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Screengrab via PETA

The Smiths released a ‘Meat Is Murder’ video game where you play as a rainbow

This beautiful creature must die.


Jay Hathaway

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 11, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 7:01 am CDT

Morrissey, the English/Irish/vegan frontman of the Smiths, unveiled the band’s new video game(!!) this week, released in collaboration with PETA. It’s called This Beautiful Creature Must Die (because Meat Is Murder was already taken, presumably), and its objective is to save falling livestock from spinning blades on four screens at once.

You play as a rainbow(??) that spirits animals away to safety by clicking on them. Cows are a little trickier: You have to rainbow them repeatedly before they’ll leave the screen. They’re big and slow, you know. 

It’s pretty hard! I saved 17 animals during my most successful attempt. It doesn’t appear that there’s any way to win, which is, I guess, true to the promise of the title. One of your beautiful, pixelated creatures must indeed die. And when he or she does, it’s game over, man.

Well, not “game over,” but “Death for No Reason.” (There is a reason, though. The reason is: You weren’t fast enough.) 

There are also bombs, which add to the challenge by killing you (or the animals, I guess, because a rainbow cannot truly die) if you accidentally click on them.

“This game is the biggest social crusade of all, as we safeguard the weak and helpless from violent human aggression. You don’t get that from Pokémon Go,” Morrissey  said in a press release, with all the sincerity we’ve come to expect from him.

Like all PETA projects, the message is, “hurting and killing animals is bad.” And as with many PETA projects, the metaphor at play is a bit jumbled. The game puts forth the idea that we, the players, are responsible for ending the slaughter. And yet, there’s no way offered to make it stop. You’re fighting for a hopeless cause from the get-go. 

If we stopped farming and eating animals, there’d be no game and maybe no PETA, so…

And the bombs are confusing. Who put them in with the animals? Factory farming corporations wouldn’t risk their valuable animals and facilities to blow up an anarchist rainbow. And animal activists wouldn’t kill hundreds of animals to destroy a slaughterhouse—would they? 

PETA’s history of video games is very weird, ranging from spoofing indie platformer Super Meat Boy with Super Tofu Boy to protesting fictional animal fighting with Pokémon Black and Blue.

The ways we get most of our meat are all kinds of messed up (for farmers as well as animals), but calling this game “the biggest social crusade there is” in 2016 is a little crass. 

But we’re talking about Morrissey here. In 2011, shortly after fascist mass-murderer Anders Breivik killed 77 people in Norway, Morrissey told an audience: “We all live in a murderous world, as the events in Norway have shown, with 97 [sic] dead. Though that is nothing compared to what happens in McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Shit every day.”

PETA loved it.

H/T Pitchfork

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*First Published: Aug 11, 2016, 10:00 am CDT