We can't help but wonder if people aren't getting a little too sensitive. First Ubisoft's Mind Quiz for the DS and PSP was yanked, and now Mario Party 8 suffered the same fate right after its UK release. So what was the offense? An infamous four-letter word? Dirty insults that would make nuns and sailors alike blush down to their toes? Hot coffee level mistakes?
No, in both cases, it was the word "spastic."
Now, there's more at work here below the surface than is obvious at first glance. First, in Mind Quiz, the spastic label was applied to those who couldn't manage much in the game, and so yes, it was a little insulting. Second, while "spastic" is pretty tame as far as slang goes on this side of the proverbial pond, in the UK, it's apparently a little more insulting. It's the equivalent of calling someone a drooling retard, if you will (we use this phrase for the purposes of example here, so please, don't issue a Wii Fanboy recall). So we can understand that it maybe shouldn't have been used to identify lower-caliber players.
But in Mario Party 8, the word seemed rather more innocent. Here's the direct quote, including the offensive word, from Kamek: "Magikoopa magic! Turn the train spastic! Make this ticket tragic!"
So, apparently, we're to make the train shake. It's not necessarily insulting, though we suppose if someone were in the mood to take offense, they could. Admittedly, we're not British, so maybe we're missing the level of insult inherent in the word "spastic" here, but it seems that there are a number of words in every video game ever that could be interpreted as possibly, potentially offensive to someone, somewhere. Should we start recalling those as well? We'd love to hear from some of our UK readers on the matter.