The indie space is a magical one, where stories both in-universe and metatextual sprawl out in countless directions – and this is one of the most fascinating. Sunshine Shuffle, a narrative game about cute animals who were once bank robbers, is supposed to be out today on Nintendo Switch – and in Europe and Japan, it is. But the game’s eShop page has been blocked in North America due to a sequence of events which I can only describe as post-ironic sh!tposting gone wrong.
You see, the head of the studio making the game, Xalavier Nelson Jr., primarily marketed it on TikTok through a repeated line: “Sunshine Shuffle definitely doesn’t teach kids how to gamble!” Sunshine Shuffle is indeed about gambling, but features no microtransactions or other nefarious means of getting children to actually gamble with real world money like, say, a ton of mobile games in existence (including some of Nintendo’s own!). So it’s exactly the sort of current internet humor someone like me innately finds hilarious, but raises the eyebrows of those less attuned to the multiple layers of irony the younger generations are currently bathed in.
SUNSHINE SHUFFLE IS SUPPOSED TO COME OUT TOMORROW ON SWITCH AND PC
KEYWORD BEING “SUPPOSED TO”
APPARENTLY, MY SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN ABOUT THE GAME NOT TEACHING CHILDREN TO GAMBLE HAS UH
CONVINCED NINTENDO THAT THE GAME IS ABOUT CHILD GAMBLING pic.twitter.com/B8YY2zo0x0
— Xalavier Nelson Jr. (@WritNelson) May 23, 2023
And that’s exactly what happened – Nelson Jr. “goofed too close to the sun” and got Nintendo of America suspicious that the game actually does promote child gambling, leading to them blocking the store page. Sunshine Shuffle hasn’t even gotten a rating in Korea, effectively banning it from the country. The entire chronicle is detailed in a Digital Trends piece, which we highly recommend reading.
What a fitting twist of fate and consequence for a game that appears to be exactly about those things. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that the bizarreness of the story has attracted a lot more attention to Sunshine Shuffle than it might’ve gotten otherwise, though that obviously means little if nobody can buy it. But you can! On PC, at least. Or on Switch if you have a EU or JP account. And we really hope NA allows the game back on the eShop as soon as possible, because it does seem genuinely interesting, and like Nelson Jr. and his team put a lot of heart and soul into it.
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