Nintendo appears to subtly support Pride Month with a hidden gems section in the eshop.
It would seem that Nintendo decided to celebrate Pride Month differently this year. Rainbow elements are subtly scattered throughout the store, with a Hidden Gems section dedicated primarily to LGBTQ+ games.
According to Kotaku, Nintendo eShop’s Featured section has a little rainbow flag next to certain gaming titles that have LGBTQ+ elements in their narrative or gameplay. It’s a lovely little detail and a stark contrast to other practices that are typically employed by massive corporations.
Furthermore, Nintendo’s whole Hidden Gems section, which is regularly associated with underrated but fantastic gaming titles, doesn’t mention “Pride” by name in any instance. However, the whole rainbow aesthetics basically spells it out.
Nintendo’s Pride Month offering, though it actually isn’t called that officially, includes some 11 titles, most of which focus entirely on narratives about queer identity. For example, 2017’s Night in The Woods is an adventure game about a pansexual cat who does crime with a gay fox as an accomplice and spends its time hanging out with other queer anthropomorphic animals. There’s also an open-world detective gaming title called Paradise Killer, which features a lot of gender-nonconforming characters.
Other titles, such as A Normal Lost Phone, Steven Universe, Coffee Talk, Bugsnax, and Chicory, are all associated with the Pride attached to the LGBTQ+ identity. However, the question remains: while it’s actually clear what the sale focuses on, why is Nintendo openly avoiding any mentions of Pride Month?
It’s quite possible that we, as the audience, are reading too much into this, but all other major gaming companies, including PlayStation, Xbox, and even Steam, have hoisted up the rainbow colors as an annual sign of their support for the LBGTQ+ community.
There’s a lot to unpack at Nintendo’s decision regarding Pride month and the fact that the company distanced itself from the typical promotional practices during the month of June. Some are seeing this Nintendo action as something hurtful to the LGBTQ+ community.
The company hid the LGBTQ+-oriented games under its Hidden Gems category, thus implying that queerness is something that should be hidden and not celebrated. This is strange, as Nintendo isn’t a company that has been known to condemn the LGBTQ+ community, but it has been known for its lack of LGBTQ+ representation in its catalog.
A smaller part of the gaming world’s LGBTQ+ community is actually commending Nintendo for its approach to Pride. They hint that the lack of rainbow washing is pretty brave in today’s politically-correct climate.
This is especially true as the number of companies accused of rainbow-washing by the same communities they’re trying to support continues to grow. This includes companies such as Electronic Arts, Blizzard Entertainment, and even Ubisoft.
So, Nintendo’s approach to Pride basically comes down to the fact that the company is low-key expressing its support for the LBGTQ+ in the same way its competitors do, but without wearing it as a badge of honor that would otherwise point to the lack of representation in its own gaming line-up.