Sunshine Shuffle temporarily banned from Switch for a prank

the court for sun Deck, a new indie game coming out this week, it’s really good. You play as one of several cute animals, together in a boat, playing poker. As you play, you learn that, as in reserve dogs, said that the cute animals just did a robbery together. Poker, animals and crime – a compelling combination for a promising indie game that was supposed to be out this week. The problem is that some people won’t be able to play it for a few days, because a rather funny joke by the game developer got a bit out of hand.

Xalavier Nelson, Jr., who runs the development label Strange Scaffold games, is known professionally for his wacky storytelling games (An airport for foreigners currently run by dogs, Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator) and his occasional tongue-in-cheek online presence where he does his best in the service of extremely corny jokes. (Consider this thread of 93 tweetsa story of furry dogs at the service of a horrible, horrible pun).

One of Nelson’s last jokes was about sunshine mix. As he explains in a video, he settled on a recurring gag that the game “teaches kids to gamble” because of the combination of cute animals and poker, which, to be clear, the game doesn’t do. Unfortunately, this meant that at the last moment, people started taking it seriously; the result was that while sunshine mix It’s already available on Steam and, it’s currently not available on the Nintendo eShop in North America, and according to Nelson, it’s banned entirely in the Republic of Korea.

Learning that his game was banned from its biggest potential market on the eve of its release “wasn’t that fun,” Nelson tells Polygon in a phone call after 24 hours of frantic communication and also many destiny 2. “And then a few hours later, it was the funniest fucking thing in the universe.”

According to Nelson, the momentum of his gag was getting ahead of possible bad faith criticism of sun Deck, where people saw the game out of context and said that it was disgusting to have a game with cute animal games, because it would teach children to play. Nelson even says that Strange Scaffold even tried to come up with a new card game that didn’t use normal cards, but it “didn’t work for the gameplay and narrative dynamics we wanted.” So poker stuck, because it worked better and because it serves as a tribute to Poker night in inventoryTelltale Games’ 2010 narrative poker game, now delisted.

Through it all, Nelson has remained affable, having faith in the publishing process. and he keeps making the joke that got him into this mess. He’s also making lemonade, using it as an opportunity to connect with people, including those who have the wrong idea about his game.

“Someone on TikTok said, ‘I won’t even look at a game with microtransactions and loot boxes, I’m glad to see Nintendo shut it down,’” says Nelson. “And I said, ‘We don’t have microtransactions or loot boxes, checkmate, you have to buy our game.'” about playing games with him, even as he remains sincere about not trying to fool anyone.

“I think a lot of people want to be treated with dignity, and there are a lot of incentive structures in our world to remove that human dignity and reduce people to utilitarian concepts, rather than human beings with souls, experiences, and ideals,” Nelson says. . “And yes, because [Sunshine Shuffle’s banning] it is unusual, because it draws attention. And because it’s, quite frankly, one of the most stressful things I’ve ever encountered in my career, this gives me a fantastic opportunity to talk to people as people. And in the rare cases where people react in a negative or abrasive way, sometimes it changes that completely.”

There is also a happy ending: after our conversation, an email from the public relations firm that represents sunshine mix announced that the game will launch on the North American eShop on Wednesday, May 31. Still banned in the Republic of Korea.

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