Nintendo has yet again solidified it’s a family-friendly image. The game giant recently rejected Edmund McMillen’s The Binding of Isaac for the Nintendo 3DS.
“After a long internal debate Nintendo has decided NOT to allow The Binding of Isaac on the 3DS,” McMillen wrote on Twitter. “As many assumed the reasons were due to the games ‘questionable religious content,’” he added in a second tweet.
Designed by McMillen and Florian Himsl, The Binding of Isaac follows the story of a crying, naked child who is locked in the basement and abused by his mother after she hears what she believes to be instructions from God to purify her son. This modern portrayal of the biblical story of the same name has drawn significant controversy, including a strict 16+ rating in Germany for content said to be potentially blasphemous.
Where is controversy allowed? Even art museums have had trouble in this area. In 2010 the Smithsonian removed David Wojnarowicz’s “A Fire in My Belly,” from an exhibition and Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ” is a well known symbol for questionable religious content.
Stirring up questionable content is a conscious decision, so Nintendo’s rejection should come as no surprise. What the rejection really shows us is that the only haven for controversial material may be online – Steam continues to profit from The Binding of Isaac. In this sense, we should be grateful that videogames are digital, paintings and sculptures will never have this opportunity.