PETA, following the emergence of their spoof-game Super Tanooki Skin 2 earlier this week, have stated that their lumping together of Mario and animal brutality was all just a bit of tongue-in-cheek fun to help raise the awareness of the real-life tanuki's plight.
'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,' explained Shakira Croce, PETA's media coordinator. '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.'
Ashley Palmer, a spokesperson for PETA, said that the organisation was taken aback by the literal interpretations of the spoof, issuing a clear explanation no doubt in response to some of the more vitriolic receptions their campaign has received in some corners of the internet.
'No one really believes that Mario actually kills and skins a raccoon dog for his fur in Super Mario 3D Land,' said PETA spokesperson Ashley Palmer, talking with Kotaku. 'Our spoof is simply making a serious point: that there is a much darker story behind tanuki skins than Mario lets on. In games like Call of Duty, where characters shoot and kill animals, or in Dog Wars, where players have fun fighting and torturing dogs, it sends a dangerous message that this kind of behavior is acceptable.
'We know how beloved Mario is-we are huge Mario fans ourselves! We were a little surprised that the game was taken so literally by some, but we're thrilled that we're able to bring so much attention to raccoon dogs whose suffering is very real.'
A quarter of a million people played the spoof title in the first 36 hours, apparently, which is pretty good going. Congratulations PETA, upon manipulating our industry so effortlessly. Well played, well played indeed.