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It Was An Accident. But They Changed Minecraft Steve Anyway

Nintendo is known for its squeaky clean image. Essentially the Disney of video games (Disney-published games notwithstanding), Nintendo is seen as a family-friendly company that publishes titles that are fun for all ages. However, the company sometimes throws caution to the wind and publishes games with mature content that flies in the face of this image. Usually, these decisions are intentional, such as with MadWorld and Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem, but occasionally a mature image slips through the cracks and is then rectified. Minecraft Steve in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is one such example.


For a bit of context, Steve was added to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in Ver. 9.0.0, and the reaction was mixed. Some players loved Steve, others hated him, and many gamers noticed several glitches. Nintendo had to rework the game to accommodate Steve's gimmick of mining and crafting, and some glitches weren't caught by quality assurance, such as characters clipping through the world if Steve built a block in the wrong location. Many of these bugs were fixed in Ver. 9.0.1, along with another problem was silently patched: the non-listed mistake of Steve holding his victory steak in an accidentally NSFW fashion.

As with all characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Steve has three possible victory celebrations. The first two are completely benign. Steve either builds a house and exits it, or lands on the freshly-exploded remains of a Creeper. The third victory consists of Steve eating a steak and then placing its remains ... by his midsection. Yes, virtually every player noticed this NSFW gaffe. When Kotaku's editor-in-chief Stephen Totilo mentioned this mistake while interviewing Head of Xbox Phil Spencer, Totilo didn't provide any context. He just straight up asked Spencer if he had "seen the Steve image that's making the rounds now," and when Spencer said, "No," Totilo provided the picture to get Spencer's raw reaction. Spencer assumed the image was fake, and when Totilo demonstrated it wasn't, Spencer quickly assumed the animation would be fixed. Indeed it was.


As soon as Ver. 9.0.1 automatically downloaded onto Super Smash Bros. Ultimate games worldwide, audiences noticed Steve joined the clean plate club. Instead of holding the half-eaten remains of his victory steak, he now finishes his meal. The rest of the victory screen is unchanged, though. Steve still burps after eating his steak, but the remaining meat is now gone. And, since Alex, Zombie, and Enderman share all of Steve's moves and animations, their table manners also improved as of Ver. 9.0.1.

The response to Nintendo fixing the mistake is mixed. Quite a few gamers are glad, while numerous commenters want Nintendo to retroactively bring the meat back. However, the majority of responses revolve around making jokes. Some try to explain it is only natural for a steak to disappear when you eat it, while others counter that in Minecraft, most players would have a stack of steaks ready to eat; munching on one wouldn't get rid of the entire stack. Meanwhile, a growing number of commenters are convinced that if gamers hadn't acted like fifth graders, Steve would still have his steak.

One must wonder how the steak incident got past Super Smash Bros.'s normally vigilant quality assurance and game director Masahiro Sakurai, especially since Ultimate has a history of self-censorship. For example, when Terry Bogard joined the game's roster as a guest fighter, SNK's most famous (and provocative) character, Mai Shiranui, didn't receive any representation because Sakurai wanted to keep the game's age rating as low as possible. And, even before Super Smash Bros. Ultimate released, Nintendo nerfed Zero Suit Samus' bust and Solid Snake's butt, respectively. Then again, Steve isn't the first time something snuck past the censors.


Unlike previous entries where Mr. Game & Watch wielded weapons that referenced his numerous handheld titles, he received an aesthetic overhaul in Ultimate — his model is now swapped out to mimic characters in those games, as well. Thanks to a loin cloth and head feather, Mr. Game & Watch looked like an offensively stereotyped Native American while performing his forward smash. In Ver 1.1.0, Nintendo removed the feather to make the attack less insulting. While Mr. Game & Watch was changed due to cultural insensitivity, Steve was altered because of accidental NSFW steak placement.

Since Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has four more guest character slots waiting to be filled, only time will tell if they will require future censorship down the line.