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Nintendo apologizes for Native American caricature

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate callback to 1982 Game & Watch title will see animation changed as company says it "does not represent our company values today"

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is awash in references to Nintendo's past, but not all of the memories it brings up are happy ones. As reported by Eurogamer, Nintendo has said it will make some changes to the game after depictions of Native American caricatures caught the attention of some viewers of a recent Nintendo Direct video.

Nintendo's promotional clip included shots of Mr. Game & Watch, a fighter in the game whose animation is largely based on images from the company's 1980s line of Game & Watch LCD handheld devices. One of his attacks features the character wearing a feather from his head and swinging a torch at his opponent. It is pulled from the Game & Watch title Fire Attack, in which users play a mallet-wielding cowboy protecting a wooden fort from caricatured Native Americans in feathers and headdresses trying to burn it down.

The use of such imagery hurt some people, and Nintendo told Eurogamer today that it had already been intending to remove it from the game.

"Nintendo has been planning to distribute an update for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that removes the feather from the silhouette of Mr. Game & Watch," a Nintendo spokesperson said. "The original game on which this depiction of the character is based was released more than three decades ago and does not represent our company values today.

"We sincerely apologise that this change was not noticed in our marketing material and are continuing our work to make Super Smash Bros. Ultimate an experience that is both welcoming and fun for everyone."

Mr. Game & Watch has used the same torch attack in the series since 2001's Super Smash Bros. Melee, but previous versions of the game used a version of the animation omitting the feather.

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Brendan Sinclair avatar
Brendan Sinclair: Brendan joined in 2012. Based in Toronto, Ontario, he was previously senior news editor at GameSpot.
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