The Pokémon Problem

When I was younger, I loved Pokémon. I loved the show. I loved the video games. I loved the trading cards, both as collectibles and as a game.

pokemon-logoWhen I got older, I broke out the old Game Boy and started Pokémon: Gold again.

I got extremely upset when I realized that I was taking part in a country-sanctioned animal-fighting league.

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Pokémon: Black & Blue

wallpaperSo, being the epic procrastinator that I am, it has taken me eight months to get around to playing Pokémon: Black and Blue, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’s parody of Pokemon Black and White. The game turns the Pokémon games on their head by having Pokemon battle against trainers for their freedom. The premise, in long form, is as follows:

pokemon_black_blue_intro

Designed, apparently, to call attention the negative messages that our children are learning from the Pokémon games, the game’s heavy-handed approach leaves the whole thing feeling like a publicity stunt (which it obviously is), though not nearly as ugly as some of their other public relations material.

You see, PETA’s advertisements, publicity, and what have you often trade in racism, sexism, misogyny, and the commodification of the female body to make their points. They seem to be fond of comparing women to pieces of meat, as they did here, and again here. In a fit of sensitivity and tact, they’ve even been so bold as to dress up as Klan members in front of the Westminster dog show in 2009 in New York. Continue reading