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PETA: We'll keep using games "to spread our message"

Mon 24 Nov 2008 9:06am GMT / 4:06am EST / 1:06am PST
Politics

Animal rights group says it sees the medium as a vital way of reaching a diverse demographic

PETA has said it will continue to raise issues with videogame companies as a way of "engaging with the public", adding that it recognises the medium as "important as music, movies, and television."

The organisation explained that its recent webgame, Cooking Mama: Mama Kills Animals, was not meant as an attack on the Cooking Mama series or Majesco itself, but rather on the meat industry, saying that it believes the browser game helped create "buzz" for the upcoming title, Cooking Mama World Kitchen.

"Many people are unaware of the real-life violence that animals endure on factory farms and in slaughterhouses," PETA told GamesIndustry.biz. "As the largest animal rights organisation in the world, PETA acts to raise awareness of this issue. Given the popularity of games today - and especially the increased popularity of cooking games - we've decided to use this medium to spread our message."

"We use games to highlight the cruelty to animals because they appeal to people who are interested but may be turned off by more direct appeals."

A spokesperson for the group went on to explain that this was not the first game PETA has created and commented on the success it had in communicating with Sega over its Samba de Amigo adverts, which featured ape 'actors'.

"We've released a number of online games over the years," the spokesperson said. "For example, millions of people have played our Super Chick Sisters game... all the while learning about KFC's cruelty to chickens."

"We first turned to videogames years ago in an effort to reach out to young guys, but as we dug deeper, we realised that the gaming audience was much bigger and more diverse than we had initially thought. Given the huge success that we've had with Super Chick Sisters and Mama Kills Animals, we will definitely be creating many, many more games."

"We plan on continuing to use videogames as a way of engaging the public, both by continuing to create our own games and by engaging with gaming companies, as we did when we approached Sega with the request that it not use apes in its adverts," commented PETA. "Gaming, both casual and hardcore, is on the rise, and we recognise that as a medium, gaming is as important as music, movies, and television."

The organisation further reiterated that it did not intend the parody of Cooking Mama as an attack upon the game and that the campaign had positive effects for Majesco.

"We're not taking aim at Majesco specifically, or the Mama character. We only want to raise awareness that the world - be it real or virtual - is very meaty. We want everyone, including Majesco, to offer more cruelty-free, vegetarian options."

"By releasing our parody the day before Majesco released Cooking Mama: World Kitchen, we helped create a huge amount of buzz for the company's game. Based on its light-hearted public response to our game... I think that Majesco understands that the buzz that we created is good for the company. We're still hoping that Majesco will make Cooking Mama: Vegetarian Kitchen one day."

"Our game isn't an attack on the videogame industry. It's an attack on the meat industry. We love games (that's why we've created so many), and we love the Cooking Mama series," added the spokesperson.

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