While yesterday’s focal point of internet outrage was the botched Diablo Immortal reveal, today another sect of the internet is focusing on something new: alleged unintentional racist depictions in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
The conversation, which originates on gaming forum ResetEra, began with some eagle-eyed viewers who noted that the old-school character’s Mr. Game & Watch. One of his attacks has him donning a Native American headdress and using a torch to attack other characters:
As all things related to Mr. Game & Watch, whose presence in the Smash Bros. series began in Melee, this is a reference to an old-school Game & Watch hardware game–specifically Fire Attack. The handheld hardware game, which released in March 26, 1982 is a single-screen game showcasing a battle between Native American chiefs and a cowboy Game & Watch defending a fort.
For a reference to the game, check out the footage of it below, courtesy of YouTuber got2pair:
This isn’t the only reference to Fire Attack, which also apparently shows up as a Spirit in the game:
Within ResetEra, many have been calling for this move to be updated out of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a “racist stereotype” while others argue that the game isn’t racist. The controversy would then spread to Twitter with people coming down on both sides:
Please check and spread the below thread from ResetEra. Mr. Game & Watch's new forward smash in Smash Ultimate is a direct reference to a G&W game featuring racist depictions of Native Americans.
— ✨ gale (@rr_gale) November 3, 2018
I’m a native american as well and I really see no problem with this tbh
— 🚀νuʟċѧň🚀|Plant Gang| (@shmi77y) November 4, 2018
It seems this isn’t the first time that this controversy arose–the Game Boy Advance version of Fire Attach on Game & Watch Gallery 4 changed the Native Americans to Bandits, removing the headdress entirely:
hey so how about instead of being mad at people upset about two frames, how about two frames that'll make everyone happy?
LEFT: Original, with feathers (Native Americans)
RIGHT: GBA remake with removal of feathers (Bandits) pic.twitter.com/jJFrUO1t2x
— Owen – 5 days ??🎄☃️ (@PieMehker) November 4, 2018
It’s immediately unclear how Nintendo is going to react to these claims, or if the localization team will be making any changes to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a result — though a change to the bandit sprite may be the easiest middle ground for the company to make. However, we will keep you updated with any changes made along the way from the original product.
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