It's Okay To Be Mean To Nintendo
Ever since the release of Super Mario Bros, Nintendo has had an image. An image so squeaky clean, family-friendly, and hell-bent on entertaining that it was practically unimpeachable. The team behind Mario, Zelda and their ilk couldn't possibly be anything else, and as their contributions to gaming have culminated in a lovable empire and even a section of a theme park dedicated to its icons, it has become clear that Nintendo has scraped its way to the top of the industry with support from fans who see them as nothing but lovable. And, as such, disappointment in them is frowned upon more than any other company in the industry.
Though any kind of negativity online is to be expected, especially when it comes to video games (we all hate each other, and shouting at each other on Twitter is clearly our only release), Nintendo often gets a softened blow. The likes of Xbox and PlayStation deserve their hate - after all, they're conglomerates developed by Microsoft and Sony respectively. Nintendo is different, right?
We Forget That Nintendo Is A Company
Even though they're responsible for a lot of joy, especially that from our youths, sat cross-legged in front of the TV playing Duck Hunt or in the back of a car at night waiting for the light to bounce off your Game Boy Colour for long enough to navigate your route in Pokemon Silver, it's important to remember that we're talking about a company here. A company that, like any company, exists to make money, no matter how much we'd like to kid ourselves into thinking that they continue for our joy alone.
Their presence in our lives makes it much easier to dismiss any critiques of them as petty, but as the gaming industry has proven itself to be pretty grotesque at times, it falls to us to call out disappointments, both in their outputs and the way they operate behind the scenes. And the fact that they made Breath of the Wild should only take them so far - yet fans still keep up with it.
It was only a couple of months ago that workers began to claim that the conditions of work at Nintendo of America were defined by "exploitative" temporary contracts, as well as engaging in coercive actions that led one team member to call their time with the company "one of the most stressful and awful experiences" of their life.
This is forgetting even the shadier practices of keeping Super Mario 3D All-Stars as a timed exclusive to press sales, crushing fan events and the notorious Joy-Con drift. So, what is there to be done?
It's Time To Be Nasty To Nintendo
The Massive love for Nintendo is understandable, as some of the greatest innovators that the industry has ever seen, but when they disappoint, they need to know. They're not ones to often respond to fan feedback and travel their own path, but that's a bad thing as much as it is a good one - especially when it comes to the inner workings of the company.
The likes of Shigeru Miyamoto, Reggie Fils-Aime and the late, great Satoru Iwata gave Nintendo a family-friendly buffer in their spokespeople, but they're not regarded in the same way as the likes of Phil Spencer, Jim Ryan, or Todd Howard. Nintendo seems free, while everyone else receives their due flak. This needs to come to an end.
We're blinded by nostalgia and a fondness for the innovations that Nintendo has provided the industry over the years, and when the troubles behind the scenes are even contributing to a toxic work environment, something needs to be done. And Nintendo seems to think they're getting away with it.
The same goes for broken Joy-Cons and timed purchases, and until we're willing to call the company out for being shady, they're going to keep thinking they can get away with it. It's hard to hold the team that brought Mario himself to life to account, but in an industry that's taking a truly grotesque turn, the time has come to call them out.
Nintendo Are Still Capitalists, No Matter How Wholesome
Though negativity on the internet is exactly what drives people away from social media and makes sites like Twitter and Reddit feel so incredibly toxic - if we're being salty and shouting at each other, we might as well throw Nintendo into the mix. We know they're responsible for some of our greatest gaming memories, but they need to be called out when they slip up.
All it takes is a glance at how the company reacts to its fans engaging in homemade Smash tournaments or uploading their soundtracks to YouTube ad-free to see how much they can get away with and will continue to do so until we decide it's too far. Enough is enough, and though we adore all they do for us - Nintendo has to change. And soon.