By: John Wahl
Raccoons get a bad rap. For years now they’ve had this reputation as the assholes of the animal kingdom. They’re small, mean, and they rummage through your garbage in the middle of the night. But that’s not all raccoons. You can’t judge an entire species by the actions of a few dickheads. Some raccoons are smart, friendly, and offer zero-interest home loans to people with no credit history. So I’m taking this opportunity to celebrate the Procyon lotor (that’s raccoon in smart people talk) by recognizing some of the greatest raccoons in the history of video games. You’re welcome.
Okay, before you say anything, I realize that my first pick on this list isn’t an actual raccoon. In fact, I acknowledge that it isn’t even a living thing, but rather a metropolitan city that’s become overrun by a zombie apocalypse set loose by an evil pharmaceutical corporation who’re covertly developing bio-organic weaponry. But I think that given the iconic nature of Raccoon City and the popularity of the Resident Evil series you can cut me a little bit of slack and allow me to include it on the list. Also, after initially deciding to make a list of video game raccoons I discovered that there are in fact, not that many raccoons in video games.
The next entry on the list isn’t an actual raccoon either, but rather a pudgy italian plumber dressed up as one. Well… I guess technically he isn’t dressed up as a raccoon, but a Tanuki (also known as a Japanese raccoon dog), a mischievous creature who apparently has the ability to shapeshift by using a magical leaf. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a pretty badass sounding creature and I’m going to allow it to be on the list even if it isn’t a “real” raccoon. Also because Super Mario Bros. 3 is an absolutely radical game.
Check it out! An honest to goodness raccoon has made the list! Sly Cooper is one of the most underrated action-platformers out there, and the appeal of the series is due in no small part to the absolutely charming cast of characters. Sly is the latest in a line of master thieves who pass down their tricks and knowledge through the generations by passing along the “Thievius Raccoonus”, a book containing all of the family’s secrets. Along with his pals Bentley (the turtle) and Murray (the hippo), Sly Cooper pulls off daring heists and thrilling escapes from both the authorities and rival thieves who are always on his tail. Truly the coolest raccoon on this list, here’s hoping that the developers at Sucker Punch haven’t forgotten their criminal past.
Of all of the raccoons in the history of video games (of which we’ve already established are few), you will no doubt never find a more interesting one than BK. You see, BK has a dream. A dream of getting his paws on a sweet new quadcopter. And to do that he’s going to use this fancy new app on his phone to deliver donuts to all of the residents of Donut County. The problem though is that this app isn’t delivering donuts, but rather giant holes in the ground that devour everything in their path. Initially refusing to take responsibility for his actions, BK eventually comes to his senses when one of the holes traps him and the rest of the townspeople deep underground. With the help of his friend Mira, BK decides to try and make things right and uncovers a sinister plot behind the holes. Yep… you should play Donut County.
Again, the number one pick on this list is a tanuki and not an actual raccoon, but if we’re gonna get hung up on technicalities than we might as well just pack it in. Tom Nook is the number one raccoon in gaming despite having a somewhat shady (and unwarranted) reputation for being a bit of a swindler. The fact is that Tom Nook is not only an entrepreneur, but also a businessman… business…animal….. he’s a fella who goes out of his way to help the little guy. Do me a favor, you go out and try to secure yourself a home loan with no credit history, no money down, no interest, and the option to make payments whenever you’re able. Forget the haters. Tom Nook isn’t some greedy slum lord, he’s a god damn hero.