us by implying this is some dreamy socialist utopia. They give us this illusion that island life is one where all the villagers are friends, sharing and having fun exploring and building a new town. But I am no longer under any illusion. While I have been putting my blood, sweat and tears into earning Bells to build up the town’s infrastructure, what have my fellow villagers ever done for me?

 Sure, one moment they compliment me on wearing the same t-shirt five days in a row, but I am still faced with Tutu handing me over a trash bin as a gift because she thought it reminded her of me. For the ‘good’ of the island, I risk wasp stings and tarantula attacks. Over days of resource-gathering and economic stimulation (i.e. buying clothes), I helped launch two shops and thus gave my fellow villagers the gift of rampant consumer capitalism. The reward? They show their thanks with party poppers.

Folks, this isn’t socialism. This is socialism for everyone except me.

Have these anthropomorphic beasts learned nothing from modern history? The example set by Stalin shows that bourgeois indulgence will be met, nay, must be met with purges. First, I will formally inquire with Isabelle to commence the purge. This will take the form of show trials, in the town square, so all can gasp in horror as their peers are rightfully banished from my island, replaced with loyal, obedient and cooperative newcomers who will demonstrate their appreciation of my bug-catching and gardening through paying their fair share for bridge construction. 

I look forward to asserting myself as the oligarch of my town. In this land free of pesky rights and regulations, nothing will stop me from buying out crucial establishments. I will start with Nook’s Cranny, progress to Town Hall and ultimately exact revenge over Nook himself. From there, my quest for global domination expands to outright buying of friends’ islands. Hannah Arendt warned against resorting to violence will eventually lead to a retaliatory ‘boomerang effect’ where one’s power is weakened. But in this ultra-capitalist corporate dystopia, the only way to get power is to get rich. And by that point, there’s nothing Nook, Isabelle or my villagers can do to stop me. However, should they prove uncooperative, more drastic measures may, regrettably, have to be taken.

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