Comedy adventure game CHUCHEL’s latest update brings some minor bug fixes and tweaks that developer Amanita Design says players will hardly notice as they try to solve the game’s challenges and puzzles. However, they also added one not-so-minor tweak that players are sure to notice right away.
Amanita Design - the studio behind other titles such as Machinarium and the Samorost series - has officially changed the body color of CHUCHEL’s namesake character from black with an orange head topper, to orange with a black top.
The change comes as a direct result of community outcry stating that Chuchel’s original color scheme resembled that of “blackface.” Initially emerging and being predominantly used in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries (though existing throughout the world), blackface is a theatrical makeup tactic used by non-black actors as an exaggerated, satirical portrayal of a black person. The tactic is widely considered to be offensive and racially insensitive to the black community, thus leading to Amanita Design’s decision to change Chuchel’s color.
“We acknowledge that due to significant differences in culture and history between Central Europe and other regions, we did not consider the possibility of Chuchel, a living dust bunny, being associated with ‘blackface’,” Amanita Design wrote in a statement. “We would like to sincerely apologize to anyone who has been offended by the original appearance of Chuchel. As a team of peace-minded creative people, we simply do not want any of our games and characters even remotely associated with racism or any other form of hate crime.”
Considering the whimsical and beautifully crafted games that Amanita Design has previously released, it is hard to imagine that there was any ill intent behind Chuchel’s design. While the recent Steam reviews since the update have dropped to “Mostly Negative” - with plenty of dismissive “trolly” ratings worth nothing more than an eye-roll - changing Chuchel’s color was ultimately the best thing to do.
Chuchel might resemble that of an orange fuzzball more than a dust bunny now, but that does not negate the overall fun or quality of the game, which up until its update, maintained a “Very Positive” Steam rating.