To protect animals from devastation, PETA hijacks Pokémon memories

Pokémon played a prominent role in our generation’s childhood. From the video games to the trading cards to the television show, Pokémon is a fun and exciting franchise, remembered fondly by almost all who grew up with it.

However, the release of the newest Pokémon video game has brought on some substantial criticism from animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, better known as PETA.

PETA, well known for its outlandish publicity stunts to draw attention to their causes, has started protesting the Pokémon franchise as promoting animal abuse.
In opposition to the new game, PETA released an online parody titled Pokémon Black & Blue: Gotta Free ’em All. The game and its artwork feature a bandaged, bloodied Pikachu that escaped to fight for freedom against its former, bloodstained masters.

Pikachu can fight back using standard attacks such as “Thundershock” and “Quick Attack,” but can also “Protest” or try to engage in a “Group Hug.”

On top of that, once you successfully beat your trainer, your reward is the ability to watch videos of animal cruelty.

The choice to protest Pokémon, out of all the possible causes to choose from, seems absurd.

PETA’s decision to attack a game series that has passed its peak, one whose anime and related products emphasize values like friendship and companionship, seems inexplicable.

Below the parody game, PETA wrote, “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.” It added, “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.”

It is worth noting that, despite their role as fighting pets in the videogames, the Pokémon cartoons and movies have always emphasized that Pokémon should be treated humanely and with respect as friends. Nintendo also went to lengths to emphasize that Pokémon only “faint” after their battles, and do not die as a result of fighting in battles during the game.

This isn’t the first time PETA has distorted popular games for its cause, having released a Mario parody in the past and Super Tofu Boy in response to the popular indie game Super Meat Boy.

Despite the absurdity of this protest, the game has been successful at one thing: gaining attention.

What better way to get your name in the news than by attacking people’s fond childhood memories? PETA has always been an organization concerned about gaining publicity, and doesn’t care if it’s good or bad.

If PETA wants to raise awareness for animal rights, that is its own prerogative.

However, attacking our childhood memories and a perfectly innocent game franchise is not the best way to do this.