PETA And AC4's Whaling: The Best Games To Occupy PETA's Time

By Luke Caulfield , Updated Mar 09, 2013 08:41 AM EST

In light of the group's hubub this week over "Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag," I fear that Ubisoft's response may have not been enough to keep PETA at bay. PETA may have their own specialized list of recommended, animal friendly, games, but here are a few actual animal friendly titles the organization seems to have forgotten about. My hope is that this serves a reminder to PETA that there are still companies out there, that, as PETA puts it, "create games that celebrate animals-not games that promote hurting and killing them."

In no particular order, we have:

"Sonic the Hedgehog," early series - Long before he became a were-hog, and mixed with heavy breasted bat babes, the name of the game for this anthropomorphic blue blur was to rescue his woodland pals from the grips of the egg shaped, wickedly-mustached Dr. Robotnik. Spin through a robot, free a buddy, it was all simple enough. Sonic quickly become the trademark mascot of the Genesis console, and the bygone "blast processing" 16-bit era, going head to head with gaming's quintessential plumber, and PETA is obviously a bit biased in that regard. The game's popularity led to the eventual bundling of the game with the consoles, all for the glory of saving itty bitty animals all across the digital globe. Even completing a level required freeing a large group of cute n' cuddlies in order to spin dash over to the next Act. Clearly, this is a game that has PETA written all over it. Although, his affinity for chili dogs and fine leather hightops may not be exactly what the group had in mind. Still, his motivations were pure enough, until his affinity for chaos emeralds got the better of him.

"Nintendogs" series - The modern day Tamagotchi, or at least, as of 2005. The next best thing to actually having man's best friend, "Nintendogs" let gamers take their virtual buddies with them wherever they liked, without any fear of allergies, neutering, or Michael Vick style shenanigans. Technology allowed players to use the DS's built in microphone to communicate with and train their pooches, even if it made them look a little foolish on their morning train ride. Granted, it did make PETA's 2006 list of Best Animal-Friendly Video Game, but with the game quickly becoming a go to title and widely acclaimed title, the series warrants mention once again. A Wii version was considered, but never came to fruition.

"GROWL" - This arcade beat 'em up had players take control of forest rangers protecting wildlife from evil poachers. But these playable characters were far from Yogi Bear's Ranger Smith, using methods that paled in comparison to PETA's paint tossing tactics. Arming themselves with everything from AK-47's to rocket launchers, whips to grenades, "GROWL's" rangers knew no mercy. They would even dive for cover after chucking a grenade. But the crème de la crème of this game, as far as animals go, was an elephant heroically bashing a tank cannon, and an animal stampede that helped the rangers with their dirty work. The game hit arcades in the infancy of the 90's. As such, it'd be difficult to come across now. Graphically sub-par, though still violent, the game did get a release on the Sega Genesis, and years later as part of the compilation "Taito Legends 2" for PS2, PC, and the original Xbox. Not exactly a hit, downloading a ROM may be PETA's best bet to play this one.

"Awesome Possum...Kicks Dr. Machino's Butt" - Apart from being a hysterical Louis C.K bit, "Awesome Possum" was a much lesser known Sega Genesis title than that of his hedgehog predecessor, and perhaps rightly so. "Awesome Possum" was a dull double edged sword, an attempt to find a Sonic-esque mascot, who at the same time helped to deliver an environementally friendly message. Whereas Sonic collected rings, Awesome Possum went around gathering up empty soda bottles and cans instead. As such, the game cast a much bigger political net than Sonic, but stale and repetitive gameplay had the titular possum playing all but, going the same way as all those NO FEAR shirts, folders, and trapper keepers...belly up.


"Animal Crossing" series - PETA would be hard pressed to have a problem with this series. Players move into a town predominantly inhabited by animals, and spend most of their time helping out their fellow village folk. First introduced on the GameCube, each system that followed featured their very own "Crossing" game, and were often among the best-selling game of each console. The popularity of the games was due to the high level of customization, as well as a broad appeal to all age types with the games' complete lack of anything even remotely controversial. A new addition to the series is slated to hit the States this summer.

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