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Is Pokemon Normalizing Dog Fighting?

A quick rant about PETA, Pokemon, and being "triggered".

Whether you play Pokemon Go or not, you’ve got to appreciate that it forced a lot of players out into the real world and may just have paved the path for interactive gaming on a massive scale. Not only that but if you're a nineties kid, you probably can't help but get a little nostalgic when you catch a glimpse of Pikachu or Ash Ketchum's iconic hat.  

After reading an adorable listicle about pets who are "terrible" at catching Pokemon by blogger Rachel Youens, I had to sit back and wonder, what WOULD it be like if Pokemon were real? Would we actually battle them? 

I think not, or at least, not legally. Nor would we want to (those of us who are normal, adjusted human beings). Since Pokemon got its start in the 1990's, there's been a constant debate waging on the ethics behind it with people arguing that it promotes animal cruelty.   

That argument returned at full force with the birth of Pokemon Go over the summer, and there are some people who are REALLY, REALLY into it. A writer at the Daily Dot went so far as to say,

"The game basically normalizes digital dog fighting.

He isn't alone in his views. Just Google "the negatives of Pokemon" and you'll find a plethora of articles, forums, and blogs going into a full attack on the children's show and games.   

In 2013, a PETA member even went so far as to say that they were traumatized after being exposed to Pokemon. She told reporters,

"My daughter may have become a serial killer or worse, an animal abuser, if I had bought her the game." 

Pure insanity and absolute hogwash. And honestly, who considers animal abuse worse than serial killing? It's all absolutely horrible, but come on! 

As someone who has gamed since the early 90's and grew up watching Toonami and Adult Swim, I think I can safely say that Pokemon  (nor any other similar show *cough* Digimon *cough*) never influenced or normalized the idea of animal cruelty to me or any of my friends. In fact, I think it made animals and nature that much more exciting during my imaginary Pokemon exploits. 

After playing Pokemon games for around 15 years (on and off), I think I can safely say that I don't have any serial killer proclivities thanks to having a normal, balanced childhood. Nor would I ever harm an animal. 

No matter what side of the argument you fall on, please consider this: it's just a game

There's really not much more to it. I mean, most of us nineties kids grew up watching and reading Goosebumps, playing Tomb Raider, and reading Harry Potter. I suspect the majority of us never went out in search of creepy haunted dolls, threw on a pair of short shorts and traveled to Asia in search of lost treasure, or attempted to walk through walls to get to Diagon Alley.    

 If a game like Pokemon Go triggers people, encourages them to hurt animals, or turns them into serial killers, they were likely seriously mentally ill, to begin with.

Published Sep. 10th 2016

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