Nintendo is coming for your ‘inappropriate’ parodies—if the company can, that is

Nintendo and litigation go hand in hand like Mario and Peach, which has tarnished the company’s family-friendly image among adult fans. Now, however, Nintendo has taken aim at an entirely different subset of adult fans by vowing to take “appropriate action” against those who use Nintendo IP inappropriately.

This means exactly what you think it means. After coming for emulators and allegedly going after Garry’s Mod, Nintendo might be bringing its legal forces against perhaps the only thing keeping a lot of people over 30 interested in their games: the porn. Not to put too fine a point on it, but people have been horny for Nintendo characters since a pixelated Pauline first strutted onscreen in 1981. Doing something about it now seems too little, too late, but if there is a video game company out there with the capital and the single-minded devotion to brand image required to sue NSFW creators into oblivion, it’s Nintendo.

bowser in super mario rpg
Some of the art I’ve seen of Bowser definitely qualifies. Image via Nintendo

This news comes straight from the Koopa’s mouth: Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa himself. During a recent shareholder meeting, Furukawa and other execs sat down for a question-and-answer session with the company’s shareholders. He had quite a few interesting things to say, including pledging that the company’s next console won’t be scalped to hell and back like the Switch and swearing off the use of generative AI.

Eventually, however, a shareholder addressed the elephant in the room and asked Furukawa point-blank what the company was doing about inappropriate use of Nintendo’s characters on social media, pointing out that “this kind of behavior poses the risk of damaging the value of Nintendo IP.” Furukawa clarified that the company’s mission is to “bring smiles through entertainment”—which this inappropriate content is technically doing, just not in the way Nintendo would prefer. He concluded by resolving to “ensure that our consumers are not made to feel uncomfortable, not only in our games but also anywhere they come into contact with our IP.”

Hide your Bowsette folders. Although it’s easy to point to porn as Nintendo’s target here, it’s a good bet that “inappropriate” is more of a catchall term that doesn’t strictly mean sexual content. Any creative work where Luigi swears or Bowser contributes a controversial opinion on the geopolitical conflict du jour, for instance, would likely also fall under this umbrella and be subject to the “appropriate action” from Nintendo that Furukawa mentioned in his response.

On the other hand, however: good luck, Nintendo. The internet is forever, after all, and even Nintendo can’t patrol all of it. Odds are that Furukawa’s response was little more than a way to placate the pearl-clutching investor—if a lowly games journalist knows that there’s no way Nintendo can realistically put that genie back in the bottle, the man at the head of the company certainly does too.

But if losing the less-than-appropriate Midna fan art means we finally get a Twilight Princess remaster, though, that’s a bargain I’m willing to make.

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