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Spike is back in Animal Crossing - and this time I won't lose him

Feeling lucky, punk?

I am going to get straight to this. No preamble. Spike is returning to Animal Crossing. Possibly, he's back already. If you downloaded the very recent update that was launched to coincide with today's Nintendo Direct, you may have him rattling around in your 3DS right freakin' now. He will be grumpy in there, maybe even angry. But all of that is a front. Beneath the bluster, Spike is someone special. Reader, hold onto him. Cleave to him! Take it from me. I lost him once already.

No tears for me, angelfish: I knew the dangers. Years ago I moved into my first ever Animal Crossing house, and I soon picked up a grumpy rhino from a friend's village. Spike, you son of a gun. I'll admit: I was a little intimidated at first. He seemed so aggressive, and the wrong word would make him explode in a rage. I wasn't used to this. I shared most of my village with a bunch of tight-lipped frogs and a stoner lion. Spike was a wild card, and I think that's how he liked it. Piercings. Angry T-shirt logo. The fact that he was literally an orange rhino. Everything about Spike seemed to say: stay away.

But there was more to him than that. So much more. Deep down, Spike just wanted friendship on his terms. He wanted me to write him letters. He wanted to offer me bits of furniture he found lying around - thanks for the UFO, Spike! It really is quite the conversation-starter. Pretty soon, I found myself adding five minutes to my daily Animal Crossing chores. Five minutes that simply meant: track Spike down and hang out with that guy. He's alright!

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How long did we have? One glorious summer? Eight glorious weeks? Spike, I hardly knew you. You started to mention cryptically that you were thinking of moving on. Why wouldn't you? What could hold a person like you back? I tried to reason with Spike, and he seemed to want to stay for a bit, but I knew it wouldn't last. Eventually, a bear moved in and Spike? Spike was gone. The odd letter - or did I make that up? - and then it just got too painful to play anymore. I can't even remember that damn bear's name.

Spike was dropped from a few games after that. I only know this because of the huge wiki community that has sprung up around the series, like the kind of weeds I used to get a ghost to tidy up for me. (That's kind of a painful memory too.) But now, today's Nintendo Direct has announced that he's back. Spike and a bunch of other people who nobody really cares about, right?

And now I have the wikis, I reckon I'll be able to keep Spike around a bit longer. Now I understand him a little better. I know that he's cranky by design, but soft underneath. I know that he'll be invested in a hobby, and will often want to spread rumours. Spike! I understand. I finally understand. Meet me at the post office. It will be just like old times. Punk.

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