The latest entry in the Animal Crossing series, New Leaf, allows players to specify Villager catchphrases with words like “cocaine.”
When it comes to protecting their consumers from the evil forces that inhabit the world, Nintendo’s stringent protection policies have always ensured a clean and welcoming environment is maintained. Their tight Miiverse moderation and first-party software have always had that kid-friendly and family-oriented feel to it.
I vividly remember reading about Nintendo’s Miiverse moderation team deleting a member’s hand-drawn image — which must have taken quite a while to draw — of Samus Aran’s primary weapon: the Arm Cannon. Apparently, it closely resembled an exploding male genitalia. The truth is, we all knew what it was. Maybe the dude (or gal) behind the scenes performing moderation for that post was a terrible artist and, in a jealous fit, deleted it. Who knows. It’s hard to believe something like that was flagged for being “inappropriate.”
There was also a Miiverse post in the Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition Miiverse Community that was deleted because it said, “Best bit is when The Batted Man kicks Doctor Octopus in the head and says ‘SHUT UP IDIOT!’.” It was likely deleted due to the phrase being all caps or making use of the word “idiot.” Switching the gears up a bit, I’d like to share a personal experience that I had while playing Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
In the Animal Crossing series, the animal villagers have catchphrases — simple words or phrases that are used at the beginning or toward the end of the conversation. These catchphrases are just a fun way to enhance the interaction between the player and the villagers. Occasionally, villagers will ask you to change their catchphrase to something new. If any “profane” word is detected during the composition of the catchphrase, you’ll be greeted with a speech bubble that says “You can’t enter that!” They’re also limited to a certain number of characters to keep things simple.
Recently, Apple asked me to change her catchphrase. I was delighted, to say the least. Apple is one of my favorite villagers and I hope she never moves out of Serenity. Ever. I always try to plant some really pretty flowers in front her house whenever I stroll by. If there are nearby weeds, I gladly pluck those up as well without even giving the gesture a second thought. Speaking of weeds, this is where things turn interesting. I wanted Apple’s new catchphrase to be “dill weed.” For some reason, I like seeing the villagers call their mayor strange and quirky names. It makes me feel…important. Unfortunately, “dill weed” didn’t work because the word “weed” is automatically filtered out due to being “profane.” I don’t get it.
What if I wanted her catchphrase to be something like “pluck weeds” or “weeds begone” or even “no weeds!”? Sadly, I can’t pick any one of those. It’s clearly obvious that Nintendo filtered out that word because it’s slang for a controlled substance; which got me thinking about how well and efficient this built-in word filtering really is. Much to my surprise, “cocaine!” worked. In fact, Apple loves her new catchphrase.
I’ve tested a slew of other words since then and have come to realize that this built-in “we’re gonna protect the player from bad words” filter isn’t so robust after all. Of course, it’s nearly impossible for software to detect and reject every single word that may be considered as profane or slang, but in this case it simply doesn’t make any sense. None whatsoever. In the near future, I wouldn’t be surprised if Nintendo turned over a new leaf and released some kind of software update for Animal Crossing: New Leaf‘s filtered content, but time will tell.
Personally, I’d really like to be able to use my original phrase: dill weed.