The video game industry may have started as a fairly closed off playground, but over the years there have been more companies that have entered the field and made lasting impressions on gaming. Nintendo has almost been around from the start and in order to survive so long and adapt through the various generations of gaming, it’s fundamental to have both a strong understanding and relationship with your fans.
Nintendo is far from perfect and they’ve had their share of misfires, but sometimes what’s even more important than the mistake is how the company handles themselves afterwards. Gamers can be awfully forgiving under the right circumstances and a little humility can definitely go a long way towards future goodwill. Accordingly, Here Are 20 Times Nintendo Had To Apologize For Bad Decisions.
20 Joy-Con Drift
This is still very much a developing issue for Nintendo, but it also includes the most recent example of Nintendo attempting to put out a fire. Nintendo typically puts out products of a fair quality, but their Joy-Cons are wearing out and producing a “drift” in the cursor’s direction that’s becoming much more prevalent than it should be.
A class-action lawsuit is even in the works to get to some kind of resolution here. Nintendo’s current response hasn’t been encouraging and they’ve done the minimal work here to assure their customers. They’re allowing consumers to send Joy-Cons back for replacements and offering refunds on previous repairs, but it’s unclear if the problem has actually been fixed on future controllers.
19 Tomodachi Life Doesn't Allow Same-Sex Marriages
Nintendo consistently tries to put out the image that they offer a level of gaming that is inclusive towards everyone. As a result, some gamers took exception with the 3DS life simulation title, Tomodachi Life, fails to include the option for same-sex marriages. Romance is a large part of the game and this is a big oversight for many players. Nintendo publicly apologized for the game’s design, but sadly explained that amending such a change into the title would require too drastic of a post-game patch.
18 Racial Epithet In Animal Crossing: Wild World
The lack of inclusivity in Nintendo’s Tomodachi Life snafu left many gamers up in arms, but an even more regrettable problem cropped up in the company’s other major life simulation series, Animal Crossing. In the DS’ Animal Crossing: Wild World, conversations with the sheep NPC, Baabara, lead to some rather colorful language. Nintendo addressed and apologized for this oversight and insisted that it was limited to 14 review copies of the game and was the result of user-generated catchphrases being shared wirelessly between review copies.
17 Wii Fit Labels Kids As Fat
Wii Fit was a breakthrough for the innovative gaming console and even though the title wasn’t the deepest gaming experience for some, it provided casual exercise for others in a way that seemed groundbreaking. Wii Fit had nothing but good intentions, but in the infancy of the title there were definitely sensitivity issues, especially with different weight classifications around the world. The humble Wii game was telling more and more children that they were overweight, which struck a chord with many, and Nintendo tried for some gentler phrasing in the future.
16 Culturally Offensive Animation In Super Smash Bros Ultimate
The Super Smash Bros. series has been a fan-favorite among Nintendo gamers, but there was some shock and outrage when a pre-release stream for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate revealed an interesting attack for Mr. Game and Watch. One of the character’s attacks that hearkens back to the 1982 title, Fire Attack, featuring the character behaving in a way that Native Americans saw offensive. Nintendo couldn’t have been more apologetic and had the attack and animation patched and changed before the title’s release.
15 The Virtual Boy
Nintendo’s earlier years were seen with many runaway successes, but the company experienced their first major taste of humble pie in 1995 with the release of the Virtual Boy. Nintendo’s game-changing system was too far ahead of its time and not only was it extremely expensive, but it failed to catch on with audiences. It was a significant blow for the company, they learned they weren’t invincible, and both Nintendo and the system’s mastermind, Gunpei Yokoi, were pushed into very apologetic positions.
14 Lack Of Mother 3 Localization
Localization can be a tricky area with video games and even though the industry has made significant strides in the field, there are still titles that slip through the cracks and gamers have been waiting decades to get a translated taste of in some cases. Nintendo has surprised its fans with some of its out of nowhere localization announcements, but Mother 3 is one that is always requested, yet they’ve never bugged on the matter. Not even on North American Virtual Consoles. This has been such a persistent thorn in fans’ sides that Nintendo has basically said they’re sorry for not releasing it, but to not get their hopes up any time soon either.
13 Shortage Of NES Classics
There’s a basic principle and logic behind “supply and demand,” but there are sometimes situations where the absence of hardware is extremely suspicious. Nintendo caught everyone by surprise and made dreams come true in the process when they announced the release of the NES Classic for the holiday season. Nintendo knew this would be popular, but they had no idea just how much demand there would be. What was meant to be a limited item was quickly out of stock. Nintendo had to save face and apologize for the shortage, as well as putting more out on the shelves.
12 Cancelled Sequels
Just as much as localization woes can be a major area of frustration for gamers, it’s sometimes even more frustrated to have a game announced or be on the cusp of release, only for it to be snatched away for some kind of internal reasons. There have been some potentially incredible Nintendo titles that we’ll never get a chance to experience, such as Fire Emblem 64, Metroid 64, Donkey Kong Racing, Kirby Tilt N Tumble 2, Zelda: Mystical Seed of Courage, and the list goes on. While it doesn’t always happen, Nintendo sometimes apologizes for last minute cancellations, in the case of some games, like Pokémon Picross, they’re able to release decades later as a sign of gratitude.
11 Early 3DS Price Drop
It’s not always easy to be an early adopter for new video game software. It’s exciting to get the new technology right out of the gate, but waiting for the inevitable price cut is also a safe play. These price cuts usually take some time, so it came as a serious surprise when Nintendo changed the price of the 3DS from $250 to $170 after only five months into its US launch and after fewer than 900,000 units had been moved in America. This upset many that jumped to buy the handheld, so Nintendo tried to show their thanks by offering an impressive “Ambassador Program” of free NES and Game Boy Advance titles to add to the library.
10 Lack Of Virtual Console Carry Over
The addition of the Virtual Console when Nintendo came out with their Wii was a major boon for gamers, especially those that weren’t able to experience the earlier generations. Fans were delighted to purchase some of their favorite retro classics, but then devastated years later when they learned that the Wii’s Virtual Console titles wouldn’t carry over to the Wii U or that integration with the 3DS’ shop was possible. Many people had to re-buy games and Nintendo’s sympathy has largely been perfunctory.
9 Wiimote Breakage
Pioneering new hardware, whether it be a console or some unique peripheral, offers up a lot of opportunities for companies, but it’s also something that must be seriously vetted. The technology offered in Wiimote’s blew a lot of people’s minds when they first experienced, but it also led to a lot of unintentional injuries and broken television. As a response, Nintendo sent out better Wiimote straps and instilled more severe, thorough warnings before games.
Social media engagement is always just supposed to be a fun extra way to reward and interest fans, so it’s always unfortunate when something that’s meant to be a friendly bonus turns into an unintentional gaffe. Nintendo likes to have voter contests via its social media, so one Wednesday it opted to have a competition between Waluigi and Wiggler. The only catch is that a typo resulted in #WiggerWednesday rather than #WigglerWednesday. People ran rampant with the error and even though Nintendo quickly caught the mistake and clarified, it was a wild Wednesday for the company.
7 Amiibo Shortages
Sometimes products are clearly going to resonate with an audience and other times the next big trend comes as a complete surprise. In the case of Nintendo’s Amiibos, it was likely more of the latter. Nintendo probably knew that natural collectors would love the functional toy add-ons, but they surely had no idea certain rare figures would sell for hundreds of dollar online. With Amiibo fever being so extreme and many models completely selling out, Nintendo could only apologize for the inconvenience and re-stock certain models and increase numbers where they can.
6 The Wii U’s Poor Performance
The Virtual Boy was a tough blow for Nintendo, but it was always seen as more of a supplemental experiment rather than Nintendo’s focus. Accordingly, many audiences were skeptical when Nintendo pivoted rather quickly from the Wii over to the Wii U, which in many ways felt like an addendum to the previous console, rather than an entirely new piece of hardware. As a response, Wii U numbers were grim and the company seriously took a dive before they could reclaim ground with the Switch. In spite of this, the Wii U was such a blow to Nintendo that Satoru Iwata, the company’s then-CEO, actually cut his salary in half as a way to apologize for the Wii U’s losses.
5 Switch Online Delay And No Virtual Console
Online play has always been a bit of a hurdle for Nintendo. Sony and Microsoft are experts when it comes to online gaming, but between friend codes and the like, Nintendo’s transition into the field hasn’t been smooth. Gamers were curious when and how the Switch would enter online gaming and not only was it a lengthy wait, but one that let many people down. Switch Online took a long time to happen and it’s arrival also informed people that there would be no Virtual Console this time around. This new service where games are “rented’ isn’t for everyone and Nintendo was apologetic for the bumpy road it took to get going.
4 Nintendo Power Apologizes To Mask II Contest Winner It Couldn’t Deliver On
This is without a doubt the most perplexing apology on this list, but one that actually shows how much Nintendo can take care of the disenfranchised underdog. Nintendo Power hosted a contest where the grand prize was a set visit to an upcoming sequel to the Jim Carrey film, The Mask. When Jim Carrey pulled out of the sequel, the film was cancelled, but the prizewinner had already been awarded! With no film to visit, Nintendo sent the winner a massive consolation prize pack and a rather funny apology that ran in Nintendo Power’s final issue, 17 years later.
3 Disappointing 2015 E3 Showcase
The major electronics and gaming convention, E3, has turned into an increasing spectacle over the years. There’s an insane amount of pressure put on this event and what companies will unveil. It’s turned into such a stressful occasion that recently more companies opt to skip it entirely as a way to completely avoid the pressure. Nintendo experienced a satisfying E3 this year, but 2015 was one of the lowest for the company. Not only did Nintendo have very little of substance to actually show off, their executives entered via a sarcastic video where they were puppets, leaving audiences confused. The display was such a debacle that they actually apologized for the disappointment.
2 Super Mario Run’s “Loads Of Coins Event”
It’s a little surprising that official Nintendo titles only entered the arena of mobile gaming over the past few years. The real guinea pig for this transition was the free-to-play, Super Mario Run, which was immediately addictive. Super Mario Run was very popular, but Nintendo faced some complaints when there were some bugs around their “Loads of Coins” event. This wasn’t anything drastic, but Nintendo still apologized for the glitches and inconveniences via an in-game notifications, which also cleared up the problem.
1 Nintendo Switch Shortages
Nintendo has had to deal with not being able to meet consumer demand in a number of different situations. While it’s unfortunate that they continually run into this issue, it’s reassuring that they’ve at least gotten better at addressing these shortages. When the Switch turned out to be a mega seller and the major holiday item during its year of release, Nintendo struggled to up their numbers and accommodate the angry people who couldn’t get a console. There was such a demand that wasn’t being met that Nintendo apologized and assured costumers that more Switch consoles were coming.
These are some of the biggest occasions that we could find where Nintendo made a blunder and then owned up to it, but there are even more that are out there. Do you have a favorite Nintendo mistake or example of how they tried to save face?