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I Owe Money to an Actual Raccoon and It’s Much Less Whimsical Than Animal Crossing Would Have You Believe

Everyone understands that video games do not accurately portray reality. In real life, eating a flower won’t let you throw fireballs, nor can you recover from a dozen bullet wounds by ducking behind a short wall for a few seconds. It’s common sense that games must take some liberties in order to be, y’know, games. Still, creators have a responsibility to ensure that their works don’t spread harmful misinformation. Unfortunately, Nintendo shirked this responsibility when they created Tom Nook, a cartoon raccoon from the “Animal Crossing” series who loans the player money to buy a house.

Tom Nook is a patient and affable lender, who does not impose any deadlines on the player and allows them to pay him back at their own pace. I can say from experience that this is not how a real raccoon would behave. They won’t let you forget about the money you owe them. Just ask that piece of shit loan-shark Randy Bandit, a raccoon who lives in my neighborhood and gave me a payday advance. That asshole is scratching at my window every goddamned night. “Where’s my money, Kyle? You still owe me that money.” Yeah, Randy, and don’t I know it. I’m gonna get you your damn money, just let me fucking sleep.

“Animal Crossing” also makes it way too easy to pay back a raccoon loan. You can just sell Tom Nook stuff like furniture, fruit, and fish, and soon enough, you’ve got enough cash. Randy Bandit owns a pawn shop, too, but he’s not quite as generous as Mr. Nook. In fact, his valuations are garbage, and that’s what he really loves: garbage. He spends most of his time in the damn dumpster. Plus, one time he took the watch I was trying to pawn and didn’t pay me anything. He claimed it was counterfeit and said it would be illegal to give it back to me. That was my grandfather’s watch, Randy! He wore it through the war! It wasn’t some knock-off from “Chinatown” like you claim. Our city doesn’t even have a Chinatown!

Randy’s got a lot of side-hustles. His new thing is that he’s an independent contractor, kind of like how Tom Nook will expand your house in “Animal Crossing.” Randy is just as pushy as Tom is in the series’ earlier games, refusing to take “no” for an answer when he suggests that you put in a bay window or replace your carpet with hardwood floors. The difference is Randy doesn’t actually do the fucking job. Oh, sure, he does the demo right away, ripping out your old flooring, putting a big hole in your wall, and covering it all up with an old, ripped-up tarp. But then he disappears. He doesn’t even show up at night to hassle you about the money you owe him.

Eventually, you go down to the pawn shop to confront him, and he acts like he has no idea what you’re talking about. You threaten to report him to the city, but it turns out that he never got his business license and there’s no paper trail, so you’re stuck finding a different contractor to complete the work at twice the cost. Oh, and guess who’s back tapping on your bedroom window at two in the morning, demanding you pay back your loan or he’ll tip over your trash cans? That’s right: Randy Fucking Bandit. And that is his real middle name. I’ve seen his driver’s license.

There’s one other thing about Randy that rubs me the wrong way, even though it shouldn’t be a big deal. It’s just that I can’t help but notice how he’s become increasingly nervous when there’s water around lately. I’m not sure what that’s all about, but it’s been making me uncomfortable. Fucking Randy.