Nintendo: The Bad and the Ugly
The good's coming next time, I promise
Nintendo is a brand I love. I've pretty much made a job out of being the Nintendo guy anywhere I write. As a developer of games, Nintendo does virtually no wrong in my eyes, and they've won my personal GOTY for several years running. Still, their practices in everything outside of game development have been nothing but sadness and anger inducing stupidity.
I'll cover the good that Nintendo has been doing lately in my next article, because you should always get the bad out of the way first to make the good look better. With that said, lets look at what Nintendo has been doing wrong.
Localized dialogue: Where everything's made up and the script doesn't matter.
I know full well this is going to hit a nerve with some, and invite others to pile on, but I want you to keep something in mind: Just because shitty human beings that engage in harassment happen to align with those that are right about something, doesn't mean we should cling to what's wrong out of spite. If you cling so hard to your “side” that you can't acknowledge that someone you don't agree with is making solid points, by using facts, then you are a shitty person too.
I fell in love with the Nintendo Treehouse when I was watching them play games at E3 2014. They're funny, entertaining, and a pleasure to listen to and watch. Their coverage of games at the Treehouse Live event is the highlight of E3 and my summer.
I didn't mind their little funnies and memes slipped into Tri Force Heroes. I thought it was an overblown mess. Harmless doge memes for a throwaway character in a (functionally) multiplayer only Zelda game is nothing to get your jimmies rustled over.
That changed when they made significant, unnecessary changes to Fire Embem Fates, seemingly just because they could. I'm not talking about Soleil, the petting minigame. or anything related to relationships that could be deemed questionable, I'm talking about changes like Effie and “Arthur” underwent. These changes and my feelings on them have been covered previously, so I don't want to go in depth here. Let's just say that many feel the decisions made by the Treehouse are moronic at best, and character ruining at worst.
Here's the thing that gets me: They're coming off the backlash from their localization of Tri Force Heroes, a game with a story nobody cares about. Yet somehow they thought it would be wise to double down with this stupid bullshit on a major main-line release of another long running franchise. Fire Emblem has a history of great stories and a fairly serious tone overall, especially Fire Emblem Fates, which focuses on betrayal, assassination, murder, and war.
It's true that Fire Emblem has always had a bit of humor spread throughout each game to lighten the mood, but given the climate after the backlash of a previous localization, the Treehouse gang should have been wary of the same dumb ideas on a more serious high profile endeavor. They were not, and to me, and many other apparently, that is stupidity on an unforgivable level.
Speaking of stupidity brings me to the whole situation surrounding Nich Maragos. I don't know the guy, but personally he seems alright as a human being, even if I don't agree with him on certain things. That hasn't stopped people on the internet from digging up his past and posting it everywhere in an attempt to fuck up his career.
Maragos has said some pretty stupid shit, like asking other localization teams not to pick up Senran Kagura in a very public manner. I guess he doesn't think people who enjoy fan service deserve the right to have their preferred past times, truly a noble idea when it's in favor of the “in vogue” crowd. I guess there's only #roomforeveryone(thatweagreewith). However, I'm willing to let stupid shit said in the past slide, because no one saw the gaming world turning into a shit slinging mess at the time these comments were made.
I am willing to bust this stranger's balls on one matter though: Nich Maragos donated money to a friend that would go on to give his latest project, Fire Emblem Fates, a positive review. He even proclaimed that said friend's review is the only one that matters. It's great that he's happy that his friend enjoyed the game, but there was no disclosure of their relationship or donations.
That seems like small potatoes to a normal person, but if I were to do the same thing at this or any of the smaller websites I've written for, somebody would have canned my ass. If Nich Maragos or Aevee Bee were in a “real” industry, this would have been a scandal. Instead, a group of blind social justice warriors will defend them out of spite for those that bring this up.
Side choosing in the gaming community has reached a ridiculous level, and the Treehouse appears to have taken a side as well. That's a shame, because now no matter how legitimate, earnest, or well thought out it is, criticism leveled at their work will be buried beneath layers of petty bickering and deflection. Someone's always going to throw out buzzwords like petting, gay conversion, or #GamerGate and #torrentialdownpour, then ignore the claims from those not on their side.
This is an unhealthy state of affairs for any organization, but that's doubly so for a company in the position Nintendo is currently in.