Malicious Mascot Masquerade: Rash of Gaming Crime Sprees*

Malicious Mascot Masquerade: Rash of Gaming Crime Sprees*


An alarming trend is rapidly gaining popularity in Japan and Europe. It involves criminals using facemasks of popular gaming icons to commit crimes. Robberies, carjackings, assaults, and even murders are committed by criminals donning likenesses of Mario, Sonic, Crash Bandicoot, and Spyro. It’s predicted that this phenomenon will sweep North America in the upcoming months.

Psychologist Fred B. Tweencratt explains that using these masks to perform such illegal activities startles and confuses the victim, rendering them temporarily helpless. He claims that these characters are not only instantly recognizable, but the majority of victims between the ages of 14 to 35 have actually played the games featuring these characters.

“You see, people have developed a personal relationship with these characters,” Tweencratt explains. “By assuming the role of these characters in the games, people have a stronger bond with them than say, a movie star. So when they see these characters behaving incongruously to their accepted personality patterns, a temporary paralysis manifests as the mind tries to rationalize the offending situation. And let’s not forget that these masks replicate cartoon character far more realistically than the human face. That’s why you’re less likely to be confused by a mask of Richard Nixon than say, Pac-Man,” Tweencratt adds.

The Twang-Bar Clan of Japan claims to be the originators of the trend, now referred to as the Malicious Mascot Masquerade. The gang is comprised of psychology and philosophy majors, which, in their own words are, “ Using their powers for evil.”

“One of our members, Hiroshuto was up to his usual routine of trying to snatch a lady’s purse,” says gang leader Tiny Yeni. “He’s such a loser he can’t even steal a handful of yen from the fountain in the mall. Anyway, he decides to wear a Mario mask this one time because he always get caught, or at least hit in the face by the purse. But this time the lady gives him not only the purse, but her diamond ring, car keys, and phone number. Hiroshuto made out like a bandit. We knew we were on to something,” Yeni adds.

Tweencratt says that the only way to stop this menace is through a well-known psychological process called extinction. “It’s essentially deprogramming through conditioning whereby the fear becomes extinct with repetitive exposure. We need to see these characters in a negative light for a change. To this end, game developers are busy making “evil twin” versions of their popular franchises. It’s a great way for them to repackage titles with very little extra work, and it will greatly reduce the impact that seeing these characters in violent scenarios generates,” he concludes.

*This article is presented as an exclusive Cheat Code Central feature titled “Are you dumb enough to believe this?” Please check back each Friday for the newest edition.

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