Nintendo Takes Down YouTube Video of Fan Showing Animal Crossing Glitches

Most videos published by Shesez are cheery and fun, as the gleeful YouTube creator glides a free-floating camera in, around, and under the pixels and polygons of gaming’s most beloved spaces, unpacking the ways developers stitch together their fragile worlds in a popular series called Boundary Break. In his latest video, Shesez barely held back tears.

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The thing to remember about companies is that they exist to make money. Shesez brings up the point that Boundary Break shines a light on the developers who work so hard to make the games we love. It’s great and I truly appreciate that. Companies do not. Developers who gain celebrity or superstar status can leverage that to ask for raises, which hurts their bottom line. Back in the old days, game companies used to force developers to use pseudonyms in the game credits in order to prevent players from knowing who made the game they’re enjoying. Thankfully, that practice is long dead.

Try to think of the names of individual developers you know at Nintendo. I can think of Miyamoto, Iwata, Eiji Aonuma (Zelda), and Yoshiaki Koizumi (Mario Galaxy, Odyssey) off the top of my head. Four people, out of hundreds who worked on these games. Why don’t I know more? I know the names of plenty of actors and musicians. Why don’t I know more about the people who made the media that I objectively spend the most time on? Because Nintendo and other game companies fear that their workers will cost them extra money if they become too well known. They’re not made available for interviews; they don’t show up in Nintendo Directs; they’re not allowed to post interesting “game dev secrets” on Twitter, even for games that have released long ago. They are paid at salary rates and rarely get bonuses when a game does well (but can be fired when it does poorly). Worker protections are necessary because game development is work.

I’m not surprised that Shesez got a copyright strike. Disappointed, but not surprised. Even if the strike gets rescinded in this case, the fact remains that the things we enjoy exist at the pleasure of profit-hungry companies and can get taken away at a moment’s notice if you do not sufficiently flagellate yourself to prove that you improve profits. The uncertainty and fear that generates is a feature of capitalism, not a bug. Remember who reaps the benefits when giant companies turn a profit and ask if that sounds like a just and equitable soceity.