You can only sanitise the world so much. If subject to the film board, Earth would certainly get an 18 certification. To their credit, Nintendo consistently provides fun for all ages while never slipping into completely antiseptic Disney terrain. Games that may at first seem to have been designed solely for children often end up gaining quite large adult audiences. And sometimes some of the appeal that these games hold for us old folks is that we can teach them how to talk dirty.
Nintendo's brilliant Animal Crossing franchise –life simulation games starring anthropomorphic animals – makes working hard to pay off one's mortgage strangely fun. Part of this enjoyment comes from the amount of interactivity built into the game. Most characters that you encounter will invent nicknames for you and use them in phrases like, "Did you have a nice morning, pally?" If you're lucky, at some point they'll also say something like "I think I say 'pally' too much. Can you think of something cooler for me to say?" This is where the interactivity comes in. Oh yes, we can think of something cooler for you to say...
When one of these more colourful replacement phrases splashed across the screen of eleven year-old Khloe Leslie's copy of the game, her mother was rather upset to say the least. Whitney, a character present in many Animal Crossing towns, told Leslie "I think calling someone fucking cow is PRET-ty harsh." Indeed it is, Whitney! We always knew that Whitney was not to be trusted, but honestly expected better manners from a posh wolf like her. Such language may be acceptable from common amphibians like Camofrog, or even rocker dogs like K.K. Slider, but out of the mouth of a lupine lady like Whitney it is a fucking disgrace.
Due to a ten-character length constraint on the phrases that one can teach the likes of Whitney, we were forced to shorten some of our favourite abuses into possible names for Web 2.0 applications. Since it is uncertain when venture capitalists are likely to fund Cockgobblr, we'll just have to be happy with it spewing forth from Camofrog's potty-mouth for now.
By Dave Knapik
Image taken from zimpenfish's Flickr photostream.