Donut County: A Villainous Raccoon, a Hole in the Ground, and the Effects of Gentrification

In a new video game, the player is a no-good raccoon wreaking havoc on the world around him.
September 6, 2018, 8am PDT | Camille Fink
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Annapurna Interactive

Ben Esposito’s new video game, Donut County, is an allegory about gentrification. A raccoon named BK lives to “meet the locals, steal their trash, and throw them in a hole.” But, as Liz Ohanesian explains, that is only until he finds himself on the other side: 

When BK and his friend Mira are also swallowed by the hole, they end up at an underground campfire, confronted by those whose lives the raccoon has ruined. One by one, the displaced tell their tales as they try to make BK realize that he’s a douchebag with no regard for anything more than his own material gain.

Esposito developed the game after living in Brooklyn and then Los Angeles and realizing his own role in displacing people. He is BK, a representation of the high-income tech worker moving in and forever changing a neighborhood.

The goal of the game is to get BK to understand the consequences of taking over everything in sight along with his raccoon buddies, led by the Trash King. Ultimately, says Esposito, Donut County is about how technology and money perpetuate and magnify the gentrification of cities.

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Published on Thursday, August 23, 2018 in Los Angeles Magazine
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