I haven’t played much Mario in my life, but apparently he sometimes wears a raccoon dog* fur as one of his power-ups.
*I didn’t know there was such a thing as a ‘raccoon dog.’ Apparently there is.
Anyhow, PETA objects because, you know, corrupting video games like Mario teach kids that wearing fur is acceptable. Mostly because that fur gives you magical powers in your quest to save the Princess.*
*I can’t wait for the first 60 Minutes exposé on 9-year old Jaden who skinned the family dog and wore its fur so he could jump to the top of the fridge and get his Halloween candy.
So apparently the anti-fur activism is going so well that PETA is now focusing on niche segments of the fur-loving world, like people who confuse Super Mario Brothers and real life. There are so many things hilariously wrong with this campaign that we could be here all day.
But we’re here to talk about one very special thing. THIS:
PETA made a side-scrolling Mario-like game wherein you jump over Mario obstacles like boxes and tubes, and collect coins. Your character is a skinned “raccoon dog,”* and you collect coins along the way which shave seconds off your time.
*Which is pretty freaky if you stop to think about it.
Anyhow, I’m guessing at some point your “raccoon dog” character will catch the flying Mario in the upper-right corner and get his skin back. I don’t know, because the game is HARD. I played the game 20 times and this is what happened every time:
My “raccoon dog” died. The screen scroll speed increases gradually, and you have to clear the obstacles with your single jump or your “raccoon dog” character dies. If you mis-calculate a jump, or jump before another obstacle scrolls into view, your character DIES. At which point, you are told:
So, PETA, how did that Marketing Department conversation go?
Guy A: You know those Mario games?
Guy B: Yeah. Some of the most beloved and inoffensive video games ever made.
Guy A: Well…yeah…but one of the power-ups is a tanuki skin.
Guy B: What the hell is a tanuki?
Guy A: A raccoon dog.
Guy B: ….?
Guy A: Anyhow, it’s fucked up. We should protest it. The game is teaching kids that animal skins give you power, and will thus create a whole new generation of fur trappers.
Guy B: Wow, we can’t have that. Want to make a mock video game that turns the tables on Mario?
Guy A: Sounds great. So you’ll chase Mario as a tanuki–
Guy B: A skinless tanuki!
Guy A: Awesome, yeah. You chase Mario and when you catch him, you get your skin back! It’ll be a side scroller.
Guy B: What happens if you fall in a pit?
Guy A: You die and start over.
Woman A: Um, Jim, Ted…so…that’s a game where you kill a ton of tanukis in your quest to get the skin back.
Guy A: Joanne, leave the video games to the men, mmmkay?
What were we protesting again? Oh, right, a video game that treats killing animals as an acceptable means to an end. I played the game for 10 minutes and killed about 25 “raccoon dogs.”
This is so fucking backasswards hilarious I can hardly breathe. There are almost too many jokes to make about this. The only way I can see this not being a first-ballot Activism Hall Of Shamer is if PETA intentionally made an impossible game as some kind of meta-commentary on the fruitlessness of wearing animal fur. Or something.
I mean, come on. Mario? ”Raccoon dogs?” This is why people don’t take animal rights activists seriously.