Mario blamed for teen's turtle-toppling rampage
Anti-game attorney Fred Johnson calls reptile deaths "avoidable" and holds Nintendo and its "pernicious plumber" responsible.
On Wednesday, tragedy struck Las Tortugas de Jesus, a sea turtle sanctuary in Akumal, Mexico, just south of Cancun. A vacationing 16-year-old teen entered the endangered terrapins' safe haven and began jumping on top of the nesting reptiles with both feet. 34 turtles were killed in the rampage, and 15 more were wounded. The perpetrator was uninjured.
"It was horrible," recalled witness Bruce Worthington. "I brought my family all the way from Wichita to see the loggerheads nest, as well as have a few strawberry margaritas. Everything was going fine. It was a serene scene. Then, out of nowhere, some kid entered the nesting area and began violently jumping on the turtles' heads."
The teenager, whose name is being withheld, admitted to local authorities that he was reenacting a scene from the game Super Mario Bros. In the Nintendo video game, an Italian plumber named Mario jumps on turtles, killing them, and then uses their carapaces as weapons.
"Life is like a video game," the teenager reportedly said before being dragged away by local police. "If I hadn't jumped on those turtles, they would've sprouted wings and could've kidnapped the princess. What then, huh? HUH?!"
"This must stop!" decreed crusading anti-game attorney Fred Johnson, who has long been a critic of the industry, saying multimillion-selling games such as Grand Theft Auto should be banned for causing violent behavior in a half-dozen teenagers. "Those creatures out there weren't just turtles. They were mothers. They were fathers, sisters, and brothers. How do you explain to their families what happened? That blood is on Nintendo's hands."
"He's a good boy," said the teenager's father, who declined to give his name. "He's active in school sports and made the honor roll last semester. I don't know what happened. Maybe we should have let him bring his Game Boy on vacation."
Officials from the local US consulate were also on hand to survey the carnage. "I've never seen anyone take out so many opponents so efficiently," consulate official John Sommerhalder said. "It's like he was trained. I haven't seen anything like this since Honduras in '85."
Brian Sanderson, a representative for Nintendo of America, said, "We at Nintendo would like to express our grief and condolences to the next of kin of the turtles lost in the tragedy. In no way do we condone the behavior exhibited by this young man. Nintendo's products are meant to be family-oriented entertainment."