Space Raccoon Game Changes Its Unfortunate Eyebrow-Raising Name


The, uh, not-so-great name a Dutch development team chose for its upcoming browser-based platformer has been cast off in favour of one less cringe-inducing, unintentionally or not. Everyone, say hi to Curio’s Starquest.

Formerly, this was known as Starcoon and if, like me, some of your best friends are black, you can recognise how that isn’t a an elegant portmanteau on this side of the Atlantic. “Coon” is a longstanding racial epithet in American vernacular.

Mike Fahey pointed this out on Monday and the developers, a group of students from the Utrecht School of Arts & Technology, responded at once that they would change the name. Today they unveiled the new title.

“We decided to avoid further confusion about the title of our game and decided to drop the title ‘Starcoon,” the team said. “The reason for this change of the title is that we acknowledge the fact that our former title might raise some eyebrows about the use of the word ‘coon’ of which we missed the controversial meaning due to cultural differences.”

They’re shifting their old website and domain name over to, which should be active within 48 hours.

“We hope that with this new title, the game will still get the support it deserves,” they say, “as Curio would be most happy to bring joy in the lives of gamers all over the world.”


  • Good diplomacy on their part, but I think it’s sad that it had to be done. As with the cheese and the short version of ‘raccoon’, it could have been an opportunity to help restore normal usage of the word and push out the racist alternate meaning it managed to pick up.

    Like George Carlin said, there are no bad words – bad people, bad intentions, yes, but not bad words.

  • Treating people differently than you would treat others (even if just by being overly sensitive) IS racism and only serves to continue segregating society.

    It’s the same in every area of society too – even most big homeless aid organizations don’t recommend giving food to homeless people directly because it demeans them as though you are better than them. Give the food to them, they will put it out, and if the homeless want it they will come and get it. (advice gotten while volunteering, I personally think if someone is starving, give them a freaking sammich haha)

  • Ugh. It didn’t have to be done at all and it’s disappointing that it was. Was there anyone actually confused by this? If there was, you can’t help those people. At all. The only way to help them would be to bubble-wrap the world.

    ‘Coon’ can be used as a racial epithet or an abbreviation for raccoon. (Or a brand of cheese, but let’s ignore that as it could be loaded.) If your game happens to feature a main character who is a fucking raccoon then I will allow you to take ONE WILD GUESS as to which version is being used! If you can’t get it right, there is something wrong with you, not the world’s lexicon.

    Look. If you really want to stamp out the use of word in the perjorative, eliminating every instance of it appearing is NOT the way to approach it. Just look at children. They need to have these things explained to them. A child comes into the world not knowing racial epithets unless their parents used them instead of playing mozart at the mother’s tummy.

    So when there are examples you can point to of the word being in use in the NOT RACIST context, and when that is normal, when a child asks, “What’s coon mean?” and their parent replies, “raccoon,” and they shrug and go about their business and as they grow up, that becomes all that the word means. Yes, once they’re old enough to look words up on the internet they may for some reason be exposed to the racist version, but after a certain age, seeing words used in an unfamiliar context becomes weird and uncomfortable and less inclined to stick, unless you’re a die-hard racist looking for an outlet.

    • I agree – why the hell was this equated to a racial slur at all?
      I hope Webster have their correction pen out to take out the racially abhorrent words tycoon and cocoon.
      Why was this even a thing?

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