As far as Gita and I were concerned, only one video game news story happened this week: Bowsette. We declared on Twitter earlier this week that we’d do a whole episode of Kotaku XP devoted to her. We didn’t realise until yesterday that we needed a full hour to talk about her. If you’d like, you can call this week’s episode of Kotaku XP “The Bowsette Gazette”.
Earlier this week, Japanese news website J-Cast News reported that Nintendo had replied to their request for a comment on Bowsette. Nintendo’s reply was ice cold: “We refrain from commenting about internet posts.”
While discussing Bowsette for an hour with Gita, I decided that it would be utterly ridiculous for Nintendo to ignore this character any longer.
As I say in our discussion, I’ve been on the internet for a long time. I had a LiveJournal in the 1990s. I had a MySpace and a Friendster. I’ve used AIM and ICQ. I was already an adult back when nobody without a PhD in anthropology had ever used the word “meme” in a sentence.
I’ve seen a lot of internet.
I’ve never seen internet like Bowsette.
The stampede of love for this character is surreal. The explosion of creativity we’ve witnessed this week is phenomenal. Creators are riffing on and revising each other’s work. Almost everyone is attributing each other. Artists are disagreeing with other artists’ interpretations in wonderfully cordial ways.
Famous Japanese manga artists are drawing her. The guy who drew One Punch Man drew her. Thousands of artists have turned her into a character I personally now consider as real as any official Nintendo character.
To most efficiently bottle this zeitgeist, we broke from our usual discussion format. I searched “Bowsette OR クッパ姫 min_faves:5000" on Twitter. This returned only tweets with more than 5000 likes, which reference the character’s English or Japanese names.
Click play and hang out with us for one hour as we scroll through every single Bowsette tweet with more than 5000 likes. There’s a lot of them. Our conversation takes a lot of twists and turns. We only have to yell at two haters.
I remain hopeful that if this avalanche continues, Nintendo will pay the original artist and bring the character into the canon. If that sounds impossible to you, behold this one word: Waluigi. Nintendo let Camelot make Waluigi simply because Wario needed a doubles partner for tennis. Shigeru Miyamoto did not stop Waluigi from existing. That has to count for something.