Gaming has been under a negative spotlight for years, especially during the 1990s. Things died down toward the latter half of the turn of the century, but picked right back up when Jack Thompson led a renewed army of media and political assailants against the interactive entertainment industry. Just as things were starting to die down again, another enemy appeared, this time in the form of Social Justice Warriors, labeling things as “problematic” and “toxic”, thus making efforts to get games censored and banned.
Thankfully, we’ve had a small light at the end of the tunnel in the form of Nintendo.
Despite all the hoopla they create over content ID controversies and copyrighted takedown notices, it was Super Mario who stood tall at the center of the world’s focus at this year’s closing ceremony for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
NBC uploaded a small clip showing Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzō Abe, turning into a 3D version of Mario to travel from Tokyo to Brazil using a green warp tunnel, and popping out the other side dressed as the iconic Brooklyn plumber. You can check out the clip below.
That was Japan’s way of saying “Welcome to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan”.
It was a bold-faced middle-finger from Japan to the rest of the media for not only all the Nintendoom that we get almost every other quarter proclaiming the death of Nintendo, but also a strike back against the media’s consistent two-year onslaught against gaming, where it’s become the target of blame for Islamic terrorist shootings, as well as being blamed for causing gamers to become sexist, resulting in some countries like France and Britain trying to attempt to pass laws that penalize developers for not portraying women in an auspicious light. The U.N., also spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get Japan to censor and ban anime, manga and video games that they felt depicted women in problematic situations.
That’s not to mention that various regions have been making it more difficult to allow certain kinds of games to be sold on store shelves, and the media has perpetually put the blame of all of society’s ills on #GamerGate, which has been labeled as “worse than ISIS”, as reported by TheGG.
It was nice to see Nintendo and Japan basically embrace a large part of their cultural identity as a joyous and uplifting celebration. Besides, video games and the Olympic Games are all about the spirit of competition, so it’s nice to see the marriage between the two made on a public stage and in a way that exemplifies the good in gaming.
Unfortunately, the Regressive politics in today’s media has been working overtime to keep the medium in as negative a light as possible, but hopefully with the death of outrage-peddling outlets like Gawker.com, we’ll begin to see a shift in the sails of media representation for video games.