SFTW: Mama Kills Animals

Every week Iain Simons chooses a game so you can while away a few hours at your desk. This week Peta

Every week Iain Simons chooses a game so you can while away a few hours at your desk. This week Peta's Mama Kills Animals

A new, and quite unexpected argument has broken out this week between videogame publisher Majesco and campaign group PETA, following the launch online of a flashgame parody of the popular culinary title ‘Cooking Mama’.

PETA are taking exception to the absence of vegetarian recipes in the game and are registering their disgust with a very well executed and fully playable protest. Cooking Mama : Mama Kills Animals invites you to prepare a thanksgiving feast using just your mouse, plucking and stuffing the turkey and then wallowing in the resultant bloodbath. The aim of the endeavour, “Urge Majesco to make a vegetarian recipe version of Cooking Mama”.

Of course, Majesco haven’t taken this lying down, although rather than unleashing the vengeful wrath of their legal team, they opted to issue a defensive statement. However, in an effort to deflate the whole affair, all the quotes within it were attributed not to a Majesco spokesperson, but to one ‘Mama’…

I would never put rat in my Ratatouille," said a feisty Mama while beating some eggs. "Like any accomplished cook, I create my recipes to appeal to a broad range of tastes and preferences. My only goal is to ensure you leave the table well fed.”

The company goes on to explain that whilst Mama isn’t a vegetarian she,”…fully supports the humane treatment of animals, particularly for her canine protege Max who makes his doggie debut in World Kitchen.”

This isn’t the first flashgame protest from the group, last year they released the similarly themed ‘Super Chick Sisters’ as part of their Kentucky Fried Cruelty campaign.

Play Cooking Mama : Mama Kills Animals

Iain Simons writes, talks and tweets about videogames and technology. His new book, Play Britannia, is to be published in 2009. He is the director of the GameCity festival at Nottingham Trent University.
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How Theresa May laid a trap for herself on the immigration target

When Home Secretary, she insisted on keeping foreign students in the figures – causing a headache for herself today.

When Home Secretary, Theresa May insisted that foreign students should continue to be counted in the overall immigration figures. Some cabinet colleagues, including then Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor George Osborne wanted to reverse this. It was economically illiterate. Current ministers, like the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Chancellor Philip Hammond and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, also want foreign students exempted from the total.

David Cameron’s government aimed to cut immigration figures – including overseas students in that aim meant trying to limit one of the UK’s crucial financial resources. They are worth £25bn to the UK economy, and their fees make up 14 per cent of total university income. And the impact is not just financial – welcoming foreign students is diplomatically and culturally key to Britain’s reputation and its relationship with the rest of the world too. Even more important now Brexit is on its way.

But they stayed in the figures – a situation that, along with counterproductive visa restrictions also introduced by May’s old department, put a lot of foreign students off studying here. For example, there has been a 44 per cent decrease in the number of Indian students coming to Britain to study in the last five years.

Now May’s stubbornness on the migration figures appears to have caught up with her. The Times has revealed that the Prime Minister is ready to “soften her longstanding opposition to taking foreign students out of immigration totals”. It reports that she will offer to change the way the numbers are calculated.

Why the u-turn? No 10 says the concession is to ensure the Higher and Research Bill, key university legislation, can pass due to a Lords amendment urging the government not to count students as “long-term migrants” for “public policy purposes”.

But it will also be a factor in May’s manifesto pledge (and continuation of Cameron’s promise) to cut immigration to the “tens of thousands”. Until today, ministers had been unclear about whether this would be in the manifesto.

Now her u-turn on student figures is being seized upon by opposition parties as “massaging” the migration figures to meet her target. An accusation for which May only has herself, and her steadfast politicising of immigration, to blame.

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

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