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Playing Chicken


There’s a new viral game out there that stars Colonel Sanders – much to KFC’s chagrin.

Super Chick Sisters is a blatant rip-off of Super Mario World, and although it’s a nice-looking Flash game, the game is more notable for being a high-profile example of the nascent “anti-advergaming” trend. It’s a promotion for PETA’s campaign against KFC. PETA claims that the game has been played a half million times so far.

Players manipulate pipes, vines, and water Mario-style, although instead of eating mushrooms to grow large, the player must collect rather unappetizing slabs of gray tofu. Also unlike Mario, the brightly colored worlds feature ominous imagery (e.g., a giant KFC bucket, dripping blood). There’s flagrant appropriation of Nintendo’s actual Mario characters in the cut scenes, but this is, no doubt, claimed as fair use under copyright laws that protect satire.

Reaction to the game has been mostly positive, although there have been charges that PETA’s attempt at education instead comes across as propaganda. Still, that shows that the game triggers a passionate response, which is at least part of PETA’s point. As their marketing manager, Joel Bartlett, puts it: “What other vehicle can one use to communicate a message that will keep users engaged for 30 minutes?”