PETA has started a new initiative ahead of the release of Super Mario Odyssey protesting the main character, Mario’s history of abuse, and how Nintendo has failed to address it.
PETA Representative Jesse Grass states in their write up:
Mario has had a long history of abusing animals, ever since his first appearance in Donkey Kong. In that game he abused the ape to such a degree that he sought revenge against his cruel master. Mario retaliated with even more abuse in an attempt to stop the ape. However, that was not enough, as we see in Donkey Kong Jr., Mario would imprison Donkey Kong again in a tiny cage with barely enough room for him to stand—all for his own sick and perverted pleasures and profit.
The complaint then cites that even Nintendo knows how bad Mario is, talking about a newly released interview regarding Super Mario World and Nintendo’s Yoshi:
It has long been known that Mario has abused Yoshi in numerous ways, such as using Yoshi as a shield to take harm for him or leaving Yoshi to fall down bottomless pits so that Mario could survive without a care. However, in a new interview, Nintendo admits to our long-held belief that Mario is, in fact, hitting Yoshi to get him to stick out his tongue and swallow enemies. This shows a continued malevolence of the character, also represented in his actions towards the turtle-like Koopas of the world, that conditions kids to think abusing animals is a perfectly fine thing to do.
Jesse Grass is referring to an interview that Nintendo had as part of the lead up to the release of the Super Nintendo Classic. In it, Shigefumi Hino discussed how the animation for Yoshi sticking out of his tongue was done. A small sample of the interview there helps provide some perspective:
So you want people to pay attention to Mario’s eyes. (laughs) Anything else?
Hino: During development of Super Mario Maker, we began to wonder why Mario’s hand moves when Yoshi sticks out its tongue in Super Mario World. Many people thought Mario was pointing forward and saying, "Go!" and that’s why Yoshi sticks out its tongue.
But that isn’t so?
Hino: Actually, we did the animation with the idea that Mario is hitting Yoshi on the head and Yoshi is sticking out its tongue in surprise.
Oh, really? (laughs)
Hino: There’s even a bonk! sound. (laughs) But we thought people would feel sorry for Yoshi, so we decided to pass it off as Mario saying, "Go!" (laughs)
Jesse’s complaint continues after that, talking about PETA’s issue with the cow-milking game in 1-2 Switch earlier this year, before returning to Mario to talk about their issues with the upcoming Super Mario Odyssey:
We see that in Super Mario Odyssey Nintendo plans on taking Mario’s abusive ways against animals even further. No longer satisfied with just harming and torturing them, Mario will be using a new power of dubious and most certainly evil origins, to control other life, including animals. One of Nintendo’s preferred marketing images shows Mario taking control of a dinosaur for his own twisted ends, as well as other images of him taking control of the turtle-like Koopas again.
Mario’s history of abuse now runs for over 35 years and we believe it is time that Nintendo apologizes to all for their actions in this case and halt all production of Mario products until all games that include such activity have been corrected to properly illustrate the harm to animals and apologize for it!
When questioned if PETA had any formal acts planned, they refused to comment, although sources indicate to us that they were in talks with the Plumbers Association, and the sources believe the reason Nintendo retired Mario from plumbing was due to pressure to clean up his reputation. Whether true or not, it marks an odd change in Mario’s life.
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