Nintendo Refers to GamerGate as an “Online Hate Campaign” Following Paper Mario Controversy

Nintendo has referred to GamerGate as an “online hate campaign” after defending a joke made in the upcoming Paper Mario: Color Splash, which many thought contained a reference to the online group.

Screenshots taken from an E3 2016 stream of Paper Mario were posted online by Zoe Quinn, an early GamerGate target, who believed that the company had included a reference to her during a section of the game. The segment in question features a Toad saying the line “let’s watch the Five Fun Guys dance and shuffle!” before asking “is this gonna ruin my career?!” and referring to the incident as “Shufflegate.” Many questioned whether or not this was a reference to the lamentable “Five Guys” controversy that eventually led to the formation of GamerGate, with Zoe herself weighing in on the debate in a series of tweets:

However, many also questioned whether or not it was actually a reference to Watergate, which Nintendo has now stated was the intention. In a statement released today (via Kotaku), the company said: “As many have observed, when viewed in its entirety the Nintendo Treehouse: Live segment for Paper Mario: Color Splash from E3 includes two jokes separated by commentary and gameplay that have no relation to each other. One joke has to do with Watergate, while the other is a nod to the Fungi Fun Guys from Mario Party 8. It was brought to our attention today that these two jokes have been spliced together and misconstrued as a crude reference to an online hate campaign.”

They continued: “While we typically do not speak on localization matters, we feel the need to confirm that these jokes are not linked in the game and were never intended to be linked, Nintendo firmly rejects the harassment of individuals in any way and was surprised to learn that its gameplay was misinterpreted in this manner.”