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When Nintendo Apologized To Gamers

It's easy to be a Nintendo fan. Not only do they remind us of the joys of our collective childhoods, but they continue to release high quality games and push for innovation and experimentation in the industry. They've certainly earned their legacy and we love them for it. However, any company that's been around as long as Nintendo inevitably will have had their fair share of unpopular moments. From innocent mistakes, to tactical errors, to nigh inscrutable business decisions, here are some of the most noteworthy Nintendo missteps that earned an apology.

Amiibo shortages

It's hard to resist the appeal of the Amiibo, Nintendo's collectible NFC figurines. So it's not surprising that when they were released in 2015, they were in high demand. The only ones who did seem  surprised were Nintendo execs themselves, who ended up facing a bevy of frustrated Amiibo-less fans. Some even accused them of artificially creating scarcity to drive up demand. Despite a rather tone-deaf initial response to this outrage, Nintendo did their best to apologize and reassure fans that they would address these supply issues moving forward.

Nintendo claimed that the shortages were due to demand exceeding their expectations, presumably meaning they underproduced the product, which is a fair explanation. Good thing they learned their lesson and therefore should be able to anticipate supply issues more successfully in the future. [Spoiler: Not so much.]

Lack of games on the Wii U after launch

There's no denying that part of what makes Nintendo great is their willingness to experiment with innovative console designs, and the Wii U and its touchscreen GamePad is no exception. But for many fans, the hardware itself is an afterthought, because what they really care about is Nintendo's legendary game franchises. Needless to say, die hard Nintendo fans who purchased a Wii U at launch were considerably let down as the months continued to roll by with no major new releases for the company's flagship franchises such as Super Mario and Legend of Zelda. Then president and CEO of Nintendo, the late Satoru Iwata, apologized for the lack of new titles in a Nintendo Direct broadcast in January of 2013, assuring fans that new games were on the way.

Despite the frustration, it was refreshing to hear Nintendo acknowledge the disappointment from early Wii U adopters. Too often we see games released prematurely for one reason or another by large publishers at the expense of quality, so it's admirable that Nintendo wants to make sure that new titles are fully baked before releasing. As far as missteps go, this one is certainly one of their more forgivable. Especially when you remember...

#WiggerWednesday

Who among us hasn't had an embarrassing textmergency? Well Nintendo certainly has. Attempting to encourage fans on Twitter to vote on #WaluigiWednesday vs #WigglerWednesday, they accidentally omitted the "l" in Wiggler to make "#WiggerWednesday." The juxtaposition of Nintendo's family friendly characters with a slang term like "Wigger" is delightful, and despite their prompt apology and deletion of the Tweet, the internet wasted no time in jumping on the mistaken hashtag with hilarious results.

Tomodachi Life doesn't have same-sex marriages

The only thing stranger than Nintendo's 2014 title Tomodachi Life is the game's bizarre Nintendo Direct announcement. We all love when Nintendo gets bizarre, since it's when they take themselves less seriously that they're often at their best. However, Nintendo's special brand of traditionalism got them into trouble when fans petitioned them to patch Tomodachi Life to include same-sex relationships. Nintendo's initial response defended the game's lack of same sex marriages as them not intending "to make any form of social commentary," a response which, intentionally or not, actually winds up doing just that.

To Nintendo's credit, they followed up with an additional statement that seems much more appropriate. They seemed to express sincere regret and pledged to ensure that they will work to make future games more inclusive. This follow up apology felt like a positive step for Nintendo in that they were willing to set aside their knee-jerk traditionalism and recognize the issue being raised by fans. Here's hoping they follow through on this one.

NES Classic shortages

Let's face it, everyone wants an NES Classic. We want one. You want one. Do you have one? We weren't able to get one. How much do you want for it?

After the NES Classic got announced, it became the must-have product of the season. The problem? It was completely unavailable almost immediately. Nintendo apologized for these shortages, claiming a supply chain issue as the cause of the shortages, and assured fans that they were working to increase production.

You would think after what happened with the Amiibo shortages, they would have learned their lesson. Well, at least there's no way it could happen again, right? [Spoilers: Guess again.]

Early 3DS price drop

Price drops are inevitable with any piece of hardware, but when Nintendo announced a $80 price cut to the 3DS only a few short months after launch, it came as quite a shock to fans. With the floundering sales of the handheld system, the move came across as a bit desperate on Nintendo's part. To early adopters, this sudden price drop seemed like a slap in the face. 

However, Nintendo made the wise decision to apologize in the form of an offer to anyone who had purchased the device prior to the cut, allowing them to download 20 exclusive free games from their eShop. Not a bad value, and a great move on Nintendo's part to reward the loyalty of their most dedicated fans. Seems like it worked out for Nintendo as well, since the 3DS has since gone on to become extremely successful, selling over 68 million units to date. This apology also serves as a great reminder that actions speak louder than words.

Racial epithet in Animal Crossing: Wild World

This one is baffling. Several copies of Animal Crossing: Wild World were sent out to game journalists, all containing a copy of the same pre-existing save file, to show off some of the game's unique features. However, this save file apparently had a customized greeting for one of the characters that was, shall we say, inappropriate. Nintendo of course apologized and recalled the press copies of the game with the offending language.

What's really crazy about this story is that presumably someone at Nintendo put that custom greeting into the save file that somehow (presumably mistakenly) ended up in all of the review copies of the game that got sent out to the press. While there's no way to know how this really happened, it was probably just an innocent mistake, albeit a ridiculous one.

Wii Fit calls kids fat

After the Wii kicked off the industry trend towards motion controls in video games, a fitness game seemed like a no-brainer. Especially given that the Wii was in many ways intended to bring video gaming to a broader audience, Wii Fit was exactly the kind of app that would help more casual users buy into the console as more than just a toy. 

However, when a 10-year-old girl was categorized by the game's BMI measurements as fat, there was some understandable condemnation. Nintendo apologized, and acknowledged that their categorization may not be entirely accurate, but made no commitment to change the game, or add a warning for children.

Smash Bros player bans

If there's one thing we've learned over the years, it's that Super Smash Bros. fans are some of the most dedicated there are. That's why, when Nintendo mistakenly banned some players from their online competitive mode "For Glory," people were justifiably upset. The bans occurred when Peach players attempted to pull a turnip a the start of a competitive match. Since For Glory mode doesn't allow any items, the game mistakenly considered the turnip pulled to be an item, and concluded that the player was cheating, resulting in a ban.

Nintendo was quick to apologize, assuring players they would correct the issue. Obviously this was a blunder on Nintendo's part, but we at least have to give Nintendo a little credit for making an effort to prevent cheating, something that a lot of online games struggle to control.

Nintendo Switch shortages

Even after the disappointing sales of the Wii U, the Nintendo Switch looked like a must-have console from the outset. Launching with a long overdue new Legend of Zelda game and teasing an upcoming new Super Mario game as well, what Nintendo fan could resist? Unfortunately, Nintendo turned out to be unprepared for the demand. Again. 

The Switch became nearly impossible to find. Nintendo's simple apology was appreciated, but felt like the same line we've heard regarding their previous product shortages. It's hard to give them a pass after repeated failures to anticipate the popularity and demand for their products.

However, apparently it hasn't been as hard to get your hands on the recently released SNES Classic as it has been to get the other recent Nintendo products. After all their other recent product shortage failures, perhaps Nintendo has finally started getting their act together. If so, that's one less apology they'll need to make.