So guess what PETA is pissed off at now?
A 23-year-old video game in which the main character dresses up in the skin of a raccoon dog and saves the day. No, seriously. Super Mario Bros 3, released October 23, 1988, enticed fans with the costume that gave Mario and Luigi a different kind of super power. Super Mario 3D Land, also featuring the tanuki, or Tanooki as the game calls it, was just released on November 3.
“Tanooki may be just a ‘suit’ in Mario games,” PETA says on its website, “but in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur.”
While the offense the organization speaks of is quite sad, it’s just a couple hundred pixels in this particular case. Not even tangible. It’s not real. Only in the game developers minds and the televisions on which the game is played. The end.
Granted, yes, it’s a little weird. However, it’s simply a reflection of Japanese folklore.
“Tanuki are associated with shape-shifting tricksters in folklore, and are also seen as symbols of good luck in Japanese culture,” said Matt Alt, author and game localizer.
It is this shape-shifting trickster upon which the Tanooki Mario suit is based.
23 years ago, this wasn’t a big deal.
Now, we’re overly sensitive. To everything.
Like animated animal skins.
Honestly, the only reason it’s probably still in the game is because the Tanooki suit worked out so well for the game the first go round.
The thing is, being mad at this is a waste of PETA’s time. The game has already been released (again, mind you) and making a fuss over it now isn’t going to take the idea of a grown, mustache-wearing man dressing up in dog skin go away. In fact, it’s just going to make people focus on it more.
These things only have the power we give them.
Take the f-word for example. A word, made up of only four letters, with an imprecise etymology. This short word, paired with the last name of our current president, caused an SHSU math professor to cut out a section of the free speech wall hung in the atrium of the Lee Drain Building, causing an uproar amongst both the student and faculty bodies.
The only power that word had over him was the power he gave it.
The same thing goes for this silly game. I love Mario. I grew up playing the original Super Mario World on my Super Nintendo, a game I miss terribly, but the idea of wearing a dog suit is kinda dumb. However, it worked the first go round, so why fix what isn’t broken?
PETA, get over it. Fussing over every tiny thing makes you look ridiculous. People already think you’re a little nuts and getting in a tizzy over something that most likely originated from an idea hundreds of years old makes you look dumb, too.