Nintendo has issued a statement in response to the discovery of a racial slur in media copies of the DS game Animal Crossing: Wild World, and they are predictably both very regretful and not really responsible.
The uproar began with Stephen Totilo of MTV Multiplayer discovered that the pre-played copy of Animal Crossing: Wild World sent to him by Nintendo featured a sheep named Baabara who welcomed him with the phrase, "How are you, n---a?" and made other conversational use of the word as well. The existence of the n-bomb was quickly verified by Kotaku, and very soon the obvious question was being asked: How could Nintendo let that kind of thing get out in an official PR package?
Nintendo has since issued a statement apologizing for the oversight, as well as subtly shifting the blame onto technology run wild. "Previously played copies of the 2005 DS game Animal Crossing: Wild World were sent to 14 members of the media to demonstrate the ability of players to transfer items to the new Animal Crossing: City Folk for Wii," the statement said. "We regret that an offensive phrase was included without our knowledge via a wireless function that allows user-generated catchphrases to spread virally from one game to the next. This version is limited to 14 copies created for media review purposes only and is not available at retailers. We sincerely apologize for the incident and are working with media who received the game cards to return them to Nintendo immediately."
Many people, here and elsewhere, have questioned what the big deal is, since the phrased isn't actually coded into the game. Obviously I didn't anticipate a need to explain this, but the simple fact is that this isn't your 14-year-old brother training your game to say something stupid; this is Nintendo sending a product to game journalists as part of an official public relations campaign. It has to be held to a higher standard. And when it's not, it reflects extremely poorly on the company and its products.
Source: MTV Multiplayer