There’s a lot of drama happening in the world of gaming’s perverted anime fans. I use that phrase with the utmost respect for that community, as they are likely responsible for funding Trails of Cold Steel localizations. Anyway, here’s the deal: Sony is now requiring limitations on lewd content in games it publishes. Normally, that’s not the biggest deal, but it seems to be affecting Japanese developers a lot, impacting game releases in and out of the States. At the same time, many of the impacted games are appearing on the Nintendo Switch, totally unaltered. While I don’t have a horse in this race, it is worth pointing out that Nintendo suddenly being the anime tiddie platform is pretty wild.
For the longest time in video games, Nintendo was the company most well-known for rampant and sometimes bizarre censorship. Back in the 80s and 90s, when video games were still considered toys for kids and Japan was still scary to curmudgeonly old conservatives and their ilk, almost everything was censored. This not only included sexual imagery, but also iconic references to things like religion, with even hospital crosses being removed from games like EarthBound. Meanwhile, Sony’s PlayStation platform became known as the more adult-friendly console, with plenty of games featuring intense violence and dominant sexual themes releasing left and right.
That reputational split continued until quite recently. While Nintendo would eventually court games like No More Heroes, it was still rare to see Japanese cheesecake like the sort contained in certain visual novels appear anywhere but PlayStation platforms. If you wanted to play a corny, horny Japanese video game, chances are you were doing so on a PSP, the Vita, or sometimes even the PS3 or PS4. But now that is shifting significantly. And a lot of Sony diehards (who intersect with this specific niche naturally) are super upset.
Compounding the issue is Nintendo seemingly quietly taking this opportunity to one-up Sony, offering games like Nekopara without the Sony-branded censorship. Many of these games don’t even feature explicit nudity (on consoles anyway), but suggestive images have been altered to be less overt. Some games, such as the infamous Omega Labyrinth Z, were even canceled after Sony’s change in policy. But recently, the matter came up again with a new Omega Labyrinth game coming back for another round.
There’s a key factor at play here. This game is actually being split into two versions, with two different titles. On the PlayStation 4, D3 Publisher will be releasing a game called Labyrinth Life. Meanwhile, the game is dropping on Nintendo Switch as Omega Labyrinth Life. The omega symbol, because of course it is, is stylized to look like boobs. Because that’s what this series is about. Omega Labyrinth is a turn-based roguelike sort of deal, and it’s all about surviving through the power of boobs. This involves things like spicy illustrations, touch-based minigames, and a literal boob-based rock-paper-scissors. I don’t know how any of that works, and frankly I’m good not having that knowledge.
Anyway, if you check out information on the game, there is actually a comparison chart D3 Publisher provided that shows the differences between the two games. In the PlayStation version, pretty much everything beyond the basics is outright removed. Content gets skipped, altered, or is just not present. Purists concerned about censorship will undoubtedly be furious about this, but that’s the way the cookie is currently crumbling.
How did we get to this point? Nintendo has always been the stalwart family brand, with games like Omega Labyrinth almost never showing up. But lately, we’ve seen significant changes to what Nintendo means. It’s truly for everybody now, from kids raring to go for Mario Kart rounds, to those of you jonesing to crawl some dungeons with the power of growing boobs. Meanwhile, PlayStation, the video game house of hardcore, has pulled back on those reins big time. In an era during which Microsoft is teaming up with the other hardware makers, cross-play is becoming a regular thing, and Google is getting ready to throw down with its own platform, perhaps the strangest development in this new gaming industry is how much smut you can access via Nintendo.