Nintendo Addresses Racial Slur Shipped with Animal Crossing Review Kits

Nintendo is in damage control mode after a DS cart shipped to game reviewers was found to contain a commonly used racial slur.

Kotaku reported yesterday that editor Brian Crecente received a pre-played copy of Animal Crossing: Wild World for the DS. The 2005 title, shipped with secrets unlocked, was intended to show reviewers how content could easily be migrated from the DS game to the recently-released Wii title, Animal Crossing: City Folk.

However, as Kotaku explains, things soon went awry:

When you come upon Baabara, the town’s resident sheep, you’re greeted with a racial epithet. The word is used repeatedly in your conversation with the sheep.

"I almost forgot about you, N—-a" "So got any juicy gossip for me, N—-a?" "Just thinking about it gets me all excited, N—-a."

Nintendo quickly issued a statement, blaming WiFi for the screwup:

Previously played copies of the were sent to 14 members of the media to demonstrate the ability of players to transfer items to the new Animal Crossing: City Folk for Wii. We regret that an offensive phrase was included without our knowledge via a wireless function that allows user-generated catchphrases to spread virally from one game to the next.

 

This version is limited to 14 copies created for media review purposes only and is not available at retailers. We sincerely apologize for the incident and are working with media who received the game cards to return them to Nintendo immediately.

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47 comments

  1. 0
    mogbert says:

    Simple, no one said it wasn’t on the cart. You acted as if they said they got the user generated content from somewhere else. In fact, Kotaku said about the same thing saying it was blaming the internet. You acted as if it was a cover up or something and that the odds of their cover up story were impossible.

    Actually, the user generated content IS on the cart, but not in the rom, it is in the flash memory, the save file. Being "on the cart" could mean different things. In this case, the offending word was in the save file, not the hard programming from Nintendo. One of the reviewers stumbled upon it, and alerted the rest of the reviewers.

    There is no cover up, there is no impossible odds.

  2. 0
    Notebook says:

    Well now, there’s a non sequitur if ever there was one. I would imagine there would still be an outcry if there was a little black character saying it, maybe even moreso. You may have had a point if the game was clearly meant as a commentary on racial tensions or something, but clearly that’s not the case.

  3. 0
    finaleve says:

    No because if they had to put the most offensive thing to submit on the ESRB, there wouldn’t be anything on the internet at all.  Hence, why they put the phrase "Game Experience May Change During Online Play"

    The problem isn’t the company’s fault, but more the user content.  The industry can try anything to censor as much, but people find ways around it.

  4. 0
    darkenchanter says:

    Source? Because I can’t see that happening, otherwise you’d have hundreds of games rated ‘M’ just because somebody called their character c**t.

  5. 0
    rudgerlight says:

     Hey everyone. So there’s a scenario here that nobody seems to be considering. Game companies have to make a reel of offensive material for the ESRB. Whenever there is the possibility of user-created material from graphic creations to simply naming your own character, they have to create and submit the most offensive things they can. For instance, if one game has the ability to draw on a character, the reel may have a character completely covered in swastikas. It’s possible that this is a leftover from their ESRB copy of the game which probably mingled with the DS cart used and then sent to the media. A terrible mistake? Actually, yes. But a big deal? Not really.

  6. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Nope. You only have to state that you no longer work for a company. You don’t have to say whether you quit were laid off or fired. You only have to say you don’t work for them. When asked why, you don’t have to say, "because I put racist words in a save file that was sent to the media." You could say something as simple as "Creative differences."

    There is no law stating you have to be detailed in why you no longer work for a company. Instead we have laws that state you can protect your privacy and not be forced to give out information about yourself that could be damaging.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
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    E. Zachary Knight
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  7. 0
    VideolandHero says:

    and now that person is likely looking for a new job while trying to make a downpayment for a refrigerator box under a bridge.

    I wonder how that person is going to continue their career under another job.  Don’t you have to tell why you got fired to your future boss or at the job interview?

    — Official Protector of Videoland!

  8. 0
    hayabusa75 says:

    Doing it amongst your friends in a private setting is one thing, but when you’re trying to run a business, especially one with a family-friendly, squeaky clean image like the one Nintendo tries to foster, having it appear in one of your games is a little bit different.

    Also, I’m reminded a bit of all the assholes who screamed bloody murder about Hot Coffee without truly understanding the technical details…I hope we don’t have a repeat occurence from those who can’t be bothered to actually read the article and try to understand what happened.

    "There is no sin except stupidity." – Oscar Wilde

  9. 0
    sheppy says:

    I’m sorry, where did you contridict me exactly?  I said this was on carts sent by Nintendo.  You said this was on carts sent by Nintendo.  Who put the content on the carts (playtester very likely… see above comment from me) is irrelevant as these carts were sent from Nintendo.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  10. 0
    1AgainstTheWorld says:

    The word shown in the picture is actually pronounced "Nyig-A".  The tilde over the "N" is like "mañana" or "jalapeño".  The grave accent over the "A" indicates the emphasis is on the second syllable.

  11. 0
    mogbert says:

    Wrong, you are. Understanding, you have not.

    Since they were trying to show how you can migrate data from a played copy of the DS game to the Wii game, they had to send out 14 copies of the game where things had been played enough to have things unlocked to migrate to the Wii.

    Let’s see, they could hire someone to play the game 14 time through and unlock things… or they could take one game someone played and copy the save file over. Which do YOU think they did?

    The person who put it in even had to use other letters to get through a text filter (see the little tilde over the N?).

    In other words, this isn’t something that ships with the game, it is user content where someone thought it was funny on their own game, and that save file got out to reviewers, and now that person is likely looking for a new job while trying to make a downpayment for a refrigerator box under a bridge.

  12. 0
    GrimCW says:

    i thought it was only a slur if it ended in "er" not "a"

    oh wait… its racist now cause its a little white character saying it and not a little black one right….. not to hit that note but i still kinda find it funny its only considered racist if a certain person says it, but otherwise is perfectly A-OK.

    ahh well… i’m still trying to figure out how Cole train is racist just because he uses a mid 90’s EARTH slang, but lives on SERA, where who knows what languages they have let alone slang.

  13. 0
    robotco says:

    hey wait, i’ve been calling my friends ñiggás for years. i don’t recall anyone getting offended. what’s this all about? if it shipped with the word nigger then maybe i could see where this was coming from.

  14. 0
    sheppy says:

    Except all fourteen copies sent to press somehow managed to stumbled across the exact same user generated content.  What are the odds?  Frankly, impossible.  This was already on the carts sent from Nintendo.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  15. 0
    Hannah says:

    How about we use Moor to describe blacks and bring back Saracen (a common term for Muslims during the Crusades) to describe anyone from the Arab world?  That way, everyone’s happy!  Besides, as slurs go, Moor and Saracen pretty fucking awesome.

  16. 0
    DeepThorn says:

    Well, if someone doesn’t take it and turn it into "Hey my moore homie, lets get down tonight" or some crap like that, then it could benefit. 

    You are right, people will always talk bad to each other no matter what, and there is no solution.  Even raising kids the most perfect way possible, some of them will still turn out ignorant and do it.

    Nido Web Flash Tutorials AS2 and AS3 Tutorials for anyone interested.
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  17. 0
    insanejedi says:

    It’s not like you can stop this. People will just keep gaming the system and even making up new slurs and swears to send to everyone playing Animal Crossing. If you keep restricting the system, your eventually going to hit that Xbox mentallity of discriminating words that are peoples names.

  18. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    They aren’t blaming the internet or the wireless technologies for this. They were explaining how the new feature works. If they had a handfull of playtesters playing and were connected to each other in order to share content, this could have easily spread between them. Then Nintendo copied the save files to a total of 14 carts for distribution.

    They aren’t blaming anything but the people who created the save files in the first place.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
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    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
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    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  19. 0
    sheppy says:

    Keep in mind, in order for this copy to have become infected with this phrase which would eliminate blame to a Nintendo employee is if all 14 copies somehow magically exchanged friend codes with the exact same copy all across the nation and allowed that one resident to influence the game.  This is something that, frankly, seems about as improbable as every copy of Burnout Paradise sent to the press connection to the one guy mooning players with his Playstation Eye.

    What REALLY happened is the playtester who created this file for distribution to the press AT NINTENDO added this slur and they sent out the copies anyway.  This isn’t a viral thing, it’s a Nintendo employee prank thing and frankly watching Nintendo try to blame the big bad internets is shameful.

    Wall of Text Simulation- Insert coin to continue.

  20. 0
    zel says:

    Nobody can blame Nintendo for anything other than giving players the ability to add to a games content and sending out copies of a used cart with some random players content already in it without screening that thing. Simply giving people the ability to input anything other than actions into a game will produce exactly this kind of situation. Hell simply being able to chat in online games suddenly puts you in a position where you could be exposed to all kinds of objectionable language or ASCII art penises, that ‘controversial’ song in LittleBigPlanet is nothing in comparison to the stuff other players have created 😛 haha

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  21. 0
    Father Time says:

    It’s not the word it’s the intent behind it that’s bad.

    People will still find ways to express hate or just shock people even if you limit your vocabulary.

    What if you did get rid of the dreaded n-word and people started using the word ‘Moore’ as a substitute (which was a name for a black guy since at least Shakespeare time).

    Oh he’s a stupid Moore, he’s acting like a dumb Moore. Just shove all the Moores off a cliff etc.

    What will you do then?

    —————————————————-

    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  22. 0
    DeepThorn says:

    Hey me nigga…  no that doesn’t even work…  That word, and all of it’s variations, needs to just be deleted from all vocabulary.  Negro is fine only when talking about the historics of it all.  No one should be using it though, even though what is really important is the way you say it.  It just isn’t needed, and I dont care who made what their own word, if you yell at anyone about it not being right for them to use it, then no one should be allowed to us it, and using it in any ways when you say it is wrong for other people to use it just proves ignorance and how racist they are as well.

    Good luck Nintendo, I hope this doesn’t bit your ass.

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  23. 0
    Father Time says:

    I think this is the most unexpected thing I’ve ever seen on gamepolitics.

    …Wait it was user generated. Ok never mind.

    —————————————————-

    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

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