Friday, 1 July 2016

Censorship Part 3: Nintendo's Tokyo Revenge

It's been a while since I had a moan about censorship but the ugly murderer of creativity and expression has surfaced once more...just like an awful bog monster stealthily rising up from a pool of black sludge. Nintendo have yet again decided that their Western consumers simply cannot be trusted to buy a game and remain uncorrupted by specific elements. Last time it was Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water with the offending articles being swimwear and lingerie. This time, it's the turn of the recently-released Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (which I included in my last purchases update).

So what exactly did Nintendo choose to drag on over to the chopping block this time? Let's go for those bulletpoints shall we?

  • Ages of female characters increased from 17 to 18
  • Outfits deemed overly revealing revised so that they are less so
  • Images of characters in bikinis in one of the game's dungeons replaced
  • Hot Springs DLC cut
  • Panty shots edited/removed
There may be more that I'm not aware of but these are the most well-publicised. Now it MUST be stressed that none of these items being MIA are game-breakers in themselves. It's a bunch of bonus titilation that would be nice to have but isn't necessary and doesn't damage the game as a whole. To suggest so would be lunacy. What DOES bother me though is that none of these things should ever have been cut in the first place. Are we not old enough to consume these sorts of imagery responsibly? Using the excuse of such content being "too Japanese" or too saucy for the Western market is complete BS to begin with. Senran Kagura, Onechanbara and Dead or Alive (to name just three) titles with far more graphic and aggressively in-your-face sexualisation are released here with no issues. A higher age rating may well be required but there's nothing that grown adults haven't encountered before.

Breasts are evil! Think of the children...

A higher age rating affecting the ability to sell the game may well be a legit reason BUT...Mirage Sessions is already a very specialised and niche title that will be bought by those in the know, most of which - I'd wager - are adults. This isn't the sort of mass-market, widely distributed piece of software that parents will be randomly picking out for their child's Wii-U library so a higher age rating really wouldn't damage this game's sales. What I'm saying is, think about your target audience Nintendo. It's this kind of attitude that a) pisses off the core fanbase and b) prevents you from shrugging off the kiddie image that refuses to let go. I totally get that Nintendo want to maintain a family friendly image for their products but FFS, the Wii-U is essentially dead and buried by this point - censoring a niche game on a system being read the Last Rites is not going to achieve anything.

By all means save that sort of treatment for the likes of Mario, Zelda, Metroid etc. - universally appealing games where we don't expect to see anything dirty and quite frankly, don't want to (despite what the murky world of fan art might suggest).

I can't even be bothered to analyse this in any greater detail. The main problem here is not with being denied a splash of perviness but with censorship in general and deciding what people in certain markets should and shouldn't be able to see. If you want it this way then design it this way to begin with. Nobody will be disgruntled about character designs being conservative from the get-go but allowing artists to be creative and THEN shoehorning in some shitty bodges to cover things up is just poor. Media is art and art should be free to bare itself uncensored. So what if a character has a short skirt or low cut top? The results are no different to reality so if that's a problem for a Nintendo-associated product, then don't design characters in this way TO BEGIN WITH. Slapping a mismatched undershirt in to hide a bit of 'horrifying' cleavage is just shite. Let the consumer make their mind up about whether or not they want to play a game based on its content.

So am I still going to play this game? Of course I am. By all accounts, Mirage Sessions is meant to be fantastic and I'm looking forward to seeing for myself. A lack of tits and arse isn't going to stop me enjoying a game after all. I just wish that Nintendo would stop trying to tell me what is and isn't good for me. I'll be judge of that thank you very much.

End rant.


  1. I'm as much against censorship as anyone... But in this case, I'd just say have some pride that Nintendo thinks you don't need pictures of underage girls in order to enjoy a game, that's the kind of thing that's reserved for folk who buy soiled underwear from vending machines ;)

    1. No doubt that I will enjoy the game. As I said, the actual edits themselves don't necessarily bother's more that it feels like Nintendo are being a bit patronising or treating the fanbase like idiots. I dunno...I say just leave things as they are and let consumers make up their own minds as to whether they want to get involved or not.

      Oh and I'm pretty sure the ages of the characters are 17 and upwards (upgraded to 18 for the West...). All that jailbait stuff coming out of Japan ain't for me at all.

      I think it's more the case of "where will it end?"