Let's all just come out and admit it: We’re garbage people.
Not in the evil sense, of course. But those of us who take part in the virtual, vacuous hole known as the internet can all agree we're part of the garbage dump.
It's hard to not become garbage, in some capacity, when you contribute to this all-consuming vortex of content, opinions, pointless arguments, anger, etc.
That's basically the concept behind Donut County, a hilarious upcoming physics puzzle game by Ben Esposito that delights in the eccentric. Deceptively simple, Donut County is all about the pleasures of destruction — while simultaneously tackling serious subjects like online divisiveness and gentrification.
Playing as a garbage-loving raccoon named BK, you live in a city heavily inspired by Los Angeles. BK finds himself working as an intern at a startup that's made a piece of technology that sucks people's trash down an indestructible hole.
But both BK and this new technology are causing rapid changes in the neighborhood. As a raccoon, "BK doesn't see anything as important. He sees it all as garbage. The whole world is his garbage," Esposito said in an interview recently.
He won't stop until he's swallowed the whole town. Whether it's old ladies, snakes, pots, fences, scooters... everything goes down the hole and gets trapped in BK's underground stock pile of garbage of spoils called the "trashipedia."
"So you're being an asshole, but it's fun!" said Esposito. "And every other character in town knows you're an asshole, and is trying to convince you after every level that what you're doing is wrong."
But a raccoon is gonna raccoon, right?
Like the internet, Donut County is all about clashes of perspectives.
Like the internet, Donut County is all about clashes of perspectives. Because, "when you're on the internet, you're forced to deal with a lot of people whose point of view you can't possibly justify," even when, "one person is usually very clearly in the wrong."
Similarly, you can't possibly justify your own actions as BK. But the townspeople need to try to "help him unlearn his garbage perspective" anyway. After every level and puzzle, you're forced to reckon with the consequences of your actions as the people in your underground bunker try to get you to see reason.
And, man, if that isn't Twitter in 2017 in a nutshell, I don't know what is.
A connoisseur of internet oddities, Esposito's first forays into creative writing began online through the wonderful world of weird Twitter. Donut County is an extension of the poetic, absurdist humor he mastered there, where entire worlds of meaning are created through strange setups. And, of course, 140 characters or less.
"[Weird Twitter] can blow your mind because it creates an entire story with a single sentence. And you have to consider the very specific perspective and situation it's creating, while only seeing a tiny bit of it."
Donut County does exactly that. It takes large subjects — from our lives online to real world gentrification — and distills it all through the point of view of an asshole raccoon.
Ultimately, while Esposito often describes Donut County as "the game where you play as the hole in the ground," it's not really about that. "It's about the stuff that gets sucked into the hole. It's about this place, and the people forced to live together and deal with each other."
Funnily enough, despite being a bizarre tale about a raccoon and a hole, Donut County is more relevant today than ever before. Because nowadays, we're seeing how online worlds and perspectives lead to actual political upheaval.
And, as Esposito demonstrates through Donut County, "It takes an entire community of people, and all their time and effort to convince this one guy that he was being an asshole."