Nintendo has firmly denied that the joke in Paper Mario: Color Splash is about anything other than Watergate.
Nintendo has issued a statement following what it calls the misinterpretation of one of its jokes in Paper Mario: Color Splash. Depression Quest developer Zoe Quinn tweeted two screenshots of the game, taken from a YouTube video, which she thought were references to the GamerGate controversy, writing "what the fuck did I ever do to you, Nintendo, that y'all had to make my suffering into a fucking joke."
Several people were quick to point out that the two screenshots, when viewed on the video, were actually separated by a substantial period of time, and that much of the context was removed due to the way the images were presented. Some argued that it was a reference to the Watergate controversy, while others voiced their intentions to boycott Nintendo over the perceived GamerGate link, thinking the content was too specific to be a coincidence. Nintendo firmly denied that it was in reference to anything other than Watergate in a statement provided to Eurogamer, which you can read in full below:
"As many have observed, when viewed in its entirety the Nintendo Treehouse: Live segment for Paper Mario: Color Splash from E3 includes two jokes separated by commentary and gameplay that have no relation to each other. One joke has to do with Watergate, while the other is a nod to the Fungi Fun Guys from Mario Party 8.
"It was brought to our attention today that these two jokes have been spliced together and misconstrued as a crude reference to an online hate campaign. While we typically do not speak on localisation matters, we feel the need to confirm that these jokes are not linked in the game and were never intended to be linked.
"Nintendo firmly rejects the harassment of individuals in any way and was surprised to learn that its gameplay was misinterpreted in this manner."