Some Nintendo fans were shocked when they found out that Nintendo decided to actively get engaged with the sociopolitics of this year’s Pride Parade. Not only that but Nintendo’s staff utilized the hashtag #PlayitProud to connect Nintendo gamers with Nintendo’s participation in the Pride march.
— Jose Otero (@jose_otero) June 24, 2018
The above tweet comes from Nintendo Treehouse of America’s Jose Otero, a former game journalist for IGN and 1UP.
Otero was joined by other Nintendo employees at the Seattle, Washington march, including Nintendo’s bilingual product marketing specialist, Lindsey Newman; one of Nintendo’s consumer marketing specialist, Nicole Gary; and a few other members of the Nintendo Treehouse family, including Andy Estes and Bill Trinen.
— Lindsey (@4PunsAndHonor) June 25, 2018
— Andy Estes (@estesandy) June 24, 2018
— Nicole 💖💜💙 (@nicole_gary) June 24, 2018
In fact, Nintendo’s presence at the Pride march was highlighted with Nintendo logo t-shirts with the rainbow and the words “Proud” on it. A banner and a Mustang also accompanied the Nintendo employees there marching.
News media, such as ComicBook.com and its subsidiary WWG helped bolster Nintendo’s affiliation with the sociopolitical parade, making multiple tweets about the organization’s support for Nintendo’s political activism.
Comicbook.com’s Robert Workman wrote…
“Along with Twitter, the Resetera community has also shown positivity on its own site, with a number of users posting positive comments about Nintendo’s Pride support. Some posters have noted, “This is lovely” and “This is dope,” while others have put in requests for the shirts and stickers — which, again, we hope Nintendo does at some point down the line.
“Kudos to Nintendo and their team for supporting such a great cause!”
This sort of political activism on Nintendo’s part caused some gamers to scratch their heads, especially coming on the heels of some rather pointed words that Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime made during last year’s E3.
For example, at E3 2017 CBC did a short three minute segment on politics invading gaming (yes, even CBC noticed that gaming has become decidedly political in recent years). The outlet pointed to games like Far Cry 5 and some physics-based titles where you attacked President Donald Trump as an exercise in highlighting how games are becoming increasingly political. The piece also covers how publishers that make these games are pushing further and further into all manner of sociopolitical and geopolitical commentary with their mainstream AAA titles.
In an interview with the CBC National for a piece published on June 15th, 2017, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime told the Canadian outlet that Nintendo wouldn’t be chasing the political dollars that companies like Electronic Arts and Ubisoft have been pursuing, saying…
“Making political statements are for other people to do. We want people to smile and have fun when they play our games.”
The quote comes in at the 59:10 mark in the video interview below.
Reggie Fils-Aime’s comments were in response to the CBC asking if Nintendo would be getting political with their games, after the news host prefaced Reggie’s comments by noting that Nintendo wouldn’t be touching politics with a ten-foot pole.
Apparently a year later and Nintendo has warmed to the atmosphere of supporting certain kinds of politics.
Now there is a caveat to Reggie’s comments, insofar that he could be strictly talking about Nintendo’s games avoiding getting into political commentary, as opposed to the company itself supporting or indulging in political activism. Obviously the employees seem to be actively campaigning for very specific kinds of politics in public spaces with support of Nintendo of America.
For some fans they felt worried that Nintendo could be following in the footsteps of Electronic Arts and Ubisoft and Bethesda, all of whom have put politics front and center in their games to the point of causing uproarious contention among their core demographics. Whether or not this is a one-off event or a sign of things to come, some fans felt Nintendo betrayed their trust by getting involved in politics even when they said they wouldn’t.
I did reach out to Nintendo and if they respond the article will be updated with their response.
(Thanks for the news tip Jess)