Brands these days tweet like they’re your pals, replacing yesteryear’s buzzwords and obvious ads with lackadaisical prose meant to mimic millennial affectations. Sometimes they go too far. Case in point, the official Samurai Shodown Twitter account probably should have reeled it in a bit last week to avoid having to make an apology today, not to mention sparking a new skirmish in the ongoing culture war.
It started simply enough. As more and more players celebrated Samurai Shodown’s next DLC character, Iroha—more specifically, the large amount of T&A she adds to the roster—the official Twitter account began retweeting screenshots taken from her reveal trailer. Predictably, most of these images focused on her butt rather than anything she’s capable of doing during a match. This was shortly followed by a tweet from the Samurai Shodown account itself, responding to the community’s reactions to Iroha’s reveal: “We all horny on main tonight.”
Samurai Shodown developer SNK’s fighting games tend to be pretty horny, even in a genre rife with half-naked women. The studio’s pseudo-mascot Mai Shiranui is almost always defined by the way her ample cleavage bounces and sways during fights. But Iroha is basically Sex Appeal: The Character. She is a subservient, scantily clad maid, a walking fetish if there ever was one. The Samurai Shodown community generally agrees that her purpose is so-called fanservice above all else. That players would get all hot and bothered by Iroha’s pixelated ass didn’t come as a surprise, but it was strange to see an official SNK account so explicitly cater to those tastes, especially when it came to light that the posts made female players uncomfortable.
It’s no secret that the fighting game community has a problem with women, and this latest incident gave the scene a lot to consider over the weekend. By the time Monday rolled around the offending tweets had disappeared from the Samurai Shodown account’s timeline, replaced by an apology:
In a normal society, this would have been the end of things. But because everything is now part of the larger culture war, SNK’s apology became the latest rallying cry for reactionary gamers looking for examples of “cultural Marxism” and “SJW ideology” infecting the medium. This outrage manifested itself in two distinct ways: anger at the women (longtime fighting game players with a vested interest in the community) for bringing up their discomfort, and backlash against SNK itself. Much of the latter settled on senior programmer Jim Bulmer due to his history of speaking out on social justice issues. Once it was found that Bulmer had previously reached out to those women with an apology, the chuds came out in full force. Bulmer has since deactivated his account.
SNK has not responded to a request for comment.
For as much as a vocal minority of gamers treat women as interlopers, this whole Iroha situation has been a gigantic clusterfuck of non-fighting game players acting like they have authority over women who have actively engaged with the community for years. Many of the accounts responsible for the harassment offer zero indication that they’ve ever put their quarter up at the arcade, or even used a fightstick. That’s not to say you have to be Daigo Umehara to have an opinion on something that happens in fighting games, but the hypocrisy is stark. It’s a clear indication that none of the concern trolling amounts to anything but fear of women being allowed a seat at the table.
SNK’s social media team got too horny on its Samurai Shodown account. This made some folks uncomfortable. SNK removed the posts and apologized. And now the next few days are going to be full of idiots who probably couldn’t have picked Iroha out of a lineup before now telling important members of the fighting game community that they don’t belong. Please, let me off this ride.