Nintendo recap: Alleged sexual harassment at Nintendo of America and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe LAN mode discovered

Nintendo headquarters building
Nintendo headquarters building in Kyoto, Japan. (Image credit: Wikipedia)

Hello and welcome to this week's Nintendo recap. It wasn't all good news in the last few days, as we learned of some alleged sexual harassment and gender inequality issues experienced by Nintendo of America contractors. While it's uncomfortable to talk about, it's important to know what's happening with our favorite company. 

In other news, the internet exploded when it was discovered that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has a LAN party mode that allows up to 12 players to play together locally. We also know that information regarding Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is incoming this weekend. Additionally, anyone who loves quick party games with cute characters will love Kirby's latest game. There's even more to talk about, so let's get started. 

Nintendo of America testers allegedly faced years of sexual harrassment

Nintendo Logo

(Image credit: Nintendo)

It's never fun talking about serious workplace allegations, but even Nintendo of America (NoA) isn't free of them. Nintendo is already dealing with a few different labor complaints brought forward earlier this year, but now a new claim of long-standing workplace sexual harassment has come to the forefront. 

As reported by Kotaku, NoA testers allegedly faced years of sexual harassment with several current and former employees sharing their experiences. Things have been made complicated since NoA mostly contracts out testing rather than having full-time employees or "red badges" do this work. 

Hannah (not real name) worked as a testing employee from NoA-contracted Aerotek (now known as Aston Carter) and experienced several "inappropriate incidents" in the 10 years she tested for Nintendo. She eventually left because she felt the company wasn't protecting her from these negative experiences that "impacted her career." During her time there, she was very open about her sexuality as a lesbian, but that didn't stop male employees from flirting with her.

At one point, Hannah reported inappropriate posts in a work chat from a full-time Nintendo employee and was told the full-time employee would be assigned sexual harassment training, but nothing else would be done because he wasn't from the same company. 

Even though Nintendo doesn't release the number of contracted workers it uses, the "percentage of women contractors in testing hovered around 10% [at NoA]," as reported by teams. Things aren't much better when it comes to full-time NoA employees, among which women only make up 37%. Even worse, only 23.7% of Nintendo managers are women globally. With such a lopsided gender ratio within the workplace, it's not surprising that things within the company aren't equal. 

In addition to harassment, women at Nintendo have also reported pay and advancement disparities. Earlier this year, we reported on how difficult it is for NoA workers to get promoted to the coveted full-time "red badge" status. But according to one contractor who worked on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it's much harder for women. 

Doug Bowser, President and CEO of Nintendo of America

Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America President and CEO. (Image credit: Nintendo)

“Your chance [of being converted to full time] was probably worse as a girl. It’s usually guys [who get promoted]. They’re usually all friends. They watch the Super Bowl together.” As another female employee who worked at the department in 2017 succinctly said, "[Product testing] really felt like a frat house sometimes." Feeling excluded and trapped without the ability to advance for arbitrary reasons like gender is unfortunately not new in the gaming industry, as we've seen with reports surrounding the Activision Blizzard lawsuit.

With how difficult it is to advance, Nintendo contractors must make the right connections and have a good relationship with their bosses. However, this is a problem if your manager is one of the people harassing you. As reported by Kotaku, product testing manager, Melvin Forrest, made "inappropriate advances" toward many female employees to the point that they warned each other about him. 

On Tuesday, Nintendo of America president, Doug Bowser sent out an internal message saying that the company is looking into these claims. 

“We have strict policies designed to protect our employees and associates from inappropriate conduct and expect full compliance with these policies by all who work for or with us. We have and will always investigate any allegations we become aware of, and we are actively investigating these most recent claims.”

It seems that Nintendo has a lot it needs to do in order to rectify workplace problems in regards to both career advancement and sexual harassment. In an email to employees in 2021, Bowser reacted to Activision Blizzard's harassment reports calling them "distressing and disturbing." If he really stands by his sentiments, then Nintendo must work hard to reach that standard.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe LAN ability for up to 12 players discovered

Mario Kart Tour Boweser Throwing Shell Mario

(Image credit: Nintendo)

You might recall that last week I reported on how the 28-year-old SNES game, Punchout!!, had a secret multiplayer mode that someone had only just discovered. Well, now we know that Nintendo also created a lesser-known LAN mode for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe that allows up to 12 players to play together. You simply press the L and R buttons while on the main menu and then press in the left joystick to switch to LAN mode, as explained by @Mankalor on Twitter. 

The internet erupted with this news, with many people wondering why Nintendo had been holding out on this information. However, the thing is, Nintendo hadn't been stowing this knowledge away at all. In 2017, the now-ended Nintendo Minute show hosted by Kit and Krista created a video discussing the LAN Party function. On top of that, Nintendo even has a support page regarding it on their website. None of it was secret, it just wasn't as easy to use until recently with the launch of the Switch OLED

To be clear, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe LAN play requires the use of multiple Switch consoles to allow 12 players to race together locally. This makes sense since a local game can only support up to four players on one Switch. Imagine trying to cram split-screen views for 12 people on one display!

Players also need a LAN adapter and an Ethernet connection. Now that the Switch OLED has a LAN port built right into the dock, it's far more doable on the newest Switch iteration.

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet news incoming

Pokemon Scarlet Violet Starters 3d

(Image credit: The Pokémon Company)

The Pokémon World Championships is taking place this weekend, with hundreds of professional contestants competing. But during the event's opening ceremony, it was revealed that an update centering around Pokémon Scarlet and Violet and the future of the Pokémon Trading Card Game will come during the closing ceremony (thanks, IGN).

The closing ceremony takes place at 8:00 a.m. PT / 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 21. So be ready to tune in and learn about some exciting news surrounding the Pokémon games

Kirby's Dream Buffet launches to sweet praise

Kirby's Dream Buffet: Blue Kirby with hamburger hat.

(Image credit: iMore)

Back in March, we were already spoiled with the perfection that is Kirby and the Forgotten Land, but now a fun little multiplayer game starring the pink puffball has also been released: Kirby's Dream Buffet. Up to four players compete against each other while racing through locations and attempting to eat the most fruit on the way to a goal. The more food you eat, the larger your Kirby becomes, making it easier for him to bump opponents out of his way. There are four different modes, with the Grand Prix providing random minigames between races to help even the scores. 

While not blowing up on the charts, Kirby's Dream Buffet was the second best-selling game on the Switch eShop at the time of writing. Additionally, of the sparse reviews available, it had received mostly positive responses with a 76 Metacritic score. At only $15 for the game, it's worth checking out if you're interested. 

I'm currently in the middle of writing my review for this sweet little game, and it should be up next week, so check back for that!

Hogwarts Legacy for Nintendo Switch will release later than other versions

Hogwart Legacy Student Doing Magic

(Image credit: WB Games)

Earlier this year, we learned that Hogwarts Legacy would be coming to all major platforms, including PC, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, PS5, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. However, we saw no imagery for how the game looks on Nintendo's handheld, leading many to wonder if the graphics will be greatly descaled compared to other versions or if it will use cloud streaming

This last week, it was announced that this wizarding game will be delayed until early 2023 and that the Switch version will release even later after that. As stated in the official post, "The team is excited for you to play [the Switch version], but we need a little more time to deliver the best possible game experience."

Wave Race 64 comes to Nintendo Switch Online Expansion Pack

The latest title to join the list of N64 games in the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack is none other than the classic jet ski racer, Wave Race 64. It released as part the subscription service on Friday. While not as refined as modern racing games, Wave Race 64 is a beloved 64 game that was a common stay in many households. 

Advance Wars 1+2: ReBoot Camp gets maintenance update, could mean launch is soon

Advance Wars Delay

(Image credit: Nintendo)

You might recall that Advance Wars 1+2: ReBoot Camp was supposed to launch this last spring, but then was delayed indefinitely due to "recent world events," those events being the Russo-Ukrainian War. Considering some of the similarities to what was going on in the world, Nintendo didn't think it right to release the strategic war game. But that doesn't mean Nintendo has forgotten about it.

According to @NinStatusBot, which reports whenever a change or update has taken place on a Switch game, Advance Wars received a maintenance update on Aug. 16. This has led several people to speculate if Nintendo intends to announce the new release date any time soon. Perhaps the game will even launch within the next couple of months. 

There's been no official word from Nintendo on the subject at the time of writing. However, I'll keep my ear to the ground and will report if that changes. 

What Switch games to play this weekend

If you love the idea of a darker and far more twisted version of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, then you really ought to check out Cult of the Lamb, which released earlier this week. The game blends elements of rogue-like action along with life simulator mechanics with an adorable animal art style. However, the plot centers around leading a cult and manipulating your cute followers. It's already pulled in 1 million players across all platforms and is definitely worth checking out. 

Of course, as mentioned previously, Kirby's Dream Buffet was also released, and is a fun little game with quick races and minigames for you to compete against others. You can play locally in solo or two-player or connect online for four-player races. 

Until next time.

- Rebecca Spear 

Rebecca Spear
Gaming Editor

Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.