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The People for the Ethical Treament of Animals (PETA) is outraged over Mario's Tanooki suit and the message it sends to gamers. Confused? According to PETA, Mario is guilty of the disgusting act of wearing the skin of a raccoon dog to give him special powers, but you shouldn't be surprised because "Mario has been known to use any means necessary to defeat his enemy." The way PETA describes it, you'd think Nintendo's popular game character is a pixelated version of Hannibal Lecter.
"Tanooki may be just a 'suit' in Mario games, but in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur," PETA said in a statement. "By wearing Tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it's OK to wear fur."
What can you do about it? Um, you can play PETA's Flash-based Super Tanooki Skin 2D platform game and "help Tanooki reclaim his fur!" The side scrolling platformer has you mashing the space bar to jump over obstacles as you chase a blood dripping version of Mario flying across the screen in a raccoon skin. Yep, that'll show Nintendo the apparent error of its way. Or perhaps not.
"Mario often takes the appearance of certain animals and objects in his games," a spokesperson told Eurogamer. "These have included a frog, a penguin, a balloon and even a metallic version of himself. These lighthearted and whimsical transformations give Mario different abilities and make his games fun to play. The different forms that Mario takes make no statement beyond the games themselves."
Image Credit: PETA