Animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has slammed game character Mario as an animal abuser.
In 1988's Super Mario Bros 3, Mario and Luigi are able to power-up by wearing a Tanooki Suit, a furry suit with a tail that lets the characters fly and change into statues (the characters also wear a Frog Suit to swim).
The Tanooki Suit is reportedly back in the latest Mario release, Super Mario 3D Land, on Nintendo 3DS.
However, the tanuki is a real animal, and PETA says by wearing its fur Mario is endorsing its killing and mutilation.
"Tanooki may be just a ‘suit’ in Mario games, but in real life, tanuki are raccoon dogs who are skinned alive for their fur,” PETA says on its website.
"By wearing Tanooki, Mario is sending the message that it’s OK to wear fur.”
The group has even created its own game to support its message, allowing players to control a skinned tanuki as it chases Mario to reclaim its coat.
Go here to give it a try.
Update: PETA has done an about-face on its anti-Mario campaign, releasing a statement saying the push to portray the lovable plumber as an animal abuser was 'tongue-in-cheek'.
"Mario fans: Relax!" the statement reads.
"PETA's game was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, a fun way to call attention to a serious issue, that raccoon dogs are skinned alive for their fur."
The statement rings a little hollow given the group's use of a graphic image showing Mario snarling and covered in blood.
Also, whatever else you could say about the game, it was definitely not fun.
What do you think - was the game a poor attempt at humour, or are PETA covering up an unsuccessful attempt to be edgy? Post your comments below.