One significant video game salesman I didn’t mention in last week’s post is Tom Nook from the Animal Crossing games, a raccoon with a head for business. Well, actually he’s a tanuki, which is sort of a raccoon-like dog, but versions of the game outside Japan just call him a raccoon.
It’s not uncommon for players to view him as a shifty character, even a straight-up villain, due to his constantly finding ways to make money from the player.
That said, I don’t think he can be said to be all bad. When you arrive in town with hardly any money to your name, he takes a risk by giving you a home and allowing you to pay off the mortgage later. There isn’t even a deadline for it, nor does he charge exorbitant interest. On the other hand, once you’re done paying it off, he adds to the house without consulting you first, then makes you pay for it. That sounds like some mob-style behavior right there, even though he could obviously be much worse.
I guess he’s sort of like Scrooge McDuck, in that he’s incredibly greedy and stingy but has a decent heart when it counts. He employs two younger tanukis, Timmy and Tommy, who are generally identified as his nephews. It’s rumored that they were actually orphans that he took in, but there’s no reason they couldn’t be both. They have the weird connection that fictional twins always seem to have, saying the same things at the same time, although they don’t always talk at exactly the same speed.
In his younger days, Tom Nook presumably had a crush on the hedgehog seamstress Sable Able.
They were good friends before he left for the city to move up in the world, but he apparently changed since then and the two are no longer that close, although they maintain some fondness for each other. Although he doesn’t elaborate, he apparently underwent some difficult times in the city, and returned to town to be a big fish in a small pond (even though he’s a mammal). According to this page, Nook’s store was originally Mayor Tortimer’s gardening shed. It grows in size as you buy more stuff from it, making me wonder why no one else’s purchases seem to affect his prosperity.
Incidentally, do you think Nook would get along with Torneko, or would they immediately enter into competition? How about Neko, the feline merchant from The Secret of Mana?