PETA has a bone to pick with Pokemon, and it’s over how the popular Nintendo video game treats its big-eyed virtual characters.
The animal rights group, which normally focuses on the abuse of dogs, cats and other animals in the real world, has crossed over into the virtual world to launch a protest against Nintendo’s newest Pokemon game, “Black and White 2.”
PETA, which stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, complains the characters in “Black and White 2,” all of whom are collectively called Pokemon, are abused by their “trainers.”
“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,” PETA says on a website that promotes a parody video game, “Pokemon Black & Blue – Gotta Free ‘em All.”
PETA says Pokemon have suffered at the hands of their “cruel” trainers for generations. In its parody game, one of the Pokemon characters, Pikachu, battered with splotches of blood, bandaged and wearing a broken neck brace, rises up to confront one of the trainers, Cheren, who also appears blood-spattered and holding a bat, ready to beat down Pikachu’s defiance.
The player gets the option of allowing Pikachu to deliver a quick attack, a thunder shock, a group hug or protest. The player’s goal is to “exploit a trainer’s weakness and defeat all the trainers to free all Pokemon.”
According to CNET, Black and White 2 was released in July in Japan and is expected in North America, Europe, and Australia this month.
The Pokemon series – there are more than 600 fictional species – is second only to Nintendo’s Mario when it comes to global video game popularity.
CNET notes that this isn’t the first time PETA has launched attacks against virtual characters. It protested Nintendo’s “Super Mario 3D Land” game for dressing Mario in a fur suit and Zinga’s “Mafia Wars” game’s use of pit bulls as attack dogs.