Video game mega-company Nintendo has just released a highly anticipated
new game, but not without controversy. A prominent animal rights
organization claims the game's imaginary creatures are "much like
animals in the real world" and subject to use and abuse by humans. Is
this type of game play just harmless fun, or does it encourage children
to be cruel to animals?

Pokemon Black and White 2, a new installment in one of the world's best-selling video game franchises, was released by Nintendo earlier this month. In the Pokemon games, players strive to collect members of all available species of Pokemon (pocket monsters) and train them to battle one another.

 Pokemon Black and White 2: Cover of Pokemon Black and White 2. Photo by mattjerome_88, flickr.Pokemon Black and White 2: Cover of Pokemon Black and White 2. Photo by mattjerome_88, flickr.

Also released this month: Pokemon Black and Blue,  a parody by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.) In PETA's version, gamers play the role of a Pokemon escaping its trainer and freeing other Pokemon. 

PETA's parody was meant to send a serious message. According to a written statement by the animal rights organization, "Much like animals in the real world, Pokemon are treated as unfeeling objects and used for such things as human entertainment and as subjects in experiments... If PETA existed in [the game world of] Unova, our motto would be: Pokemon are not ours to use or abuse. They exist for their own reasons. We believe that this is the message that should be sent to children."

Nintendo is not laughing at PETA's parody. In a recent press release, the company stated, "Nintendo and the Pokemon Company take the inappropriate use of our products and intellectual property seriously."

Pokemon Black and White 2 is available for purchase through the Pokemon company's website. Pokemon Black and Blue can be played for free on PETA's website.

Sources: The New Republic

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