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Joystiq presents

NY Times on Animal Crossing's jab at music industry

Animal Crossing Fat CatsYou may remember a little game for the DS going by the name of Animal Crossing: Wild World. You may also remember a story we posted last week about one of the game's free-spirited characters subvertly commenting on the state of the music industry. Clearly, your memory is filled with trivia that's largely useless....except when it comes to understanding the context of this article published on the New York Times website.

The author, Tom Zeller Jr., asks whether Nintendo was actually sharing some real social commentary or whether they really just intended it as a winking, tongue-in-cheek joke (which makes the joke look like it's having a seizure). Surely it could be both? Nintendo's marketing robot, Perri Kaplan, says "no real social commentary was intended" and that by "free music", the character really meant "freed from his guitar, free from any constraints." In fact, Ms. Kaplan was quite keen on pointing out that the comment was made by a musically inclined cartoon dog in reference to overweight cartoon cats. See, it's a cats and dogs thing, not a music piracy thing!

Or maybe she's just downplaying the fact that some see this move as Nintendo holding up a sign that says "Hey, we totally support piracy." Yeah, the same Nintendo that stuck with cartridges for millions of years and cranked out limiting proprietary optical discs in order to prevent piracy? That seems unlikely. My take on this is that Nintendo is making fun of the reaction record companies have had to people sharing music online, with the RIAA in particular suing old ladies and kidnapping children left and right because they downloaded music. Don't get me wrong - music piracy isn't acceptable, but with the dubious prices on CDs and the draconian measures adopted by the industry in enforcing their rules, it's funny that they seem to be encouraging piracy more than anything else.

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