1-2 Switch is a really strange experience. It amasses a collection of some of Nintendo's weirdest game ideas ever, asking players to cut each other down with samurai swords, pose while staring into each other's eyes, pretend to shave, help gorillas get it on or pass around a bottle of champagne while shaking it vigorously up and down... they knew what they were doing.
But one of the most peculiar mini-games for the #Switch exclusive has to be "Milk," a game that sees you competitively draining milk from cow udders. Hmm. A game like this should have come under fire for its awfulness, but it's actually generated controversy for its flippant attitude towards the milking of cows. Go figure!
Nintendo's '1-2 Switch' Is Trivializing The Milking Of Cows, According To PETA
You can check out the trailer for 1-2 Switch below, featuring the wonders of the milking mini-game:
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals organization have taken issue with #Nintendo's "Milk" mini-game following a rather odd publicity stunt in which they challenged a real-life cow farm to a round of milking (on the Switch). A written complaint from PETA regarding the mini-game and the Japanese developer's conduct made its way onto Facebook and contains some pretty strong language and accusations, courtesy of PETA's president, Ingrid E. Newkirk.
“Our staffers and activisits have recently played the cow-milking minigame for Nintendo Switch and realized you’ve taken all the cruelty out of milking,” Newkirk wrote. “We have more than 35 years of experience investigating dairy farms where cows are exploited for their milk, and it is NEVER that pleasant for these animals. Can we have some realism here, please?”
While I'm willing to defend the rights of animals till the end and would most certainly call out a company for the trivialization of animal cruelty or harm, I struggle to see where "realism" comes into this. Nintendo were most certainly not creating a milking simulator with "Milk," in fact there aren't even any cows on the screen when you're milking... just some really strange udders. Upon playing the game, you're more likely to worry about your social status than draw comparisons between the dairy industry and your frivolous yanking of a Joy Con.
However, a blog post has accompanied the letter from PETA in which it describes how the mini-game's abstract nature is part of the issue, citing the abhorrent cruelty that certain dairy farms subject their animals to. In the eyes of the organization, it "sugarcoats" the entire affair.
“We’d be happy to provide you with video footage of the filthy conditions that cows endure on farms for you to include in your game,” wrote Newkirk. “If you think that the gruesome nature of this would be too upsetting, we suggest that instead of sugarcoating the subject, Nintendo switch to simulating activities in which no animals suffer.”
PETA's blogpost makes a convincing argument and the disturbing footage from a particular dairy farm in the US that accompanies it should be watched with extreme discretion. There's clearly no denying how the dairy industry has abused animals in the past and how it continues to do so. And while I agree that Nintendo's publicity stunt is in poor taste and should be reconsidered, "Milk," at least in my mind, is nothing more than an embarrassing mini-game in a collection that should have been free with every Switch. I'd get rid of the game for completely different reasons—mainly I don't think 1-2 Switch should make money—but perhaps PETA have a point here. At least if Nintendo listened we wouldn't have to play it anymore!
What do you make of this move on PETA's part?