It’s no secret that Nintendo has a troubled relationship with online gaming. On a related note, they also seem to have a problem with hackers. This problem extends to both online and offline play and, unfortunately, it isn’t a problem that affects only Nintendo; it affects us all. As a result, I feel confident in saying that in a pool of people who hack games, the scummiest are the ones who hack Nintendo games.
Part of the reason for this is because Nintendo is extremely reliant on its first party games. A hacked Wii or Wii U that is able to pirate games is a direct attack on the funds Nintendo uses to publish games. But, as Nintendo attempts to defend itself, the damage might carry over to consumers. What if, for example, the reason players couldn’t back up their saves to external devices on the Nintendo Switch is because, in the past, that ability has been exploited to hack the systems? Granted, a hacker did manage to figure out a way to add backup saves. Meanwhile, other hackers already found a way to exploit the Switch’s hardware so that, no matter what, they will be able to hack the current line of the consoles; no patch can undo it.
Another way non-hackers are impacted is through a different response from Nintendo. They are now banning the actual game cartridges those hackers use. This means that gamers who prefer to buy their games used might be at risk of buying banned games. That means that hackers are even less considerate now than when they were just spoiling people’s online fun. And boy, can they do that.
Nintendo always seemed hesitant to bring their family console to the online realm. It makes sense, too. Their demographic includes a very wide range of ages. Online interactions are rarely policed by parents and can be dangerous for children. I take particular issue with the people who are putting porn into Super Mario Odyssey.
In that game, there is a mode where players can hide balloons, then other players can navigate an area to try to find them. On these balloons, there are normally images of the player’s profile picture. These images are limited to the selections Nintendo has provided, unless players modify their system. When they do that, they can use pornographic images for their profile pictures and, as a result, litter the balloon world with imagery that is really not safe for children. It was bad enough when people were glitching to hide balloons in impossible to reach places!
And therein lies another issue. Hacking degrades the online experience of competitive games. Pokemon, for example, are supposed to be special – a result of gaming, training, and participating in events. But hacked Pokemon negate this and also make online competitions unfair. The first Splatoon was notoriously filled with cheaters, and now it seems that the sequel is getting its fair share of unscrupulous players. So much so, one hacker decided to change the top positions on the leaderboard to write a message to Nintendo telling them to fix things. Like the hacker who figured out backup saves, this hacker seems to be using his powers for good.
And the list goes on and on, and I’m not sure I understand the mentality. I mean, I understand theft. I wouldn’t do it as an adult, but I did it as an immature teenager, and in those cases the thief is actually acquiring something. Again, it’s wrong and you shouldn’t do it, but at least there’s a rationale. But why is it fun to ruin games for others? There’s no glory in winning that way, nor is there a challenge. And what is the point in putting porn in a family friendly game? Can these actions really be so satisfying that it is worth ruining the experience of others? Is it easy to discount the victims of their actions, because they all exist as distant and anonymous strangers online?
If that’s the case, than these scummy players really need to grow up. Or, at least go hack another system, because there they are less likely to upset fledgling gamers. A lot of us had the opportunity to grow up in relative innocence as far as gaming was concerned. Can’t we pass the privilege on to the current group of younger gamers?