Welcome back to the Garden folks, you're in for a very puzzling boxing match. In one corner, wearing faux fur trunks but doing so ironically and they're drenched in blood, is PETA. In the other, wearing blue overalls and no shirt, displaying way more chest hair than even Dan Hedaya thought possible, is Super Mario.
Round One began when Nintendo was trying to hype its new Super Mario 3D Land game, and PETA used that Mario-looking cameras to launch its new ad campaign,a bloody evil Mario. This is because Mario, who is not real, wears a magical tanooki suit in the game -- magical tanookis are two levels of not real, being both just as fake as Mario and also fictional, in that they don't have flying superpowers.
We called PETA the winner of round one, because it took Nintendo and the world by complete surprise. Part of that surprise had to due with the virulence of the campaign, and part with the fact that Nintendo, as a technology company, really is divorced from any kind of use of animals. But a haymaker is a haymaker.
Round Two features Nintendo's response to PETA's ad campaign, which had the approximate popularity of GWAR performing at an oncology convention. You'd think Nintendo would be able to hammer back -- Mario has been well-versed in hammers for three decades now. But no, it whiffed mightily in its uh-okay-sure-whatever response. Actually, "uh-sure-okay-whatever" would actually have been preferable to this.
Now, Round three. PETA fires back at Nintendo for firing back at Peta for firing back at Nintendo for dressing Mario in a flying raccoon costume. Interest in this round is pretty low: ironically for PETA, who champions cows so they're not factory-farmed for dairy products, they're milking this to the last drop.
Behold the passive-aggressive douchebaggery: "Mario fans: Relax! PETA's game was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, a fun way to call attention to a serious issue, that raccoon dogs are skinned alive for their fur," a PETA spokesperson told Kotaku. "We wish real-life tanukis could fly or swat enemies away with their tails and escape from those who profit from their skins. You can help them by never buying real fur."
First, it was more of a tongue-severed-from-mouth than tongue-in-cheek. Second, if you want to really tackle the skins in video games, Googling "nude mod" is a good start. Third, it's just tacky to pretend that you're shocked -- shocked -- that people were offended by you turning a beloved game character into a reject from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. You cna do that, yes, and people can get offended, yes, and then you say "gotcha," not oops.
To paraphrase an animal rights activist who's only hurt Adam Sandler, please remember to have you pets spayed or neutered. And for PETA, someone please reverse that operation, because they apparently need a pair.