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"Nintendo Is For Kids" Is a Myth: The Inconvenient Truth Nobody Wants to Hear - DetroitOtaku Discussions

TheDetroitOtakuJun 13, 2021, 12:52:32 AM

You've heard that saying before: "Nintendo is for kids." Have you ever wondered why gamers, up until very recently, liked to say that Nintendo is the company of censorship, while ignoring Sony's own practices? The answer tended to come from the Wii U era, with Nintendo's censorship of their own 1st party games such as Fatal Frame 5 (Yes, Nintendo co-owned Fatal Frame for a spell), Xenoblade Chronicles X, Fire Emblem Fates, and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. Another explanation is that their past censorship in the NES and SNES eras is part of the reason why developers left Nintendo for Sony in 1996 and 1997. But is Nintendo really the censorious company that they have been made out to be? 

This article will explore Nintendo and Sony's history of censoring games, detailing what kinds of games they are, and reveal whether Nintendo really is "for kids", or if Sony is indeed guilty of the greatest lie in gaming history.


By the time the original PlayStation was released in the West in 1995, Sony liked to portray itself as the "cool, mature company" that doesn't censor anything, and they liked to give Nintendo shit for being too "family-friendly", because of how Nintendo censored games on the Super NES like Final Fantasy IV, Final Fantasy VI, and the original Mortal Kombat.

The problem with this narrative is that, well...Nintendo actually stopped their censorship of 3rd party games by the time of the ESRB's founding in 1994. This began when they allowed the Super NES version of Mortal Kombat II to release with the blood and gore fully on, and it outsold the Genesis version. But to put it short, after 1994, Nintendo simply let 3rd party developers themselves make whatever changes they felt was necessary to their games, and unless there was something so controversial that Nintendo had to step in to figure something out, Nintendo simply left it to the other publishers. 

Censorship was not a reason why 3rd party developers left Nintendo for Sony in 1996 and 1997, and saying that it was ignores the fact that Nintendo let up on its censorship policies two years too early, and that 3rd parties abandoned Nintendo two years too late. 


The main reason why Nintendo of America censored 3rd party games that came out on the NES and SNES before the ESRB's founding was due to pressure from the old Religious Right, who flexed their muscle rather spectacularly in the 80s and 90s against entertainment in general. The industry was in a fragile state after the crash of 1983, and Nintendo could not afford to take any chances if the video game industry were to get back on its feet again. Whether you want to call Nintendo "puritan" for this or not, this still isn't anywhere as bad as the censorship that Sony has been doing to 3rd party games since 2018, which has nothing to do trying to revive the games industry after a crash. Censorship back then was something Nintendo had to do in order to be successful in America and other markets. Nobody is forcing Sony to censor 3rd party games as the old Religious Right is all but dead, but they chose to do it anyway. 

Also, this is NOT the first time the Sony has censored 3rd party games on their platforms either. They've actually censored 3rd party games on their platforms as far back as 1995!!! Don't believe me? Take Hideo Kojima's epic adventure game Policenauts, for example. When Policenauts was ported over to consoles in 1995, Sony was the only console manufacturer to censor the game:

Meanwhile, the Sega Saturn version was left untouched, and it also added MORE content that wasn't included in the other console versions. I'm not sure about the 3DO version as nobody has decided to examine it or give it a fan translation yet. 

Also, Policenauts wasn't the only Kojima game that Sony censored. You know about his first adventure game, Snatcher, yes? Well, turns out that also got ported to the 5th generation consoles, and guess what version got censored, despite it being a Japan-only release? 

You guessed it, the PS1 version.

And according to this video from Lockstin & Gnobbin, Sony also censored other 3rd party games like Alundra, Dance Dance Revolution (reasons relating to the anime Gurren Lagann), Leisure Suit Larry (though that was to avoid the AO rating), OutRun 2006, the PSP remake of Final Fantasy IV (Ironic, huh?), a Fatal Fury game, plus they're also guilty of censoring their OWN 1st party IPs such as Crash Bandicoot, and, yes - GOD OF WAR. Yes, Sony has even touched God of War. 

Wanna guess what platform BMX XXX was censored on? I'll give you a hint: it wasn't the GameCube:

And I bet you there's a lot more than just the ones I listed. 

Now, lets move onto Nintendo. Though they have gotten a lot of flack from the gaming community on the Wii U and 3DS regarding their censorship of their own 1st and 2nd party titles like Fire Emblem Fates, Fatal Frame 5, and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, they've, as I explained earlier, have always been hands off with 3rd party games since the formation of the ESRB.

Let's start with the N64, which was starved of 3rd party titles. However, it is notable for being the first Nintendo console to have a Resident Evil game released for it, more specifically Resident Evil 2. Yes, Capcom was able to fit RE2 onto a single N64 cart with everything on it, and then some. The N64 version of RE2 has exclusive content not seen in other versions, such as new costumes for Leon and Claire, 16 new in-game files called the "Ex-Files" (which connects the game to future and past games in the series), and the ability to adjust the level of violence, including to levels not in the PS1 version. So not only is the N64 version better than the PS1 version, it has content you won't find anywhere else!

And now let's move on to the GameCube, which saw the most M rated titles that were ever released on a Nintendo console. Nintendo allowed BMX XXX to come out on the GameCube with the nudity fully on, along with other mature titles like THREE Resident Evil games that were GameCube exclusives (RE4 was timed exclusive though), Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes - a remake of Metal Gear Solid, True Crime: Streets of L.A., Dead to Rights, 007: Everything or Nothing, Killer7, Tales of Symphonia, and many others - all of which Nintendo left alone.

The GameCube was also home to the first Nintendo game to receive an M rating for it's content - Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, which would be the last Nintendo-published game to get an M rating until Bayonetta 2. 

And even on the Wii, a console that helped reinforce the "Nintendo is for kids" stigma, all the mature games that came out on that console were also left alone by Nintendo. In fact, the Wii was home to three of the most violent and risque titles of the 7th generation- MadWorld, and No More Heroes 1 and 2. In fact, No More Heroes 2 (pictured above), has so many sexual jokes in it that you would think Nintendo would step in and censor it, but NOPE! They left it alone! So much for "Nintendo is for kids", eh?

And moving onto the 3DS and Wii U, sure, Nintendo censored their own 1st party games, but they still left the 3rd party lineups of those two consoles alone. In fact, the 3DS was where Kenichiro Takaki's own Senran Kagura series started. The 3DS had Senran Kagura Burst and Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson (which is still 3DS exclusive). And all those were left alone by Nintendo. When Burst got a remake on the PS4, it got censored by Sony. In fact, it's because of Sony that we can't even get Senran Kagura 7EVEN. 

And for all the shit people give Nintendo for Fatal Frame 5 and Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, Nintendo in fact still left alone Bayonetta 2, along with the original Bayonetta, which was included with the release of Bayo 2. In fact, Nintendo actually partnered with PLAYBOY to help advertise Bayonetta 2 in the West, and had a Playboy Playmate - Pamela Horton, cosplay as Bayonetta:

And now, it's the Switch era, and Nintendo is allowing many mature titles that you would have thought were hentai at first. Nintendo still left the Switch's Senran Kagura entries (Peach Ball and Reflexions) untouched, along with allowing other risque games like Omega Labyrinth Life to come out uncensored on the platform:

Since the founding of the ESRB, Nintendo has had an IMPRESSIVE record of allowing uncensored 3rd party games, though it may not look like it due to media bias and the fact that Nintendo consoles have been starved of 3rd party games since the N64. Does this sound like a "kiddie" company to you?

How stupid do you have to be to believe that Sony, and not Nintendo, is the actual champion of anti-censorship, when Sony themselves are also guilty of censoring their own 1st party games, to go along with their 3rd party censorship. Hell, the censorship policies that Sony introduced on the PS4 ARE NOT NEW POLICIES AT ALL. Multiple 3rd party developers have admitted that these censorship policies are not new at all, and that they were applied in a more relaxed way in the past. Nintendo is an easy scapegoat because of Treehouse, but their record with 3rd party titles after 1994 speaks for itself.

The inconvenient truth that most people and most 3rd party game developers refuse to admit, is that Nintendo has always been the company that is most open to 3rd party games, regardless of what content they may have, mature, risque, or otherwise. The fact that they allowed BMX XXX to come out on the GameCube unscathed (and during a time when Religious Rightist figures like Jack Thompson were protesting risque and violent games too), and partnered with Playboy to help advertise Bayonetta 2 in the West is proof enough. It is easier to hack away at a company's history by starting with the lower branches, and Sony is in fact guilty of the greatest lie in gaming history.

If, after reading this, you still want to support PlayStation, that's great, and it doesn't mean you're an idiot. The games industry needs it's competition after all. But be an honest PlayStation fan, and do some research and call out your company's censorship practices. If you continue to call Nintendo the censorious company even after all the evidence I have laid out, and use it as propaganda to smear Nintendo, I'm going to call you out, and don't be surprised if you get exposed as a Sony fanboy.