The Dark Side Of Nintendo’s Miiverse

The Dark Side Of Nintendo’s Miiverse

Miiverse, Nintendo’s social network, is a pretty kid friendly place… most of the time.

The Miiverse is a social network that you can post to from a Nintendo Wii U or 3Ds. It’s designed like any other social network — users can post little notes, game tips, or drawings that will be seen by players around the world, and others can “Yeah” these posts (Nintendo’s version of “Liking” something), as well as comment on the posts. Nintendo strictly moderates all Miiverse content, but all the same, every so often you’ll catch a glimpse of things that aren’t supposed to be there. Suggestive things, sexual things — the sorts of things that don’t mix well with Nintendo’s family-friendly vibe.

Those types of posts have seen a resurgence along with the release of the multiplayer shooter Splatoon. That’s probably not surprising — Splatoon stars little squid-girls and squid-boys, and tentacles have significant sexual connotations in nerd culture. Not long after the game was announced, porn of the squid kids was floating online — it was only a matter of time before some of this bled into the Miiverse. I’ve seen at least a few players who populate the Splatoon plaza sharing posts that sexualize the game’s characters, who are supposed to be children:

There are other Miiverse posts like this floating around, unsurprisingly. Some Splatoon players are worried that if the community can’t keep things clean, Splatoon’s Miiverse integration will end up like Swapnote — a service that Nintendo sunsetted after it was allegedly used by a sexual predator targeting children. Thankfully, the moderation team is managing to keep the Splatoon Miiverse mostly fun and safe-for-work.

In the past, Miiverse moderation efforts have not always been enough — some people see the strict nature of the Miiverse as a challenge to overcome. Back in 2014, a Miiverse user named The Bard started a movement known as “Miiverse After Dark.” The idea was to bomb Miiverse communities with lewd pictures of Nintendo characters, during times when the moderators were less likely to be online. According to the community-written Miiverse Wiki, these posts would sometimes spawn competitions with other Miiverse users to see who could draw the sexual image that would get the most comments.

Video: Miiversian Daisyexe

Other users joined in on the plan, but the Bard in particular gained infamy thanks to Miiverse After Dark. That attention came with a cost, however. It wasn’t long before his account got banned. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a number of other Bard accounts took its place. Some claimed to be the same person, and continued to post similar suggestive images with accounts that all had similar icons, presumably in an attempt to convince others of their legitimacy:

The Dark Side Of Nintendo’s Miiverse

Some were clearly copycats trying to ride the wave of attention. Whether or not these accounts belonged to the original Bard who started the trend, as of this writing there are over a dozen Bard accounts that have been banned on Miiverse for posting sexual images — you can see still see some posts, but all actual user information has been wiped:

The Dark Side Of Nintendo’s Miiverse

If some of these accounts belong to the actual original Bard, he very well may be the most banned person on Miiverse — Miiverse Wiki users estimate that he’s been banned at least 40 times, though I suspect that’s a bit of an exaggeration. In one Miiverse post, a Bard user said that he was planning on making a Wii U game in an attempt to gain a verified Miiverse account. The hope was that Nintendo would not ban a developer, which would allow him to further Miiverse after Dark:

The Dark Side Of Nintendo’s Miiverse

Whether or not the user actually went through with that plan is unclear, but what I can say with certainty is that — surprise! — the account he posted the plot in was banned. I looked for ways of contacting Bard, but being banned on Miiverse means that others cannot view the banned account anymore, even if the posts stay up. Plus, it’s impossible to tell which accounts are the real deal and which ones are the copycats. There’s a rumour that Bard, the real one, left a long while ago, anyway:

The Dark Side Of Nintendo’s Miiverse

For the time being, there are no concentrated efforts like Miiverse after Dark going on, though there are still Bard accounts here and there. But as we’ve seen with Splatoon, people don’t wait around for a hashtag to try to sneak sexual material onto Nintendo’s wholesome social network. Happy and wholesome though the Miiverse may be, it will likely always have a dark side.

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