Nintendo censorship

Sony has faced backlash lately over policy changes regarding censorship. Several games have had their content altered to conform to these guidelines. Nintendo, however, has been relaxing its policies on this in recent years. Thanks to this, the unaltered versions have often found a home on the Switch. Nintendo recently reaffirmed this policy during the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders.

Nintendo is certainly no stranger to censorship. This practice dates back at least to the release of the original Mortal Kombat. The games’ violent content was taken out to remain more family-friendly. Even after the ESRB came into existence, however, the policy remained. Even more modern games such as Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, Fire Emblem Fates, and many others have gone through a similar situation.

Lately, however, Nintendo has done a complete turnaround. Instead of limiting games, they’ve been embracing them. One question asked during the recent shareholders’ meeting addressed this shift. Notably, Nintendo reaffirms this commitment:

Q: About content regulation. On other platforms, there are cases of restrictions applied independently of CERO and other 3rd-party organizations. What does Nintendo do?

A: Nintendo, as do 3rd-parties and their software, applies for an objective rating from 3rd-party organizations prior to release. If platform-holding companies choose arbitrarily, the diversity and fairness in game software would be significantly inhibited. We provide parental controls that can be used to apply limits.

Shuntaro Furukawa

Do you agree with what Nintendo is saying about censorship? Is it harmful to the industry? Let us know what you think!

[Source]

Steven Rollins
Steven has been involved in video game reporting for over five years now. In his spare time, he can be found speedrunning, writing fanfiction, or watching as much anime as he possibly can.

21 Comments

  1. It is so wonderful to see a company not pretending its an activist for social change, that it isn’t our parents. I’m so sick and tired of censorship, all day every day is just, this is banned, you’re banned, that goes against our TOS, this does not reflect our values, blocked, quarantined, restricted, removed, this is offensive, that is hate speech. FFS just shut up and let people decide for themselves. Censorship disgusts me, it’s weak, its infantile, its cowardly, it is NOT the behavior of adults and it is most certainly not nor never has been benevolent.

    1. It doesn’t help that spineless gamers still spend money on SJW games, encouraging companies to continue making their mindless liberal garbage. Put it this way, if you paid for Battlefield V and/or Mortal Kombat XI, then you are part of the problem instead of being part of the solution. Congratulations to all you MKXI owners out there, you have told companies that you will still throw money at SJW garbage, just what we needed, a high selling SJW game… This spineless behavior will bite all gamers in the ass…Good Job!!!

      1. “SJW games” oh good lord.

    2. It seems like your conflating censorship and moderation.

  2. I think a creator’s original intent should be persevered, so in this case censorship is bad. However, I am a person who absolutely HATES things like cursing, sexual content, etc. in my video games, so a “censored version” of certain games would be nice. Provide the censored AND the uncensored versions for those who want either. A happy medium that I don’t think is too unreasonable. For example, I’d eat up a version of Persona 5 that cut the swearing, sexual jokes, etc.

    …wait, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, Nintendo. I think they have the right stance. They have uncensored content for those who want it, and they have ways of restricting it for those who don’t want it or shouldn’t see it. A win-win.

    1. lol you seem to have somewhat limited economic knowledge. It is not financially intelligent to have to make 2 versions of the same game. The cost of doing that is not worth it, you have to pay voice actors more money for doing more lines, you have to pay the entire development team for continuing to work on the project instead of moving them to the next project, plus the release date has to be pushed back which means delays in profits. So you expect all that expensive work to be done by them just to sell to the handful of prudes out there, prudes who would still buy the uncensored version if there was no censored version? So anyway, that is my explanation of how I came to the conclusion that you lack basic economic understanding.

      1. I wasn’t saying it would be the best economic decision, rather simply stating that the extra effort would be greatly appreciated.

        “It is not financially intelligent to have to make 2 versions of the same game.”

        I know this isn’t the same context, but Pokémon would like to have a word with you.

        1. Pokemon is an awful comparison because that was the whole gimmick of the series – you have to buy 2 copies of the game to get everything, and it worked. It was a brilliant decision on their part. Further, pokemon red and blue differ very little from each other. The two are exactly the same except for the color of the screen and the pokemon that can be caught in the wild. This is an effortless task for developers. What you’re suggesting is likely to be largely unprofitable. The uncensored version of the game will largely outsell the censored version. Counter-Strike and Goldeneye had “friendly” modes iirc, and no one ever used them because they were stupid.

          1. Counterpoint: It was NEVER intended for 1 person to buy both versions in any Pokemon game. The point was to sell the link cable idea by making cooperation to complete the Pokedex necessary. This is sort of pointless now, but the idea was solid no matter how flawed it turned out to be. Even with the latest games, I sit with my friends and very specifically asked ‘Which one are you getting? I’ll get the other so we can complete the Dex.’ THAT is what Nintendo intended with it.
            Not arguing with the rest of that, cause it is all true. With the exceptions of maybe Ruby and Sapphire – simply cause the pokemon you battle against when dealing with the evil team are vastly different between the two – there are very few differences between the games. Hell, Gen 3 was the first gen to have exclusive legendaries too. Gen 1 and Gen 2 literally only had a handful of basic pokemon divided between them, and for Gen 2 different leveled legendaries.

          2. That’s not a very good counter point since it doesn’t disprove that pokemon red and blue are the same game, which was my whole point to begin with. But, I think you realized that anyway based on the second half of your post lol

  3. Censorship exists for a reason though, if the authors/developers of the games can’t be responsible then the publishers should

    Edit: Okay so the whole fucking lot of you misunderstood what I said completely. By responsible I mean know what you write and how it could potentially impact people’s minds and the culture, let’s call it moral responsibility. There are alot of amateur developers/writers out there (more so than not) that make games with unintentional (or intentional) subliminal messages that change people’s morals and beliefs. If you want to change something then make sure it’s for the better, and if you don’t want to change anything then don’t be controversial.
    I’m not at all for censorship of history in games or anything of the sort, and I sure as hell don’t support these fucking snowflakes either, I’m just talking about how it can affect people in general (It sneaks in like a russian spy). I’m not saying that writers can’t do this or that, but there’s a certain caution they have to take to not corrupt easily affected people (Most of you pretty much) There was a norwegian/danish writer that supported this idea one or two centuries ago, can’t remember his name but he’s pretty famous in scandinavian history books.
    Another way is to be cautious yourself, but looking at how the internet has gotten so belligerently divided the last decade I’d say you’re all amoral irresponsible cunts who lack sufficent self-awareness ( ?° _? ?°)

    1. Clutch your pearls harder

    2. And if the people can’t be trusted, the government should step in too. They could start giving $100 fines to people who aren’t eating enough vegetables because their unhealthy diet puts a strain on us as a single entity. Give your head a shake. Censorship exists for the same reason racism exists. To try and force control over a segment of the population. Some nose picking paint Huffer thinks that they know what’s best for everyone. To that I say, my sperm has healing powers and is proven to extend life expectancy by 70%
      Please form a line at the washroom rest stop off the highway at the Northfield turnoff. Ill be waiting to share my miracle

      1. Was on the same boat as you until you made the comparison to racism. You could not be more wrong, racism comes from experiences not from a form of control over a segment of population. A lot of people who don’t like another race only do so because of experiences that either said person had or the experiences of friends/families. People see certain behaviors of different races and they say, “I do not approve nor do I want any of that as part of my life nor the lives of those I love.” If people truly want to overcome racism, then step one is to figure the real reason for that racism, not just assume it’s some big conspiracy to hold races down. You can’t fix something if you don’t even know why it’s broken (Before you all start crying racial foul, I was born in hispanic south america, grew up in mostly black neighborhoods in NJ and now live in [email protected]$$ san diego, I’ve lived around all…)

        1. Sorry I guess I went a little overboard and also didn’t fully explain. Most racism now is based on what is taught, I agree. Also it’s a little irresponsible of me to toss it around in comparison to censorship no matter how much I’m against it.
          What I was intending to relate was how originally racism was used to create a system of control and then eventually, what it is today. People aren’t born racist, they’re taught by uneducated, ignorant, and stubborn people, who themselves were taught and on and on. I let my thumb type out everything and post before I really reread it myself which I’m sure everybody’s guilty of now and then lol.
          Hopefully I just sounded like a crazy conspiracy theorist and didn’t actually make anyone feel bad by not explaining myself better. Thanks for bringing it to my attention tho!
          P.S. censorship < mouthful of poop

    3. Responsible? You are an ADULT, nobody is responsible for you except for you. The entertainment industry is not your parent or legal guardian, nor is the industry your babysitter. You can’t be this much of a child, man up FFS.

    4. Do you not see how what you said in your edit is a slippery slope?
      And it’s not applied consistently.
      There is far worse and more questionable content in games that isn’t censored by Sony.
      They’re only going after sexualized content while leaving everything else alone.
      They’re only doing this because they’re misguided and think that it’ll improve their brand and make them look ” woke ”.
      They’re not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.
      They’re a big corporation, not a charity organization.

      To put it bluntly.
      If you think that the ” moral responsibility ” is something that should be up to a big corporation like Sony.
      You’re an idiot.
      They couldn’t give less of a shit, don’t let yourself be fooled by all of the virtue-signaling going on.
      They’re only doing it b ecasue they think that it’s profitable.

      1. Awww yeah sorry they’re going after the pathetic loser pedo content…Don’t give a squirt of piss what excuse pathetic loser pedos…Kiddie porn is kiddie porn and there is no universe where an anime kiddie porn game with a girl that looks 15 isn’t purposely meant to look 15….Sorry but if your into that kind of garbage you should be chemically castrated and then placed into a rocket and fired into the sun….Kiddie porn real or anime doesn’t need to exist no matter how much losers need it to wack themselves to…

      2. I don’t know much about Sony and I doubt Japan even knows what morals are, but when I supported the idea of censorship of some content I meant so as the final resort. It isn’t that fucking hard as a writer to consider how what you’re writing could impact the recipient, unless they don’t really care about the reader and are just selfish assholes. If you’re that unconcerned about the culture then that censoring is well goddamn deserved. Take most animes for example, they’re flooding with normalization of sexual assault, fanservice, and objectification of women. That has formed a pretty twisted community if you ask me, and most of the people watching them are even aware of it and support it fully.
        (Most of) Japan would much rather make money off of you than preserve cultural integrity as far as I can tell, with Nintendo being an exception to this to some degree imo

  4. Yeah, leave it to the parents. Like, heck, they are the ones who decide that their children should play CoD and the like. I say this is the right approach, let devs do what they want with the game, let a 3rd party slap the rating, and let the market decide for itself.

  5. Sony is blaming censorship on metoo and gamergate, how foolish…meanwhile Nintendo is making all the money

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