These days, companies are very public about their charitable causes. Tesla champions environmentalism, Chick-fil-A refuses to feed me on Sundays, and Oreo’s have aligned themselves with the LGBT community.
Which brings me to Nintendo’s charitable services, or as they agonizingly call it in the business world: corporate social responsibility (Nintendo’s page outlining it can be found here). Corporate social responsibility is the term used to describe the charitable activities performed by a company. By calling it “corporate social responsibility” they are using the most boring, technical language to describe what should otherwise humanize their company as well as help people out. So, they are all off to a bad start.
Nintendo claims to support various causes. From the Make-A-Wish Foundation to the Boys & Girls Club, all their charitable services seem to make it about the kids. But with Nintendo’s new game, people are starting to shake their heads, or should I say, wave their arms.
Nintendo’s newest game, ARMS, is set to release on June 16 within the United States and, because I’m uncultured, I’m assuming it’s the same release date for everyone else.
This fresh take on boxing games offers flavorful characters and unique game mechanics. The most obvious game mechanic being that players fight with extendable arms. With spring-like appendages, characters are able to fight across the map and pummel opponents from a distance. Instead of close-up fights between anatomy-limited humans such as Floyd Mayweather or Conor McGregor, these zany characters are punching across the entire ring. This creativity allows for ranged combat that does not exist in realistic fighting games. Players can even choose to equip their characters with traditional boxing gloves, or get a bit more creative and arm their fists with explosive mines, boomerang-like projectiles, and more.
But what does this game reflect about our culture and Nintendo’s message as a company? Nintendo has yet to strongly align themselves with any charitable causes. As mentioned before, they have their corporate social responsibility webpage, but none of these charities are a part of their identity. And when you choose not to define yourself, others will.
“I am, whatever you say I am
If I wasn’t, then why would I say I am?” -Eminem, The Way I Am (2000)
But this new installment doesn’t even define Nintendo. It sends mixed signals…is Nintendo mocking the disabled? Now, before I am accused of slander, Nintendo has not mentioned any of this publicly. But let’s be serious. They keep pushing motion controls. What else could they be trying to say? These characters are able to jump around lavish stages, and some can even double-jump! Yet Nintendo still claims that their games are accessible for all types of people. Well, what about the people like me? I can’t double-jump. Imagine how discouraging this game would be to my ten year-old self if I picked it up and fooled myself into thinking I could gain additional vertical lift from the air?
Just look at this character featured in the game. Its name is “Min Min.” No matter how much I try, my hands will never turn into ramen noodles like hers. Nintendo continues to preach their commitment to making kid-friendly games, yet they can’t even tell them the truth about life.
Look at the ways these other characters have changed their bodies. The characters featured in the previous picture have arms composed of springs, ribbons, chains, mummy wrappings, and even robotic devices. We should not be condoning plastic surgery for our children. Our children are given enough influences in life, they don’t need to be told that this is what makes you cool. Just. Say. No.
Take a look at something with a bit more realism. Take a look at a game like Battlefield 1. Games such as these are far more suitable for children. Rather than confuse them about the human anatomy, games such as these show the vulnerability of humanity, literally and figuratively. Literally, when grenades are thrown at them, figuratively, when grenades are thrown at their hearts. In Nintendo’s ARMS, an explosion just damages the character. What is this telling our children?! Kids who come out of movie theaters are already running around like they’re Spiderman or The Hulk. Now, kids are going to be running around throwing grenades at each other. All because Nintendo has chosen to give a false impression on what explosions do to the human body.
Nintendo’s latest creation has shown a complete lack of insight into the psyche and will do nothing but provide confusion for the youth as they move forward in this thing we call “life.” It has taken years for me to get over the fact that I cannot eat mushrooms and double my frame. I don’t want kids to go through the same.