Go on Miiverse right now. Join some Mario-related community. Take out your stylus. Now, either from scratch or using a stamp as a template, draw Mario surrounded by Nazi-era swastikas. Like, tons of them. Make it a veritable swastika snowstorm. Ten bucks says you’ll be charged with one count of Nintendo crime within a minute.

Like so.

Like so.

When it comes to sanitizing the Miiverse, Nintendo employs a crack team of speed wizards. There seems to be a trade-off, however: The team in charge of approving YouTube videos according to Nintendo’s new video monetization policies is super-duper slow. As in it takes a week to approve videos and accounts, whereas Nintendo previously promised would only take two or three days.

Nobody really expected the Nintendo Creators Program to launch without a hitch. Slowdowns are inevitable. But the slowdown combined with Nintendo’s stack of tone-deaf rules permissible video content is a sad indication of how little Nintendo is interested in modernizing itself (outside of engaging in online communities to the extent necessary to protect its family-friendly image, of course).

“Eet’s-a mine!” [WARIO LAUGH!]

I’m not against the Nintendo Creators Program. I’m not against Nintendo taking a cut of ad revenue. As someone who still writes fanfiction, I know that the word of the original creator is ultimately law. I don’t have to agree with it, mind – which is why if someone tells their fans, “Don’t write fanfiction of my characters,” I’ll cave to their wishes, but mutter about how they’re a jerk.

(Stringent rules from creators re: fanfiction – like, “Please don’t show me what you’ve written because of complicated legal issues,” or “Please don’t write / draw incestual or sexually illegal situations between my characters” – I’m OK with, and I believe should be respected.)

Fanfiction is a legit art form I swear to God

Fanfiction is a legit art form, I swear to God.

Similarly, I believe Nintendo has the right to do whatever it wants with videos that utilize its content. Let’s Plays may not be the bastion of free advertising the YouTube community makes it out to be.

Sure, Let’s Plays are a great way for otherwise low-key game to gain some time in the spotlight (Five Nights at Freddy’s is a good example). But said videos can also drive people away from spending money on games, particularly full-priced triple-A fare like Nintendo produces. Or to quote Homer Simpson, “Why should I pay for it? I already saw the best part! Heh heh!”

In theory, the Nintendo Creators Program is a fair halfway point. Nintendo gets a percentage of video makers’ ad revenue in exchange for using its IP and music. And if Nintendo does in fact lose out on sales because of Let’s Plays, that percentage should more than make up the difference.

“Not on the list.”

This should all be easy-peasy, but Nintendo’s been making dumb moves. It doesn’t help the company has already earned a reputation for being out of touch thanks to the fact it chases after fan videos with the blind fury of the rabbit-killing dog from the end of Watership Down.



Is there any logical reason behind sniping videos that use 8-bit background music? If Nintendo decides to go after the infamous Moonbase Alpha video for framing its shenanigans with the appropriately jaunty Super Mario 2 theme, there will be violence. Nothing good comes from draconian crackdowns.

But Nintendo’s whitelist, the official list of games that are allowed to be monetized by YouTubers, has really caused Nintendo to fall over and show its butt to the world. Even 8-bit Nintendo games are on this thing, and some of the entries are total nonsense. Open up those Swiss bank accounts, YouTubers, because you’re going to need to contain the flow of advertising cash spewing from your Vs Excitebike video!

(“Can I monetize regular Excitebike?”)

I don’t know! Probably not! It’s not on the list!

You’re too slow

When the Nintendo Creators program came into focus and the Internet dismissed it as a pile of hot garbage, I hoped Nintendo would say “Sorry, we’re new at this, lol” and fix things up. Nintendo made changes, sure enough: It clarified that anyone with non-Nintendo videos would have to remove that content before their channel would become eligible for the Creators program.

"Ohhhh nooooo!"

“Ohhhh nooooo!”

You shall have only one God, ye of YouTube, and it shall be Nintendo. It’s a bit out of touch for a deity, but it’s benevolent. Really. Listen to the noises it makes! Boing! Boing!

I’m not one to say “Nintendo’s going to fold,” or “Nintendo needs to put Mario and Pokémon on smartphones” (Lord, am I ever not that person). Nintendo has always done things its own way, and in many regards, that’s great: I think Miiverse is far warmer and fun than Xbox and PlayStation’s online communities.

If Nintendo doesn’t get its act together re: YouTube and the online world in general, it’ll probably soldier on. But it’s causing itself unnecessary suffering and making itself look positively ancient while those of us that support it look like goofs.

In other words, Welcome to the Next Level, Nintendo. Get wit’ it.

  • Doctor Doc

    I had to look up of a video of that dog because I doubted it could match Nintendo’s ferocity, but I was not disappointed. It’s all about the way it pointlessly flings the rabbits towards the sky after he’s done with them. Juuust like those videos of 25-year-old games.

    • Nadia Oxford

      Both the dog and Nintendo are hardcore.