One Of The Most Shameful Episodes In Gaming Journalism History

Editors note: repost from the old Disqus site.

Before we all abandon this place for a new site on either WordPress, Blogger or Medium, I felt that we should remember what drove us to make our site in the first place.

It all started at E3 2015. It was an E3 that we were expecting to be just like any other E3 in years past. Back when most of us were still users at PlayerEssence. We all hoped that this would be another E3 where we would hear some interesting news and perhaps a few new games. All of us knew that Nintendo wasn’t going to be showing off anything too special, just games that were announced already and more news about said games.

But it turns out that some people didn’t get the message.

The Wii U, a console that was doomed to fail from the start because of an opportunistic gaming press willing to destroy Nintendo anyway they could, as well as 3rd party developers like EA and Ubisoft sabotaging the system. Not to mention disinformation spread about the Wii U during Nintendo’s E3 press conference saying that it was unconfirmed whether it was a new console, when Nintendo themselves stated AT E3 that it WAS a new console.

At first not all of us expected the Wii U to get sabotaged like it did. We weren’t expecting it to sell as well, but we didn’t expect it to bomb like it did.

We completely underestimated the power of the gaming media. The Wii U failing wasn’t all on Nintendo, you can easily pin most of the blame on the media. They say that gamers were confused regarding whether or not the Wii U was a new console, but that’s because the MEDIA confused them. They were spreading disinformation DURING Nintendo’s E3 2011 press conference. The media knew it was a new console because Nintendo told them beforehand, and they decided to sabotage it from the get go because they hated the Wii so much for not being “hardcore.”

This was manufactured confusion. And it was planned out.

Has there ever been a time when the release of a new console was confused for it being a new accessory? It doesn’t happen. Why? Because the media is in the know long before the gamers are. Yet this was ONLY a problem for the Wii U. I don’t remember any confusion when Microsoft decided to name the Xbox 360’s successor console, the Xbox ONE. And the only other game console line besides the Famicom and Wii lines (NES, SNES, Wii, Wii U) that follows any sort of naming convention is the PlayStation console line. There was no confusion there, yet this was only a problem for the Wii U. Why? It’s never happened with any other platform before? Why now, all of a sudden, was it an issue for the Wii U?

And nobody has an answer for that. Because it’s another one of those weird anomalies that only happens to Nintendo no matter how little sense it makes.

And the fact that 3rd party publishers like Namco, EA and Ubisoft decided to sabotage the system’s 3rd party support didn’t help either. The Wii U was everything these developers wanted. It was an HD system, it was more powerful than the 360 and PS3, had PowerPC hardware, which is one of the most highly documented and well received hardware systems, and yet it’s somehow too difficult or alien to support. It’s x86 or nothing. Right…

You may say that low sales were the issue, but if that was the case, where were these developers on the Wii, which destroyed the PS3 and 360 and was incredibly cheap and easy to develop for. It was low powered, sure, but the HD jump hurt a lot of developers and they could have made a lot of money had they put their titles on the Wii.

If you even studied the reasons for why these developers ignored the Wii and Wii U, it is INSANITY. They should have never been mistreated by 3rd parties and the media. These developers wasted tens of millions of dollars to chase the HD dream when they don’t even have money to pay their employees.

And THEN came E3 2015. Again, most of users here were part of a gaming site that no longer exists today called PlayerEssence. It’s creator, Francis, was very good at exposing the corruption and the anti-Nintendo agenda in the gaming press when the site was born back in 2012. And the site continued to remain that way for another couple years.

And then came 2015. The site switched it’s comment system from IntenseDebate to Disqus, which invited hoards of trolls onto the site, and Francis began to post clickbait articles and videos on his site. There were some warning signs, but it was nothing too severe. Francis was still exposing corruption in the gaming press and he still had a great community on his site with two other great writers.

But then E3 happened. And PlayerEssence, the site that I and many other users here called home for the past 3 years became almost unrecognizable in the blink of an eye. The site became infested with concern trolls, every sane user vanished from the site, whiny otaku who complain about sexual content being censored began flooding the site, and Francis showed his true colors by turning on his userbase, posting clickbait articles on Nintendo and the Wii U reguarly, violating his own site’s rules and not punishing those who are breaking the site’s rules. As a result, PlayerEssence lost 30% of it’s site traffic, and the site we once loved eventually died a slow, painful death around New Year’s Eve 2016. Which is what led me, Titan and others to make this site on Disqus, and we decided to continue the job that Francis and PlayerEssence were supposed to do – expose the corruption of the gaming media.

When we first started VGF back in late 2015, it was to escape all the negativity and disinformation being spread about Nintendo and the Wii U by the gaming press. It was absolutely brutal. Anti-Nintendo news was being spread on almost every major gaming outlet. Sure, the 3DS was doing very well, but even the 3DS wasn’t enough to stop the media from getting in the faces of Nintendo and it’s fans. Because there was another topic that the media was blasting out of proportion to destroy Nintendo.

The “censoring” of Nintendo’s 1st party games by Nintendo of America, whom many “gamers” say are cucked SJWs.

Don’t get me wrong, I like fanservice and excessive sexual content just as much as the next guy, and I do wish that NoA didn’t have to censor it’s own games, but that is not the world we live in. When the remake of Senran Kagura Burst hit the PS4 last year, Sony brought out it’s censorship policies of old (yes, they have censored 3rd party games on the PS1 and PS2, you just haven’t heard about it), and started censoring 3rd party games. And thankfully, SOME sites (such as One Angry Gamer HD) are calling out Sony for doing so. But Sony has censored 3rd party games in the past like Policenauts and BMX XXX, they even had a very strict no nudity policy for 3rd party games on the PS1. And none of that was reported on by the media. Instead, sites like Niche Gamer, The Gaming Ground, Nintendo Everything, PlayerEssence, Censored Gaming, Operation: Rainfall and My Nintendo News all reported negatively on Nintendo’s localizations of their 1st party games, such as Fatal Frame V, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, Fire Emblem Fates, and Xenoblade Chronicles X.

The low sales of TMS #FE, Fatal Frame V and Xenoblade X were all blamed on Nintendo of America, despite the fact that these sites forgot to take 3 things into account:

1. The Wii U’s low sales.

2. Fatal Frame has never been a big seller, it has always been a niche franchise so it’s low sales were expected. Also those lingerie outlets were removed in the western release due to a licensing issue with a distributor in Japan.

3. TMS #FE got a lot of hate from BOTH the MegaTen and Fire Emblem fanbases for it not being dark enough for them, and therefore decided to boycott the game because of it, and because it wasn’t marketed properly in Japan and other regions, leaving some buyers confused. And Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei have NEVER been fanservice focused franchises. NEVER.

4. Even with “censorship” Xenoblade X still managed to sell around 1 million copies.

And if “censorship” was the reason, why didn’t Fire Emblem Fates bomb? In fact, it became the best selling Fire Emblem game ever made, with over 2 million copies sold.

And these outlets forgot to mention that Nintendo teamed up with Playboy to promote Bayonetta 2, and had Playboy playmate Pamela Horton cosplay as Bayonetta:

Hell, they even aired a commercial for Bayonetta 2 on Adult Swim!

So much for the “Nintendo is for kids” narrative that Sony, Sega and the gaming press have been pushing for over 2 decades now. But these outlets didn’t care and continued to push the narrative that Nintendo was this SJW infested company that holds the works of artists and developers hostage by censoring their work. And they also brainwashed many gamers in the process, and gave many western otaku infinite ammo to go after Nintendo and their fans.

In fact, when VGF first came into existence back in 2015, one of our first major battles were against the otaku that hailed from sites like Niche Gamer, The Gaming Ground and the like. At first our articles were bombarded by trolls who cried wolf about Nintendo’s “censorship” because me and Travis specifically called out these sites for not understanding how localization works, and linked them the Pietriots article called Stuck in the Middle, which does a very good job of explaining how localization works, and disproves the myth that NoA hates fanservice. 99% of gamers don’t even know what really goes on in game development, and they don’t know if there’s any hardware difference between any of the consoles!

Gaming is still a very young medium. The vast majority of people either don’t care about it or see it as something negative. It’s going to be several generations before it can move into a more stable and accepted place. In the mean time, discretion can be the better form of valor. Nintendo knows when to pick their battles and this, to put it quite simply, was not a hill worth dying on.

At least people outside of Japan got the chance to play these games in a language they could understand. They were never going to be the exact same games, due to cultural and language differences, but they actually released it. It took a lot of balls to release a subtitled game in a region of the world where subtitled foreign films are always ignored.

This wasn’t a case of Nintendo being “woke”, this was a case of Nintendo being what they always have been: Family friendly. Nintendo isn’t necessarily afraid of pissing off leftist SJWs, they’re afraid of pissing off right-wing CJWs (Christian Justice Warriors) and overprotective parents that lose their shit whenever they see even a hint of sexual content in a game.

If you think games sell ONLY because of fanservice instead of the overall quality of the game, please never give anyone any financial advice. You clearly don’t know how money is made.

And there’s one other thing these media outlets forgot to mention: Nintendo has not censored a 3rd party game since 1994. Now some will point to Bravely Default as an exception, as it was published by Nintendo, and Nintendo localizes the games they themselves publish, here’s one problem. Nintendo wasn’t involved with the localization process of Bravely Default. The company responsible for localizing Bravely Default was not Nintendo, it was Binari Sonori. Another inconvenient detail the media left out. Everyone and their mother forgot that simple detail and thought that Nintendo censored every game that came to their platforms. Well, where was the censorship in Senran Kagura Burst and Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson, or Bayonetta 2? Hello? Anyone?

Well, there was none, and if you want to play the uncensored versions of Senran Kagura Burst and Deep Crimson, the 3DS is the way to go! Soak it in, because you were lied to by the media. And I’m pretty sure that the GameCube version of BMX XXX was uncensored while the PS2 version WAS. And I’m pretty sure that Conker’s Bad Fur Day was uncensored on N64 while the Xbox remake was censored. Destruction of narratives much?

These media outlets and the otaku that follow them weren’t fighting censorship. They hate Nintendo. This whole thing was an attack on Nintendo and the Wii U, far more than it was an attack on censorship. This was all planned out carefully by someone with a lot of influence, wealth and power, and I want to know who was behind this and why. Sadly, we may never find out.

We never thought that this madness would end. We tried to ignore these sites and their followers, but the otaku that lurked in the comment sections of Niche Gamer, The Gaming Ground, etc. wouldn’t leave us alone, because they saw us praising Nintendo and thought that was a declaration of war to them.

But the madness did come to an end eventually. There was an earth-shattering event that happened past midnight on November 3, 2016:

The Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years, ending the longest championship drought in North American sports history and ending the frustrations of so many fans around the world.

So what does a major sporting event have to do with the media outrage against Nintendo going away? Well, the Cubs winning the World Series lifted a massive weight off of us all and made many of us here forget about the madness that went on during the Wii U’s lifetime. It really felt like the major breath of fresh air that we all needed. And after the Cubs pulled it off, everything else just went back to normal. Eventually, the Switch released early next year and most of that negative press went away. The Cubs winning it all was huge. Lots of people talked about it when it happened, and even today it’s still talked about. What a wonderful time that was.

The Wii U era and the 8th Generation of gaming was one of the most shameful episodes in gaming journalism history, and is a textbook example of the worst kind of journalism out there. There journalists were not covering video games, they were covering topics that don’t even matter instead of doing their jobs and reporting on the things people NEED to hear about. I have never seen so much unwarranted hatred and vitriol directed at Nintendo before, not even when Yamauchi was in charge.

Let us hope that for when Nintendo unveils it’s successor to the Switch, that we never have to go through anything like this again.

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get it’s pants on.”

– Winston Churchill

Published by alex9234

A skeptical game writer who doesn't believe the gaming press.

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