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Nintendo Treehouse marketing rep gets unjust “game over”

Nintendo Treehouse marketing rep gets unjust “game over”

Nintendo Treehouse marketing rep gets unjust “game over”
March 31
03:39 2016

The Editorial Board

“GamerGate”, a collection of keyboard warriors collectively operating from their parent’s basements, has claimed their most recent victim.

The online group of “gamers”, who could in some circles be identified merely as a hate group, lashed out on Twitter at former game journalist turned Nintendo Treehouse marketing specialist Alison Rapp, falsely labeling her a defender of pedophilia and child pornography.

Nintendo chose to terminate her employment at the company on Wednesday.

Rapp tweeted to her followers, who number just over 13,000, after her termination, which followed the controversy created by GamerGate in response to localization and what the group deemed to be censorship

For some context, localization is the term used to describe the changing of details in video games to match cultural values and expectations, in addition to translation. Think of a scene in a video game where a character is eating — in Japan, they could be eating a rice ball, but game developers might think it more difficult for American audiences to identify with such, thus changing it into a donut. Other examples might include changing the age of characters based on laws and cultural norms surrounding consent. In reality, these are minor tweaks that ultimately help to curb potential controversy.

Nintendo is a company that prides itself on its image. While the decision to terminate the employment of Rapp follows the form they’ve followed in the past, that doesn’t make the action any less disappointing. The company released this statement on the matter Wednesday evening:

“Alison Rapp was terminated due to violation of an internal company policy involving holding a second job in conflict with Nintendo’s corporate culture. Though Ms. Rapp’s termination follows her being the subject of criticism from certain groups via social media several weeks ago, the two are absolutely not related…”

True or not, in this particular case, appearance is everything. And what appears to ring true is that a group of over-zealous misogynist-laden individuals harassed a particular employee based on her views expressed online.

Kotaku, an online video game publication, came to Rapp’s defense in light of her firing, saying she was unfairly targeted after “it became obvious [to GamerGate] that Nintendo was removing some of the sexualized content from their games as they brought them to America, angry gamers looked for someone to blame and started pointing fingers at Rapp.” This was in specific reference to the removal of a “petting” mini-game included in the latest “Fire Emblem” title, in which players could use the Nintendo 3DS stylus to literally pet the faces of their significant others.

Nintendo’s decision to fire Rapp, whether justified or not outside of the harassment incident, gives the group a legitimacy and validation they so desperately need to have taken from them, and based on this outcome, will likely cause them to resurface. Is GamerGate attempting to make others feel small to compensate for its own shortcomings? We could speculate, but in the meantime, we must make the point that if the gaming industry ever hopes to raise its diversity and appeal to more women, it would do well not to throw them under the bus. 

Featured Image: Courtesy | Wikimedia Commons

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