Nintendo Switch Adds TERF To List Of Banned Words

Nintendo has added the word "TERF" to the list of words users can't include in their account names.

By Jason Collins | Published

nintendo switch

In the latest update for its handheld console Nintendo Switch, Nintendo has decided to add a few more “bad words” to its ban list to keep the online experience on its platform safe and family-friendly. As reported by Kotaku, in addition to slurs, rude language, and various misspellings of Hitler, Nintendo added the word “TERF”—an abbreviation of trans-exclusionary radical feminist—to the bad word list for its Nintendo Switch console.

The reasons for adding this specific term are not well-known or clearly defined, but many believe that the inclusion of “TERF” to the bad word list may hint towards the release of the Nintendo Switch version of Hogwarts Legacy—a controversial, but magical gaming title that features transgender characters in its narrative.

For context, Hogwarts Legacy has been at the center of massive controversies over J.K. Rowling’s anti-trans commentary, which resulted in trans activists calling for the game boycott. The boycott proved to be unsuccessful, but the online community and activism-prone individuals rarely forget those who did them wrong.

So, it’s entirely possible that Nintendo opted to add the term as a preventative measure to someone misusing the game for its own identity politics agenda, thus maintaining the family-friendly environment it has built for its gaming platform.

This isn’t all that surprising; Nintendo regularly maintains a “bad word” list that prevents Switch users from making user accounts that reference phrases that might be considered offensive, harmful, or controversial. Unlike typical updates, which happen pretty regularly, the updates for the bad word list for Nintendo Switch are scarcer but also quieter, as they mostly take place without user knowledge.

In 2020, words such as “nazi,” “Slave,” “ACAB,” “KKK,” and several others made the list, along with additional slurs, rude language, and “Hitler”—along with various misspellings of the latter.

It’s important to remember that this isn’t just a list of words Nintendo deems bad. The list is specifically aimed at Nintendo Switch user account names; it contains every word related to controversial topics that aren’t appropriate for games that are often played by minors.

So, companies such as Nintendo, and many other big names in the industry, have to remove anything that’s remotely associated with any controversial topic, to avoid lawsuits. Nintendo fosters a pretty family-friendly environment, which extends to Nintendo Switch.

Something similar happened a few days ago in World of Warcraft when fandom backlashed against Blizzard over a quest containing forceful impregnation. Does anyone remember 2003’s Manhunt? That particular title obviously hasn’t aged well.

Words, unfortunately, change their meaning, and terms that would normally seem fine quickly become offensive, so Nintendo and other developers and publishers have to stay on top of things to protect the demographics of gamers who might be harmed by offensive content.