A joke so nice, it gets banned internationally!
Sunshine Shuffle is a game that tells the tale of several cute animals at a table playing Poker, and it’s real good! The game itself was due to release on PC and Switch this week, and while the former is true, Nintendo has temporarily kept the game from releasing on its eShop due to a “joke” that lead dev Xalavier Nelson, Jr made leading up to release.
Nelson is quite known for his goofy online presence, and as the head of the studio producing Sunshine Shuffle, decided he wanted to bring some of that energy with the lead-up to Sunshine Shuffle’s release. Due to the game’s juxtaposition of cute animals playing Poker, Nelson felt it would be funny to make it a running gag that the game “teaches children how to gamble”, which, to clarify, the game does not do. Despite the intentions of the jokes though, this eventually led to some folks taking his points seriously, to the point where the game is now temporarily banned from being sold on the Nintendo eShop, as well as banned entirely from sale in the Republic of Korea!
Nelson goes on to further explain in a video, attached below
Going off of Nelson’s statements, he says the inspiration for those jokes was to get ahead of the bad-faith criticisms from folks who would see the game featuring cute animals playing Poker, and thus claiming that the game is trying to teach children to gamble. Nelson says that the development studio even tried reworking the game with different rules, ones that didn’t use normal playing cards but ultimately decided that it didn’t work for the gameplay and narrative dynamics we wanted.”
Despite all of this, Nelson remains optimistic about the game’s banning, and rather seeing it as an opportunity to speak with their audience on a genuine, human level
“And, yeah, because [Sunshine Shuffle’s banning] is unusual, because it is eye catching. And because it is, frankly, one of the most stressful things I’ve encountered in my career, this gives me a fantastic opportunity to speak to people as people. And in rare instances where people are reacting negatively or abrasively, sometimes turn that entirely around.”
There’s even a happy ending to this story too because, as of writing, the PR firm representing Sunshine Shuffle announced that the game will be released on the North American eShop on Wednesday, May 31. The game still remains banned in the Republic of Korea.