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Press-only Animal Crossing features N-word [update]

A pre-played version of 2005's Animal Crossing: Wild World for DS, sent out to media outlets to encourage connectivity with the recent Animal Crossing release for Wii, contains at least one shocking addition, reports MTV Multiplayer. Importing the saved data from the DS cartridge sent by Nintendo into Animal Crossing: City Folk introduces a host of changes into the game, including one, suddenly no longer E-rated character, Baabara, who now greets players with: "How are you, Ñ---á?" [edited; original creator added diacritics]

To clarify, this generally offensive slang term (preceded by another potentially offensive phrase above it) is not included in the retail release of the game. Rather, whomever Nintendo employed to play the version of Wild World sent to press with all of the game's items unlocked, purposely "trained" the Baabara character to use the term. Further, introducing this kind of offensive content into a new copy of the game, from a stranger via Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, is nearly impossible. To import content from another game cartridge over the internet requires two users to first exchange their unique 16-digit codes before they are able to share data. In other words, your kids are safe -- unless they or their "friends" are the creators of such content.

What MTV Multiplayer and other outlets have discovered is an isolated matter. Still, since the media serves as a filter through which you receive your news about Nintendo products, Nintendo clearly needs to work harder to prevent the kind of incident highlighted here from happening again. Also, an apology would be nice ...

Update: And here's that apology ... "We regret that an offensive phrase was included without our knowledge via a wireless function that allows user-generated catchphrases to spread virally from one game to the next," said Nintendo in a statement sent to us. The company is asking that the 14 affected copies it mailed out to the media be returned. The full statement is posted after the break.

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Nintendo's statement:

"Previously played copies of the 2005 DS game Animal Crossing: Wild World were sent to 14 members of the media to demonstrate the ability of players to transfer items to the new Animal Crossing: City Folk for Wii. We regret that an offensive phrase was included without our knowledge via a wireless function that allows user-generated catchphrases to spread virally from one game to the next. This version is limited to 14 copies created for media review purposes only and is not available at retailers. We sincerely apologize for the incident and are working with media who received the game cards to return them to Nintendo immediately."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.