PETA Presents: Mario Kills Tanooki
PETA is one of those organizations that espouses a philosophy most people can agree on—that people should not mistreat animals—and yet always finds ways to offend or otherwise put-off people. The organization recently unleashed a new flash game after seeing Mario’s famous Tanooki Suit (something that would’ve been timely during the release of Super Mario Bros. 3) and is thereby guilty of animal cruelty.
In recent years, PETA has gotten more active in its condemnation of what it perceives to be gaming’s insensitivity towards the subject matter. Shortly before condemning Mario, PETA voiced its concerns over the killing of rats in Battlefield 3. It’s a naked ploy to get attention and to direct focus to a new demographic, and the latest addition to their roster of flash games is called (appropriately enough) Mario Kills Tanooki.
The title is a huge misnomer, for one. Players take on the role of an irate, skinless tanuki (the correct spelling) as he desperately tries to catch up to Mario and take back his coat. So Mario never actually kills a tanuki, although he did skin it. It’s a moving side-scroller and the background is made up of ominous red clouds, blood-soaked grass, and skinless edifices (which look disturbingly phallic) in some kind of nightmare-wonderland as envisioned by Clive Barker.
As a reviewer, I’d have to rate the content in Mario Kills Tanooki poorly. There’s not much of a plot, it’s short, the production values are low, and the gameplay is strictly one-note as it just involves pressing the space bar to jump over obstacles and pits while collecting coins. During my playthrough I largely ignored the “fur is murder” message because I was too busy trying to get a high score. That’s another point-deduction: lack of leaderboards.
This marks PETA’s fourth attempt at specifically riffing on videogames. Smash-hits just like: Super Chick Sisters, Super Tofu Boy, and my personal favorite Mama Kills Animals because it attempts to demonize one of the most disgustingly adorable videogame characters of all time. Clearly this a trend that will not just go away on its own.
I’m curious as to why PETA is suddenly so active voicing their concerns about the wholesale slaughter of animals in videogames. If they’re up in arms about Mario just recently, imagine showing them a screencap of Street Fighter II where the guy in the background is throttling a chicken. Or better yet, all those fake pigs and cows that were killed so our hero gains some of his health back in any number of games?