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Make a mess of the streets of Toronto as a raccoon in new video game 'Trash Panda'

Trash Panda is a video game where players can rampage through the city of Toronto as a raccoon and make a big mess while doing so. (Photo submitted by Jason Leaver) Trash Panda is a video game where players can rampage through the city of Toronto as a raccoon and make a big mess while doing so. (Photo submitted by Jason Leaver)
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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to experience the city as a raccoon, wreaking havoc and being enamored with garbage? Well, a new video game created by a Toronto-based filmmaker lets you do just that. The game, ‘Trash Panda,’ was officially released on Nov. 15 and is now available for sale.

“I started developing it over the last couple of years,” Jason Leaver said in an interview on Wednesday morning with Newstalk 1010. “I thought it would take six months, but you know, I was new to this hobby that gained development. And now I’ve got this game that’s set in Toronto – like literally Toronto.”

The video game was born out of pandemic-induced curiosity. Leaver, a filmmaker by trade, said that he began to dabble in coding amid the 2021 lockdown.

Later that year, the game quickly went into its beta testing stage.

“The internet kind of named the game,” he said. “It started off where I was just experimenting, I had a bunch of assets for making video games, I was just playing around, you know I had this raccoon this animated raccoon, I had this garbage bin, I thought ‘alright, can I put these two together?’ and I started messing about, and next thing I know I had something that kind of resembled a game and threw it online, and people really liked it and said ‘I want to play this trash panda game,’ and I was like ‘oh, oh, there’s the title.’”

The object of the game is to make “the biggest mess you can,” while roaming the streets of Toronto as a raccoon. Right now, there are four neighbourhoods you can explore: Algonquin Island, Cabbagetown, the Beach, Swansea and the Water Treatment Plant. Leaver said that he’d like to add at least two more neighbourhoods, and is looking to the community for suggestions.

Instead of progressing through the game in traditional levels, ‘Trash Panda’ is divided up by neighbourhoods.

Leaver says that overall, it is a relatively simple game. He’s gotten a lot of feedback from players who have said he’s “got the right mood” with the game, whereas when children play it, they take it very seriously leaving no bin unturned.

However, raccoons have been increasingly violent in Toronto since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Torontonians were warned to avoid raccoons at all costs following a surge in attacks by the animals in 2021, and increased rates of rabies in the animals.

While adorable to some, there’s no doubt that raccoons are safest – and less bothersome – when making virtual messes online, like in the ‘Trash Panda’ video game.

“I think Toronto loves a game like this,” said Leaver.

The game is available on Steam for $9.99. More information about the game can be found here.

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