PETA Presents: Pokémon Black and Blue
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, more commonly referred to as PETA, is not exactly known for having the most subtle means for pursing its cause. While PETA’s cause is innocuous, if not a noble pursuit, I am quite opposed to their methods especially, when considering their latest endeavor: Pokémon Black and Blue. This is not the first time, and presumably will not be the last, in which PETA has resorted to using video games as a method to deliver their message. PETA’s previous titles include Super Tanooki Skin 2D, Super Tofu Boy, and Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals which parody Super Mario Bros., Super Meat Boy, and Cooking Mama. Each of these titles demonstrates PETA’s willingness to use shock and awe tactics, to varying levels, in their quest for the ethical treatment of animals.
Pokémon Black and Blue depicts Pikachu and a few others rebelling against their trainers to earn their freedom. At first blush, it is a moderately interesting idea and shows some feasibility with moves like “Educate,” “Protest,” or “Petition.” However, the unlockable “treasures” rapidly push Pokémon Black and Blue into offensive territory. Unlocking the first “treasure” reveals a video which depicts the caging, mistreatment, and slaughter of animals. Pokémon has always maintained kid-friendly content, as young kids are the target demographic, which leads to the primary controversy of PETA’s new campaign. It is not inconceivable for younger kids to stumble upon this game while exploring the internet looking for other content, particularly with Pokémon Black 2 having just released as of October 7.
To be clear, I do not consider ignorance of the subject to be an appropriate attitude, and by no means do I advocate the mistreatment of animals. In my mind, Pokémon Black and Blue is only the most recent stunt pulled by PETA to garner attention. To this extent, it has worked. However, it is my desire to pull attention to PETA’s methods just as much, if not more so, than their message.
Games can certainly be used as a medium to communicate important messages, something that I fully support. Using a kid-friendly façade to place such a topic into reach of children is another matter.
If you are so inclined to play the actual game, gentle reader, Pokémon Black and Blue is easily found through your friendly, neighborhood search engine. For now, I want to know your opinions. What do you think of Pokémon Black and Blue? Did it truly cross the line in your mind or am I merely overreacting? Has this impacted how you view PETA and, if so, how?