I’m honestly asking. Can someone tell the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that the myriad of creatures in Animal Crossing: New Horizons are, in fact, digital representations and not, in any way, shape or form, real? They were never real. I would have thought the number of beasts that are walking around on two legs and … you know … speaking was a tipoff. It turns out I was wrong.
It appears the organization noticed that quite a few people are totally in love with the newest entry in the Animal Crossing library and rather than shrugging it off and letting people enjoy something that absolutely does not harm animals, they decided to weigh in. Not only did they weigh-in, but they also did it in the most annoying way humanly possible.
PETA put out a guide last week, directly people how to be vegan in New Horizons. That’s right. PETA wants to make sure you’re not consuming any animal products, or harming animals in the entirely fictional world of Animal Crossing. To be clear, this isn’t a situation where there were even horses or lions or tigers that were mistreated when they were being motion captured. The game obviously doesn’t do any of that.
Noone was drinking snake blood. There aren’t even any “wet markets” on any of the thousands of islands you’ll visit during your time with the game. One of the reasons none of these things are included is because, again, it’s an escape from reality.
But instead of letting people just have fun with the game. Instead of just letting people relax and unwind while they play, the organization decided it needed to lecture.
Won’t Somebody Think of the Ones and Zeroes in Animal Crossing: New Horizons?
When talking about the things PETA doesn’t want you to do in Animal Crossing: New Horizons are some things you can probably guess. The organization doesn’t want you to go fishing and doesn’t really want you to catch bugs.
Both of these things are plenty silly since you’re “catching” a line of code, but at least their objection to this kind of thing is predictable. Where they go overboard, even for them, is when they start talking about animals like clams feeling pain. One line in the presentation is – I kid you not – “if they do feel pain, they constitute a huge group of animals suffering for food every year. It’s best to be safe than sorry and not dig for clams on your island.”
PETA does admit no one knows whether or not clams feel pain. What I do know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that digital clams in Animal Crossing feel no pain at all. I’m confident in this assertion since I’m also confident the developers have no reason to code in “pain” in any of these “animals.” Likewise, gamers are warned off of building dog houses, as those are considered cruel because dogs can be chained up in them.
Here’s the thing. There aren’t any pet dogs in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. There are dog villagers, but the only kind of houses they live in are full-sized. Also, because I’m not sure it’s said enough, but even if keeping a pet dog or cat was an option for the game, they aren’t real dogs or cats.
They are ones and zeroes that, even if they were coded to feel pain, would only be simulating feeling pain. This isn’t a West World situation. We’re not ignoring the plight of animals. There.are.no.animals.
Why Can’t Peta Take What Animal Crossing: New Horizons Already Gave Them?
One of the aspects of the “vegan” guide to Animal Crossing that really grinds my gears is that there is more than one reason why this guide wasn’t needed. I’ll never stop talking about the fact that everything in the game is the fakest of fake, but there’s also this: People in the game are already vegan.
The only thing people can eat in the game is fruit. PETA knows this. They detail out the fruits that are in the game in their own guide. They’re not unaware.
While you might be able to catch a digital fish, you can’t fry it up for dinner. There are no shotguns, no hunting rifles, no big game hunting of any kind in New Horizons. At least food-wise, Nintendo is promoting a vegan lifestyle because there isn’t any milk, and the only eggs you can find are made to build furniture somehow. Why wasn’t that enough to just leave the game alone and let people have their fun? I don’t get it, it annoys me and should annoy you too.
During a period of time when we’re all shut in our homes with limited activities available, PETA should be happy people are playing this game. They could be out playing Monster Hunter: World. They could be playing Red Dead Redemption 2, where you can literally ride your horse to death.
As we at The NerdStash have said before, this is exactly the kind of game people need right now. It’s low stress, there’s no combat. The point is to be nice to everyone on the island. PETA isn’t all bad. When they go out and donate bags of pet food to people in need, they should be applauded.
For whatever reason, they decided to pick a fight with Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Picking a fight that doesn’t need to exist feels like what’s happening quite a bit online these days. Ignoring the good, in order to make a silly point, feels very, very peak 2020.
Oliver has been a lifelong gamer and a writer for most of his adult life. He came to Nerdstash thrilled to be able to write about what he loves the most again. Whether it’s video games, movies, or television shows, he’s a combination of jock and nerd and the two parts of the whole have figured out how to live peaceably.