E3 is happening. It’s been mostly disappointing (with the exception of Resident Evil 7, hell yeah), or at times, outright tone-deaf with the amount of xenophobic shooting games being shown literally a day after a horrible massacre (the worst in US history, in fact) targeting predominately Latino LGBT folks.
I’ve been focusing on E3 to distract myself from the second half of that last paragraph. And, despite having every intention of not buying any of their shit, I took a look at Nintendo’s conference. Specifically, the new Legend of Zelda. And after months of speculation swirling around, The Big N finally laid any rumors of being able to pick Link’s gender to rest and said, No, Link is a dude! It was a disappointing announcement, but it was par for the course at this point. Games are still grappling with this whole “inclusion” thing, and given Nintendo’s “family friendly” direction (read: Conservative As Fuck), it’s no real shock that a female lead was not on the table. It sucked, and certainly justified some angry tweets, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Nothing to generate massive outrage.
But, as Nintendo is wont to do whenever they do something we don’t like, whether it’s something as (relatively) benign as a lack of same-sex options in Tomodachi Life, or something heinous like scapegoating and ultimately terminating an employee over a localization choice they had no hand in, and didn’t even agree with in the first place, they made it worse by opening their mouths.
Oh boy. Nintendo’s justification wasn’t some lame, but still kind of understandable adherence to a nonsensical canon that they themselves established and can do anything they want with. It was “What About The Men?” It was this faux-concern over a fictional character’s feelings. It was Nintendo, who are already on women’s shitlists (maybe some shitlists, anyway; there were at least a few women who didn’t immediately download Miitomo and forget about it after a week), saying to half of their potential audience that men make better heroes than them. That is where the outrage comes from. Not from the fictional world that you’re presenting, but the very real world, where women are still looked at as inferior, regardless of any progress that has been made. It’s Nintendo being fucking stupid and exclusionary for no real reason yet again.
Granted, they aren’t the only games company that has this problem, but they are the only one that takes painstaking, often times alienating steps to mention how much they want a larger, not exclusively male audience, then proceeds to immediately betray that with their own words and actions. You don’t exactly see Nintendo doing deals with Mountain Dew or the Armed Forces, you know?
It’s just yet another example of what could be an exciting, expressive, artistic medium being run by out-of-touch douchebags who still think games are toys to be exclusively enjoyed by boys. One has to think that there’s a pretty good reason why the Nintendo Treehouse has the name that it does.
I already had very little desire to buy a dying console, but Nintendo shooting themselves in the foot has all but made it certain that I have no desire anymore. Nintendo may have been a big part of our childhoods, but we’re growing up, and we’ll continue to grow up, even if they won’t.