Is Nintendo about To Piss Off the Bible Belt?

Illustration for article titled Is Nintendo about To Piss Off the Bible Belt?

For years, hardline Christians have been calling Pokémon evil. One questionable individual even called the character "Oriental demons".


Now, it's not a new Pocket Monsters that could be their next target. Nintendo is working on a new Brain Age—one that features a demonic doctor, horns, red face, and all.

While the Pokémon complaints seem downright batty (okay, they're based in evolution, I geddit), I could see people up in arms over this upcoming Brain Age. I grew up in the Bible Belt, surrounded by folks who extremely strong beliefs. That's fine—people can believe whatever they want. It's their right. But certainly, Nintendo realizes that its new Brain Age, tentatively dubbed Oni Tore ("Demon Training") could very well raise eyebrows in certain parts of the U.S.

(Granted, there are many types of Christians—even various types in the Bible Belt. Not everybody thinks the same.)

Nintendo doesn't make games for the U.S. The entire company is Japanese, and at the end of the day, Nintendo is making games for Japan. This is not a bad thing. Rather, I'd argue that this is a very good thing. Nintendo is staying true to itself, and thankfully, players all over the world can enjoy its games. There is a wonderful universal quality about them that transcends borders.

Yet, it really feels like Nintendo did not ask Nintendo of America for its two cents about a game that attempts to tap players' "working memory" with a Satanic-looking character. There's mumbo jumbo and, literally, a foreign devil.


Inadvertently, Oni Tore plays into fears some have about Japan—namely, that its people are pagan demons. These fears were evident in the weeks and months following last year's terrible earthquake in which individuals like C. Peter Wagner said the country was "cursed". Obviously, these types of comments are out of mainstream Christian thought.

In Japan, the "oni" character is slightly different from Satan, and most folks will look at Oni Tore as a humorous spin on Brain Age. I know I will. In the West, I believe most other gamers will, too.


But, don't be surprised if this game doesn't get inaccurately pegged as the work of the devil. I won't.

(Top photo: Roger Alford | AP/Nintendo)



It's a bit simplistic to say Nintendo are entirely Japanese and only make games for Japan. They have subsidiaries around the world that are part of the Nintendo company. Yes, they all report to Nintendo Japan, at the end of the day, but it still makes them a worldwide company. And not all their games are catered just for the Japanese. They consider world-wide trends when developing their strategies for console releases and content in games.