If you put Pokemon in the context of the real world, it would be a horribly cruel place to live: capturing animals and forcing them to fight till they pass out. Of course thankfully we can differentiate that it’s a game and that just because Pikachu can take a few hits, it doesn’t mean our dog should. However, showing its typical over-the-top reactionary style tactics, PETA has gone up in arms over the recently released Black and White 2.
Protesting a game’s release with petitions, marches, a small advertising campaign, that would all be far too subtle for PETA. Instead, the animal rights group released a flash game entitled Pokemon Black and Blue, where the little critters band together to attack their trainers in order to free one another.
Right off the bat, it’s noticeable that the violence in this game is far and beyond anything that you’ll find in a Pokemon title. For starters, the humans feature blood stained clothing and weaponry, the first enemy is even clutching a bottle of what is presumably an alcoholic beverage. The difference between this and the actual Pokemon games is as much as that between Tekken’s ‘blue-electricity’ stuff that gets released when someone is hit and Mortal Kombat’s pools of blood. It’s quite clearly exaggeratory and is adding something that simply doesn’t exist in the actual Pokemon game being protested. It’s the equivalent of interviewing someone and putting words in their mouth.
PETA has also missed the point that while Pokemon as a franchise does feature some cartoonish animal violence – not much more than any Tom and Jerry cartoon mind you – Professor Oak and others often commend the player on how much love and care has gone into raising his team of animals. In-fact the reason given for the player beating his main rival is usually because they cared more, they weren’t using them just for battling. In that way the message in the Pokemon games is far deeper than what PETA is offering, because it actually purports to understand that there is a bond between humanity and animals. There’s a grey area, it isn’t just the ‘Black and White’ that PETA would have you believe.
And to top it all off, the story offered up in PETA’s game is meandering and far longer than necessary. If PETA is really worried that children are being corrupted, it might try and tone down the ammount of text that players are required to read and perhaps tailor the language to children?
The official PETA statement released with the game is as follows: “Much like animals in the real world, Pokémon are treated as unfeeling objects and used for such things as human entertainment and as subjects in experiments. The way that Pokémon are stuffed into pokéballs is similar to how circuses chain elephants inside railroad cars and let them out only to perform confusing and often painful tricks that were taught using sharp steel-tipped bullhooks and electric shock prods …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.”
KitGuru Says: Am I way off base here thinking this is a massive over reaction by a group that could really be spending their time better elsewhere? Aren’t there real animals out there that could do with help from an organisation like PETA?