Okay, I’ll admit it: in my younger years, I supported PETA. To an extent, I still do…but let me clarify. I support their attempts to end animal cruelty, but I do not at all support how they go about it. Their attempts are oftentimes clumsy and foolish, and make a mockery of the entire cause rather than strides in the right direction.
And their latest shenanigan is no different.
Enter Pokémon Black And Blue: Gotta Free ’em All…A derpily created flash game that attacks the beloved Pokémon video game series for promoting animal cruelty.
You think I’m kidding? YOU CAN CLICK ANYWHERE IN THIS SENTENCE TO SEE THAT I AM NOT!
The game’s lead protagonist is a battered and bloodied Pikachu who has decided that daggone-it he’s had enough of being used by his trainer to battle other Pokémon. In this edition, he must attack his trainer in order to gain his freedom. While he can use attacks like Thundershock and Quick Attack to lower his trainer’s health, attacks like Group Hug and Protest help alter his trainer’s skill point sets to make the battle easier. Meanwhile, the “evil” trainer uses attacks to chain Pikachu up and stab him with nails.
You still think I’m kidding, but I promise I’m not.
The description provided by PETA for the game is as follows:
For generations, Pokemon have suffered at the hands of their cruel trainers. Help PETA free Pikachu and his Pokemon friends as they struggle for Pokemon Liberation.
The amount of time that Pokémon spend stuffed in pokéballs is akin to how elephants are chained up in train carts, waiting to be let out to “perform” in circuses. But the difference between real life and this fictional world full of organized animal fighting is that Pokémon games paint rosy pictures of things that are actually horrible.
If PETA existed in Unova, our motto would be: Pokémon are not ours to use or abuse. They exist for their own reasons. We believe that this is the message that should be sent to children. —Team PETA
Anyone who has played the actual games knows that Pokémon promotes kindness to all, with the villains often the ones doing the abusing. The protagonist’s mission is always to thwart the villains’ evil plans and restore harmony to all. Some games even feature rewards based on how well you treat your Pokémon, such as new evolutions and greater effects from Items and Attacks.
But I suppose PETA never got past the “Oh my God, there are live (cartoon) creatures captured inside of mythical ball devices! We must protest…hey, we should incorporate protesting in our protesting! What a brilliant idea!”
This isn’t the first time PETA has parodied a game market for one of their campaigns. There was Super Tanooki Skin 2D, which theorized that our beloved Mario likes skinning raccoons and wearing their bodies on the weekends. Then came Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals, just in time for the Thanksgiving festivities. And who could forget Super Tofu Boy, where Super Meat Boy’s girlfriend dumps him in the name of veganism.
The response to the game–and the others–ranges from hysterics to outrage, and once again PETA has caused all of the environmentally-friendly, animal-loving individuals like myself to hang our heads in shame and wait for the controversy to die down.