Friday, September 30

Nintendo Switch Sports Players Are Already F***ing With The Game’s Profanity Filter

Players play volleyball in Nintendo Switch Sports on a sunny day while other players use naughty words to get around the profanity filter.

Image: Nintendo

Three things are true in life: death, taxes, and the persistence of Switch players who will do their damndest to circumvent a new Nintendo game’s profanity filter. The latest victim? Nintendo Switch Sports, which has already succumbed to the whims of the crass. Maybe that’s why everyone’s smashing their TVs.

Nintendo Switch Sports, released last week for the Switch, is the de facto follow-up to Wii Sports, perhaps one of the biggest gaming phenomena ever. Using motion controls, you participate in various sports, like tennis, badminton, soccer, and a sword-fighting mini-game called chambala. Like many other Switch games, Switch Sports features a textual filter.

In the case of Nintendo Switch Sports, the filter bans you from using phrases like “fuck,” “shit,” and “porn,” and other common profane or even remotely suggestive words as your player’s name. If you’re clever, though, you can manipulate the filter to sneak some suggestive phrases by. For instance, while “penis” is among the banned words list, “p3nis” and “pen1s” are not, according to Kotaku’s testing. You can imagine all the ways nefarious players use creative workarounds to get desired words by the game’s filter.

Further, Nintendo Switch Sports allows you to choose a title from a list of more than 30 predetermined words, including “dad,” “mom,” “boy,” “girl,” “cat,” “dog,” “hello,” “fan of,” “guardian,” “former,” “so-called,” “party,” and “thanks.” You can choose one word or mix and match two. You can imagine all the ways nefarious players use creative combinations to get desired phrases by the game’s filter.

Honestly I hope this stuff doesn’t catch on,” one player wrote on the game’s dedicated subreddit. “I want this game to not be an absolute toxic cesspool with names that could be offensive. You see that in other games and [yeah], I hope the Switch Sports community stays wholesome.”

So, about that…

A screen on the Nintendo Switch Sports games reads "this nickname cannot be used.

This is the screen you see when you try to name yourself “Ass.”
Screenshot: Nintendo / Kotaku

This week, one player posted a screenshot of their player, named “my milkers,” with the title “fan of mom.” (This is a clear-as-day reference to the phrase “mommy milkers,” a term whose definition I had to look up in an incognito tab for fear of setting off my work’s safesearch filters. The term is popular among today’s youth.) Another shared a screenshot of a match they played against a player with the name “IPORNI,” noting that Nintendo should ramp up its screening efforts; apparently, putting an “I” on each side gets “porn” by the fitler. Yet another player paired together “intense stamina” with the name “on-milfz.”

Kotaku verified that all of the above words were able to get past the profanity filter on the current version of Nintendo Switch Sports.

Of course, this is the internet in 2022, which means some players are going to push the limits as far as possible and venture into genuinely eyebrow-raising territory. One player, who styled their character to look like the late pop singer Michael Jackson, selected the title “fan of child.” Their name? “Hee Hee.” (Jackson was accused of sexual abuse against minors on multiple occasions.) Another player claimed they played rounds against “Hitler” in chambala and “Bin Laden” in badminton, though did not share any screenshots, video clips, or visual evidence. When Kotaku tried to input these names, “Bin Laden” was approved, while “Hitler” was not. It’s unclear whether or not the player ran into someone who used a workaround; in the eyes of the Switch Sports’ filter, “h1tler” and “hitl3r” are both kosher.

Nintendo did not respond to a request for comment.

Last month, an employee at Nintendo of America filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging employee surveillance, retaliation, and other unfair labor practices. A pair of Kotaku reports further detailed similar instances at both Nintendo of America and at a Joy-Con repair center on the eastern seaboard. You can read both right here.

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