Super Mario vs PETA: animal rights group targets video game


NSFW    PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is known for their very public, sometimes controversial, crusades against all forms of animal cruelty. Now they have trained their sights on a video game, Nintendo's Super Mario 3D Land.

In the game, the popular character Mario is able to wear a "tanooki suit," resembling a Japanese tanuki raccoon dog. PETA claims the suit encourages the wearing of fur products and has created a website in protest. The site features a parody game where players assume the role of a skinned "tanooki" who tries to wrestle his pelt back from an evil Mario lookalike.

People in the gaming press have been quick to point out that Mario is never seen harming a tanuki in the course of the game. One website called PETA's outrage "absurd and unresearched."

The tanooki suit first made an appearance in the 1988 title, Super Mario Bros. 3. It allows Mario, among other abilities, to transform into a stone statue, rendering him invincible to enemy attacks. Nintendo decided to bring the feature back for Super Mario 3D Land, which is available for the Nintendo 3DS this month.

One of the most beloved and enduring video game series in the history of the medium, Super Mario Bros. chronicles the heroics of Mario and his brother Luigi, two plumbers who happen upon an enchanted world called Mushroom Kingdom. They are often called upon to rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of the evil Bowser and his legion of reptilian henchmen.

Mario first appeared in the 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong, and rose to popularity after the release of the original Super Mario Bros. title in 1985 on Nintendo's popular NES home video game console.
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