Nintendo was recently forced to make tweaks to its hugely popular “Mario Kart 8 Deluxe” because some players—most of them in Europe—deemed Inkling Girl’s animations as pretty offensive.
As one Twitter user pointed out, Inkling Girl often places her hand on her flexed bicep to taunt other racers as she zooms past them.
And if that looks innocuous to you, for some people this gesture is thought to signify the bras d’honneur , or Iberian slap (an obscene gesture comparable to the middle finger—a resounding “f***k you”, essentially).
— ffdek (@ffdek) May 2, 2017
Although there wasn’t much evidence of outrage, Nintendo nonetheless went ahead with edits—presumably to preserve its family friendly image—and replaced the animation to show Inkling Girl pumping her fist in the air without the bicep grabbing.
Over the last 20 years, the Japanese giant has built a reputation as a “safe” company selling games that everyone at home can enjoy without risking exposure to violent or racy content with characters such as Mario, Pokémon, Zelda or Kirby.
Yet this not the first time its soft image has been challenged.
Shooter games like Doom 64 or GoldenEye 007, one of the most popular games ever released, have firmly pushed the company into non-kid friendly territory—but not without challenges.
As GoldenEye 007 director Martin Hollis revealed at GameCity Nottingham in 2017, the game was initially deemed too violent and not commercially viable for Nintendo and almost never got the green light.
“Bond is a violent franchise and making that fit with Nintendo, which is very much family friendly, was a challenge,” he told audience.