Nintendo’s new Mario video game apparently contains some animal violence. Humans, playing the game can kill a tanooki raccoon dog and wear it’s skin to get special powers. I’ll probably skip playing the game.
I thought the defensive reaction was pretty interesting.
While it is true that at points in the game, Mario dons a raccoon-ish looking “Tanooki” suit that enables him to float in the air and swat bad guys with his tail, he never slaughters an animal to get it.
Instead, as MSNBC’s In-Game blog points out, “the magical Tanooki suits that [Mario] wears in the game typically spring from magical squares that magically hover in the air. These squares magically give up the suits, (which at first look like magical leaves), when Mario bumps his head into them.”
This is an interesting take on the notion of suicide food. I’m not buying the argument that abstract violence against animals in the fictional world is any less significant because the realism has been distorted. In particular this is the slaughterhouse-as-magic-box theme. I think this idea only fuels the disconnect between eating meat (or wearing fur) and the killing of the animal.