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Student's 'Bad Joke' About Nintendo Direct Sends Police To College Campus

On February 8, Nintendo hosted a Direct livestream that was hyped up beyond belief. Despite only being announced a little over 24 hours before the event, the excitement had reached a fever pitch. Fans were expecting to hear updates about everything from "The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom" to "Pikmin 4," and they were not disappointed when the show finally aired. Heck, even "Metroid" fans got amazing news when all was said and done! But the hours leading up to the Nintendo Direct felt like an eternity for many of these fans — and one student took their excitement a bit too far, according to some law enforcement officials.


This week, the police department for California State University, Fullerton went out to investigate "a perceived vague threat" obtained by the department and school officials. Within hours, police officers and K-9 units were all over campus, looking into what they believed to be either a bomb threat or potential school shooting. Students were evacuated and many were left in the dark as to what had caused the incident in the first place.

As it turns out, one Nintendo fan attending CSUF did not properly explain why they wanted to sit out class on the evening of February 8, which resulted in a state of near-panic.

How the Nintendo Direct led to a campus emergency

According to a press release from CSUF Police Department Chief Scot Wiley, the commotion began when a professor received an email that appeared to be warning of a future event. "The email referenced a once-in-a-lifetime event that would occur [on] February 8th," explains the notice, "and the individual urged the professor to cancel class for the good of humanity." 


As the police department would come to understand, this student was simply referring to the then-upcoming Nintendo Direct. Unfortunately, the vague wording and the fact that the email didn't even mention the Direct, well, directly, left the message open to a darker interpretation. The press release explained that the student soon realized the error of their ways and reached out to the professor again to apologize for what they called "a bad joke." By that time, the police department had figured out that the professor's class coincided with Nintendo's livestream, connecting the dots between the Direct and the "bad joke."

After determining that the students and faculty were in no immediate danger, the police department resolved to continue its patrols the following day. The press release explains, "Out of an abundance of caution, additional officers will be on campus tomorrow ... and our K9 team will walk the campus and buildings."


After being contacted for a statement by Kotaku, police officials told the outlet that "there was no threat of violence happening whatsoever" and that the person who sent the original concerning email feels bad about starting a commotion.

Reactions to this school shutdown have been mixed

Naturally, the gaming community has taken hold of this story over the last 24 hours, with many expressing disbelief at the whole situation. Some people have tried to understand why this student wouldn't have just played hooky from class, while others have found entertainment in the fact that such a seemingly tame email could result in this kind of police response. However, for many other people, this was far from a laughing matter.


One CSUF student explained their perspective on the incident in a thread on Twitter, pointing out that there was initially very little info regarding the nature of the threat, which led to a scary situation for many students. According to this student, "Most students first got the info through a [screenshot] of an email of a professor telling their students not to come to class because another prof had gotten a vague email threat ... We didn't get any further information for a while." 

This student then wrote that it apparently took a few more hours before the police department responded to the email, during which time students were evacuated from campus and more professors had either canceled classes or were conducting them remotely. "California already had a bunch of violent acts happen during January. We were on edge," the student explained.


The police department has a similar perspective on events, as Acting Chief of Police Scot Wiley explained in the aforementioned press release. "We understand that a threat of any kind, real or not, causes many to fear for their safety," the press release reads. "Please know we will do all we can to ensure the safety of our campus community."