News Article

Nintendo Rejects The Binding of Isaac

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Playing it safe

At the start of the year we reported that approval was being sought for The Binding of Isaac on 3DS, a game co-created and developed by Edmund McMillen, one half of Super Meat Boy creators Team Meat. It's a title with its share of mature, controversial themes, while the plot references and re-tells a well known bible story. The actual structure is clearly inspired by RPG elements of 2D entries in The Legend of Zelda series, so it's a mix of a reasonably conventional game design and controversial content.

It seems like this mature content was too much for Nintendo, as it has rejected the title's potential publication. Posting on his Twitter page, Edmund McMillen confirmed the news.

Attention: After a long internal debate Nintendo has decided NOT to allow the Binding of Isaac on the 3ds. As many assumed the reasons were due to the games "questionable religious content". Thank GOD Steam exists!

Steam is a PC platform where many indie developers publish their titles, particularly as it doesn't require ESRB ranking or censorship of games. As it stands The Binding of Isaac won't be released on the 3DS in any form due to questionable content, and it seems like Steam will be the only platform with this title in the forseeble future.

What do you think of this decision? Should Nintendo allow games with controversial themes and rely on ratings and parental controls, or is it right to reject titles with 'questionable religious content'?


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User Comments (136)



sykotek said:

It's a fun game. Controversial for sure, but pretty fun.

In this case, I think Nintendo is doing the right thing for Nintendo. Imagine the poopstorm they would get into when the fanatics begin freaking out about it...and about the children, won't someone think of the children!?

Anyways, it's not the type of attention Nintendo needs to attract...ever. I mean, honestly, who didn't see this coming?

If anyone seriously thought this would get released on the eShop, they really need a heavy dose of reality.



DrCruse said:

Sigh I thought Nintendo gave up censorship years ago, but I guess not.



Corbs said:

Perhaps Nintendo is still ticked about them deciding not to release Super Meat Boy on WiiWare after it did so well on XBLA.



erv said:

I think nintendo should actually allow any content, mature, adult only, controversial - whichever. There are rating and age systems for this, if these don't supply the consumer with the instant knowledge about what type of content they are buying than that is the system that's broken, not the publishing or the approval on nintendo's side of the story.

I understand their reasons, there are just better ways to handle differences in content. And if these lack, fix them, don't narrow your own path.



Tethers said:

@DrCruse: What does this have to do with censorship? Also: Just why can't you find this game on XBLA or PSN? Think about it...



alLabouTandroiD said:

This is a wasted opportunity imo. I might see too much in it but to me it looks like a game that really gives you something to think about outside of its own universe. I only know of an atomical fraction of games that do this. In this regard it might have been the 3DS's Killer 7 or Shadow of the Colossus.
I don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill here but to me this sends the message that Nintendo isn't interested in pushing the medium forward as much as it could. Devs might get the same impression, ignore Ninty's shops and go to other platforms altogether. Only time will tell.

PS: Instead of this they should rather keep the near-unplayable games from being released in their shops. Much more customer-friendly.



StarDust4Ever said:

Well, RARE released Conker's Bad Fur Day for the N64, which is an excellent game by the way, but it is rife with some hilarious potty humor. Potentially the foulest licensed game ever released on Nintendo hardware.



Mk_II said:

Nintendo is very determined to be seen as family-friendly and i think it makes a lot of sense for them. They, like McDonalds, know very well that if you've got them young, you've got them for life.



GigaFlanMan said:

@DrCruse: I think it has something to do with the religous content and Satanism thats prominent throughout the game, and it constantley makes fun of it, not the violence, and Nintendo is just playing it safe to prevent a negative, adverse reaction from the media.

Also, keep in mind that it still hadn't got an offical rating for the PSN or XBLA. So I'm not exactly suprised about the news.



Late said:

This game is really disturbing if you ask me. I wouldn't buy it in any case just because the story seems so disturbing, it really doesn't show religion in a good light. The game itself may be good but it doesn't matter if I won't buy it.
I just get disgusted every time I think about this game.



19Robb92 said:

Very understandable to me.

But it's still a shame, it's a very enjoyable game.



WolfRamHeart said:

I am disappointed because I really wanted to play this game but then again I can't say that I am surprised by this decision. The game seemed pretty controversial and that is the type of attention Nintendo tends to steer clear of. Personally, it wouldn't of bothered me but I can imagine that religious groups would probably have taken offense to it. I can imagine this would have gotten blown out of proportion because it would have been "family friendly" Nintendo selling this game on a handheld system that lots of children own. It wouldn't be that big of a deal if this game ends up on Vita though. Sony doesn't have that big of a family image as much as Nintendo does. Sony's target audience is typically the older tech crowd. Both Sony and Microsoft could easily get away with releasing this game unscathed. Nintendo is likely just playing it safe. I guess this means no Super Meat Boy on 3DS either.



sillygostly said:

They allow Manhunt 2 for the so-called "family friendly" Wii, but they won't allow this? -.-



Bankai said:

Good to see Nintendo recognises that a significant number of its gamers are mature people that might be interested in playing artistic games that oush the envelope...

oh wait.



Burning_Spear said:

I understand Nintendo's position. In this day and age, when the masses cry bloody murder over things that require a chain of abstract interpretations to make them remotely offensive, there's no point in bothering. You can't have a public discussion of religion — or a hundred other topics — without being branded a hater, and this game just seems like a lightning rod for protests. Nintendo is a business, and lawsuits hurt business. Let Steam deal with it.



Shirma_Akayaku said:

thats true.
I clearly remember conker's bad fur day.
It was violent as well as "potty" mouth too.
but those were different times. and content is decided differently too.



chiptoon said:

very sad. its an excellent game. I find it hard to defend Nintendo's decision on this, even though I understand why they made it.



Bankai said:

@Burning_Spear wait, are you saying that a successful business can't be a business that trades in art?

Look, this is why Nintendo pisses me off with this news: the video game medium, as the form of entertainment that may well be the dominant one in a few years, should also be taking a leadership position in furthering the cause of art. Just like cinema and books did before games.

But no, games companies (not just Nintendo, but in this case we're talking about a Nintendo example), refuse to let anyone push the envelope, and are therefore stunting the growth of the video game industry as a medium to express art.

It is grossly irresponsible to be doing that.



Spoony_Tech said:

Those game you guys are taking about are retail releases. That is totally different then this case. At least the retail releases can be somewhat controlled as far as kids not getting them. However if it appears on the eshop for all to see and a child sees a game with a baby as its icon they might think its a game they might want. Anyone can get past the age restrictions on the eshop! Does anyone really actually enter their real birth date?! The only thing stopping these kids from getting the game would've been not enough funds to purchase or parental restriction to purchase said game. On the latter half I don't think Nintendo fully trusts the parents on!



Gamesake said:

This game was such a cheap POS. We won't miss a sloppy Zelda clone. Blame questionable religious content if you must, but this was a victory for quality control. Allowing games like Binding of Isaac the opportunity to leech so much money from gamers on the eShop would have been upsetting.



sgotsch said:

AAAARRGHH! Never thought Nintendo would really ban this game. > Time for Operation 'Save Nintendo'fall or something. :/

This is so wrong, Nintendo!



citizenerased said:

Yes, it is truly a victory for quality control when a game that scores 85% on GameRankings gets banned and you're safe to play Ninjabread Man, with the Official Seal of Quality, on your Wii instead.



"A person authorized to examine books, films, or other material and to remove or suppress what is considered morally, politically, or otherwise objectionable."

This game is removed based on the feeling that Nintendo considers it to be amoral and politically incorrect. Yes, it's a broad definition.

@Corbs: I know your comment's tongue-in-cheek, but quotes released this week makes it sound like Team Meat was very bummed out about not being able to release SMB (due to Nintendo's horrible size limit, obviously).



Hyperstar96 said:


This was Nintendo's golden opportunity to show that they don't exclusively make games for a younger audience and to remove the "kiddy" stereotype set by the Wii, and they turned it down. And no one cares about religion in video games! That shouldn't even be a factor! Just slap an M rating on it and their problems would be solved!

I'm disappointed in Nintendo.



theblackdragon said:

@Waltz: I like how you're portraying this game as 'art'. To me, it's like smearing entrails on a wall and attempting to show it at an exhibition — yeah, some critics may gush over it, but the rest will call it like it is, and in the end, the galleries have the right to reject showings they're not interested in hosting.



DarkLloyd said:

meh thats too bad for the people that would of bought it since in its entirely is just a game

not like i would of thought anything of it other then a story



Aviator said:

Today actually, I was researching some stuff surrounding the seven deadly sins and this game came up.

I love when research into literature and art incorporates various mediums. It's simply blurring the boundaries with the conventional forms of video games. Reading up on this game, it sounds interesting, and as soon as I'm finished with this year I am going to buy it (actually, probably gonna wanna wait a while considering the religious undertones (damn English!!)). I don't really give a crap about what the religion blah blah blah, but I am interested in the portrayal of the seven deadly sins in pop culture, in this case, video games.

It's frustrating that the reason is "questionable religious content" as it assumes that everybody has some form of Catholic connections. I don't see this as "questionable religious content", from what I have seen, I see it as an appropriation of the story of Isaac. It adapts a story, which may be well known to some people and may not be well known to others and changes the context. Where the hell (geddit) do you see the blurring of literary devices and interactive mediums?

A big loss for Nintendo.

theblackdragon wrote:

@Waltz: I like how you're portraying this game as 'art'. To me, it's like smearing entrails on a wall and attempting to show it at an exhibition — yeah, some critics may gush over it, but the rest will call it like it is, and in the end, the galleries have the right to reject showings they're not interested in hosting.

Postmodern art is created to form a connection between the artist, the artwork and the audience. Some may pass it off as entrails smeared on a wall, but others will go deeper and ask why this is the case? What is the artists intent of smearing entrails on the wall? What is the artist trying to evoke from the audience? The whole debate about 'What is art?' emerges, and this probably isn't the place to have that debate, but even if it's thrown to the side, it's still art. It's created with a purpose and a function.
yay for yr 12 art theory



crazyj2312 said:

I guess Nintendo knows that games like this + American moms = controversy. It never occurs to most adults who find M rated games offensive that you can simply avoid these mature games, Though popular, they're never the only games to play. But some people fighting against it believe that if they just didn't exist, it would be better.

OPINION: I don't think The Binding of Issac would have been appealing to many who own the system anyway. It seems it'd be much easier to avoid controversy altogether rather than publish it, fight off the mass of crazy parents and only make a small amount of sales from those who really want it.

It doesn't make sense at first and seems like Nintendo isn't being wise, but I think they made the right call. The only reason there's no uproar now is because it's on Steam and most parents don't even know it exists. If it was on a Nintendo system, a well known platform, not only Nintendo but McMillen would be under fire.



Burning_Spear said:


I'm all for art, and I believe the game should be released on any platform for which it is designed. What I'm saying is that, unless I'm wrong and this game is going to be a blockbuster for the ages, there's no upside for Nintendo. Guaranteed, 100 percent, there are going to be some people who will call this sacrilegious. And they won't target the developer with their protests, complaints, lawsuits, etc.; they'll target the deep-pocketed corporation with the recognizable name. Just purely from the standpoint of a business, which Nintendo is, it doesn't make sense.

Are video games art? I believe so. Do Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony think they're selling art? I believe not. They want to make money, and they don't want lawsuits or protests. Again, I think the game should be published, but I understand the business decision behind rejecting it.



Karakato said:

Ehh, its disappointing yes, but I am more disappointed at the fact that Nintendo or whoever is responsible for disapproving this for a rating won't take the risk. I know this game has Controversial themes and will upset the religious groups, but in the end, its just a harmless game that was never meant to be taken seriously in the first place. If some find it disturbing, just ignore it, I'm sure Nintendo has filtered their Online shop well to block out the Mature rated titles from the minors... Oh wait, they didn't.

Oh well, like the others said, I guess its Nintendo being Nintendo, wanting to protect their image as a "family friendly" company and please the masses sensitivity. A missed opportunity really, would have wanted to play this on the go but there's always Steam I guess.



theblackdragon said:

@Aviator: you're not telling me anything I don't already know. In what way does this give the gallery/ies some kind of responsibility or obligation to show such art? Still not seeing it.



Corbs said:

@tealovertoma - I can certainly understand Team Meat not releasing Super Meat Boy on WiiWare given the strict file size limitation, but what I cannot understand is them not releasing SMB on 3DS or even allowing another developer to develop and release it. That kinda bums me out.



Shotgunryugan said:

It always has to do with religion doesn't it? makes me glad i'm an atheist.

On a more serious note,doesn't Nintendo realize this is going to be a loss for them? i'll admit i didn't know about this game before this article,but from what it says,the game sounded interesting,especially if it had Zelda elements :/



Gamesake said:

@tealovertoma You think the Binding of Isaac deserves to be put on the 3DS just because Nintendo has OK'd lame games in the past? If Nintendo wants to improve their image they need to start passing on the shovelware, and that means giving Isaac the boot.



warioswoods said:

I think it's a bit of an over-glorification to see this as "art" in any sense of the word.

When I look at Team Meat and every statement or image to come out of them, I see a group of self-important, immature guys who think throwing "edgy" gross visuals into a game makes them somehow transgressive, even though the game engines always have that awful feel of something prototyped as a Flash game. I found this dev immensely immature with the whole meat / veggie thing over their last game, and I see little change now.

Ie., I've hated Team Meat from the first words I ever saw quoted from the devs online, and since that time they've only become more self-inflated without anything to their credit other than over-the-top, failed attempts to be transgressive. I don't see why we should care.




Corbs said:

You're right Aviator, I'd much rather have it on Vita. Good call.



Samholy said:

how about resident evil ? isnt it blasphemy that dead are coming back to life ? bible says only the son of god can come back to life.
How about bowser's zoophilia problem huh ? the guy is a turtle, and want a human girl real bad. isn this questionnable enough ?
How about kokiris who always keep their infant stage body. how do they...reproduce ? eeeww

this is ridiculous. if you dont like, just dont buy. i remember when xenogear came out on PS1. they retired it form the shelves all over my area (quebec) because of this.i had a chance to buy it day one, before they were removed. then years after that, it poped again on shelves, without any notice.



theblackdragon said:

@Samholy: re: Xenogears — really? i thought that had a limited print run and that was why it was so hard to find. i remember scouring shelves for it back in the day... no luck. thank goodness for PSOne Classics :3



Ron_DelVillano said:

This is really too bad.

It's a pretty fun game, and I think it's super interesting. Indie devs are doing a WHOLE lot with their games that the mainstreamers aren't.



WesCash said:

I literally downloaded Binding of Isaac on Steam two days ago, and I must say it is a fantastic little game. Could have been good on 3DS too.
I don't really understand a lot of the hate in the comments here...
@Gamesake - This game is certainly not a POS or shovelware. Not sure what you are so miffed about
@warioswoods - Honestly, if a game is great, I couldn't care less who developed it. But to each his own.



Bankai said:

@tbd I could give you a very long explanation about how critical it is for art to push boundaries - of good taste, of 'decency', of morals and ethics. I could go into the writings of philosophers such as Michael Foucault, reference the likes of Antonin Artaud and Marquis de Sade as examples or Foucaultian theory in practice.

I could find the notes I've got from the lectures I've given on transgressive art and the value it brings to mainstream society (even if mainstream society never sees it).

I won't do any of that (though you have my email, if you're genuinely interested, please do be in touch) because it would be deathly boring to read in the context of this article. But it's all pretty sound philisophical theory, and I think the games industry as a whole is really dropping the ball in terms of being an outlet for transgressive art, considering how important the games industry have become as a content delivery medium.

As I said before, I am very disappointed in Nintendo for stifling this game, and to be completely honest, I don't believe it was a smart business decision, either. Games is by far the most heavily censored medium, and I think this self regulation is detrimental to development.



Nintenzo said:

If they don't allow mature content then Jack Tretton will keep making fun of them for having the 'Game Boy Experience!'



PokeNas said:

You cant guess how glad I am that it didnt come out. Personally I think games should never touch let alone interrupt religion.



alLabouTandroiD said:

How about having all trailers and gameplay footage play R.E.M. 's Losing my Religion ?
Wouldn't that put things in perspective ?



Arehexes said:

To all those pissed about this game not hitting the 3DS, just get it on steam. How hard is it, I mean remember when Man Hunt 2 came out and was censored to be sold in stores cause of it's content? Maybe Team Meat doesn't want to sell this game on a system that would censor it, I've played it and thought it wasn't good and the story not interesting. It's one thing to use religion in a game but not go "God is telling me to kill you my son cause he said you are evil".

I mean lets look at Shin Megami Tensi as an example, there is religious things in the series (Fighting Lucifer and YHVH and what have you), but your not told to do YHVH will because he said so, you were given the choice to follow what you wanted. Follow YHVH's wishes to have protection for man from demons but you have to follow his rules under tight control, or have it be a dog eat dog world were demons rule, or let human taking control of their fate. In Binding of Issac a mother is watching a TV and hearing Gods will and doing what he says with no question asked putting her own son through hell because it was "God's Will". Again in SMT you are given different point of views of which path you feel is right. Like in Devil Survivor SPOILERS

You are Abel and able to contend for the throne of Bel, you could either
1)Be the next Messiah for Gods Will
2)Become King of Bel and take on God
3)Run away to fight another day
4)Take over the control of demons and become a super power in the UN

Again you are not told what to do it's a choice, in Issac it's "My mom wants to kill me to please god".

Also I notice it has no ESRB rating which is a big BIG no no for Nintendo.



ejamer said:

The games industry isn't dropping anything, and outcries that this 'censorship" is unacceptable are just people being silly or not looking at the bigger picture.

When you are playing Nintendo (or Sony or Microsoft) systems you are playing the most mainstream form of games available. The whole discussion needs context. Games are available in many mediums, and if you are concerned about seeing games that truly qualify as art then you should be looking at indie and self-published games on PCs first - because that is where the real action is - not on heavily-controlled consoles that intentionally target the mass market because they want to earn as much money as possible.

McMillian can pass the buck all he wants, but his game was made specifically to be controversial and not getting published on a Nintendo platform (seriously: why go for Nintendo, the most family-friendly publisher, instead of the "more mature" Sony or Microsoft platforms anyway? Masochists like to fail, right?) is a direct and unsurprising result of that controversial nature. It's like bitching that Nintendo would publish Super Meat Boy after the development team knowingly and intentionally ignored all limitations and restrictions of the platform and created a game that simply wasn't suitable on a technical level. Pro tip: Not Nintendo's fault.



TingLz said:

I think this may have been a smart decision on Nintendo's part. The problem with an online service is that it is harder to keep kids from buying mature stuff. If a kid walks into a game store, he/she will most likely get rejected. Online, he/she can lie about age and download it anyway. Then mom comes home and all hell breaks loose.



Morpheel said:

Honestly, it's better this way, lots of parents who ignore ratings, have no idea of how to use parental settings and/or can't control what their kids play would've eventually come up with stupid complaints about the game only because it is on a nintendo console.



theblackdragon said:

@Waltz: It may be critical for art to push boundaries, but it is not critical that every single gallery to which said art is submitted chooses to exhibit it. The game has seen release on Steam and may see release on other platforms in the future as well, it's not like it's been rejected everywhere — if it had been rejected all across the board and Team Meat had no other way to get it out to the people, you might have a point, but this is not the case. Nintendo has decided that it's just not for their service, and that is their right and their privilege to decide.



TheChosen said:

Well, the game does have a lot of questionable religious content, from Mom trying to sacrifice his son to God to making deals with Satan. Then there's drug-use, occultism, the usual levels of violence, urinating, gambling, other words, plenty of reasons for ESRB to stamp up a high-rating and to get everyone over-sensitive go mad at it.

Also, get over it people. I dont care if Ninendo wants it or not.

EDIT: The creators attitude reminds me of the whole Super Meat Boy thing again.



Philip_J_Reed said:

I could give you a very long explanation about how critical it is for art to push boundaries - of good taste, of 'decency', of morals and ethics.

And I could provide an explanation at least as long about why it's not Nintendo's (or any specific company's) obligation to provide an outlet for such art. The artist in this case attempted to secure a platform, and the owner of that platform declined. As is their right.

As I said before, I am very disappointed in Nintendo for stifling this game

The game is not "stifled" in any sense of the word. It exists, it's readily available, and they may still seek other platforms.

I like The Binding of Isaac. I think it's a great game and a genuine artistic statement. But by no means do I think Nintendo is doing anyone a disservice by choosing not to associate themselves with it. They're a business first and foremost...not an exhibition hall.

EDIT: And now I've done a blog about it.



TheBaconator said:

Well that isn't surprising. The eShop doesn't have a system for determining the age of buyers other than the buyer giving their age. (Which is always a lie to make things quicker) If Nintendo did let a game like this slide, they'd get tons of negative coverage from the media. Remember, some people believe that Pokemon are satanic demons that promote evolution and bash religion even though there's no signs of that anywhere in the game. So imagine what the press would do if Nintendo allowed a game that is a twisted, gruesome take on a biblical story on a kid-friendly handheld. It would seriously hurt Nintendo's reputation.



Azikira said:

All this from the company that originally had Conker's bad fur day... Hah!



brandonbwii said:

It's the religious themes, obviously. I'm Christian and I find the game to be in poor taste. That said, if it DID come to the eShop I wouldn't mind though.

Religion has always been an issue with Nintendo. Remember when they didn't allow the word "devil" to be used in America? or when they released Devil's Crush on VC without the Pentagram? Nintendo allows 3rd parties to do almost anything. BMX XXX was released uncensored for GameCube. Oddly it was censored for PS2.

I highly doubt this would be released on other platforms with it's disturbing themes.



k8sMum said:

is anyone really surprised? nintendo is not known for its edginess. as long as the game is available on other outlets, it is not being repressed or stifled.

yeah, 'conker's bad fur day' is an exception. a brilliant one, too.



Objection said:

Religion always gets people overly upset.

Is it a huge loss for the eShop? IDK, I was pretty neutral on the game in its Steam form, but it was a decent game and those are always welcome.

I do wonder what else Nintendo is going to block for their image and why. If they allow demos for M rated games why not allow M rated games to download on the same system?



Ron_DelVillano said:

@Usagi-san I never said anything about gameplay being new and original.

I understand that there are similarities in that sense, but regarding art direction, storytelling, and actual originality in design, yeah, indie games are doing a lot more than Mario games ever did. I still love Mario and Zelda and all of those classic games, but I find that indie devs are doing more interesting things with their titles. They're less concerned with pleasing the masses and more interested in doing anything that pushes a bit away from the mainstream.



pixelman said:

Good. I'm definitely with warioswoods and tbd here. I used to follow Team Meat on twitter but their tweets were so sickening that I promptly severed their account from my feed.

I watched some gameplay of TBoI too, and I'm personally really glad that this kind of thing isn't going to be on the eShop. It's disgusting, repulsive, and revolting (and what's worse, it looks like a cheap flash game). I'd rather play Ninjabread Man 3D... that would at least be entertaining.
especially since Chicken would review it. >:3



jangonov said:

While i disagree with the decision to ban it, I don't disagree with the right. Video games are art. They have a right to be made and interacted with. Consoles are museums for this medium, and it is the right of curator to reject pieces from being displayed for any reason.



warioswoods said:

Did somebody say Foucault?

Giving that kind of authentically "transgressive" weight to what the Meat guys do is a huge stretch if you ask me. This sounds like a more apt description of these guys:

"Making transgression a form of identity results in a vacuous and ultimately pathetic spectacle of heroically confronting limits that no longer exist for the subjects in question." (Sergei Prozorov, Foucault, freedom and sovereignty )

... also, the fact that the violent "bro" gamers out there love these games should make anyone suspicious of a genuinely transgressive status.



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@Lordlz Interesting Twitter post you found there. Actually, I'm quite surprised noone has brought up my particular point yet and it relates to that specific post. I guess it's cause everyone's in an uproar over this news, in one way or another.

Calm down and think logically for a sec guys before reading this post. I'm betting you this action is a DELAY tactic. If you think about it, McMillen's game is the first, actual M rated, eShop game. It has no predecessors on the shop. I have a feeling that Nintendo was caught off guard by this and had to buy some time to establish a good enough system for handling M rated eShop titles.



komicturtle said:

I was never interested in the first place, so it shouldn't be a loss for Nintendo. If you have a decent computer, just get it on Steam.

No point in crying over spilt milk.



Knux said:

I'm not surprised to be honest, because this is Nintendo after all. Also, what the hell does video games have to do with art?



Maggots said:

its a crappy game with virtually no market for it... why would they even consider it when it has a smaller demographic than the last story... And they won't even publish that one here in the states.... think about it...



Malkeor said:

Personally not a big deal for me. We all have computers and can get it on Steam.
"But I wanna play it on a portable" sorry :/ all I gotta say.

I think they are doing the right thing, as a catholic anyway, and for other religious groups in general. I applaud them for trying to uphold their beliefs and "for everyone" assurance.
Sure they could stick an age gate, call it M rated and give a warning....but it would still cause problems I believe, especially for the Nintendo demographic.



AVahne said:

Let's see if XBLA and PSN takes this game first. If they do, THEN get mad at Nintendo.



TrueWiiMaster said:

Definitely think Nintendo made the right choice about this. The last thing they want is for the media to have a special titled "Nintendo releases anti-Christian video game". For some parents that would brand them for life. Besides, hasn't their longstanding policy been to avoid any and all religious games?

To me, Team Meat is no one of interest. Just another arrogant indie developer who thinks they can advise Nintendo because they made one popular game.



NiaLovesNinty said:

Idk about any of you, but I sort of feel like Team Meat was trolling Nintendo by even trying to get this game on the eShop.

Call me a skeptic, but they seem like the type of people who'd do this on purpose for lulz.

They had to have known that there was no way a company like Nintendo would ever approve such a game.



ejamer said:

What do those sales numbers really mean though? The game was included in one of the Indie Bundles, which accounts for a huge number of sales. Appealing to an audience of gamers on Steam/PC is very different from selling to the average 3DS owner, and saying that the game probably has a very limited audience on 3DS is likely a fair statement.

(In an earlier post, even you stated that: "[Indie developers are] less concerned with pleasing the masses and more interested in doing anything that pushes a bit away from the mainstream." Are you really suggesting that TBoI doesn't fit that description? Or are you suggesting that 3DS owners aren't mainstream and is strongly represented by core gamers that would seek out this type of indie experience?)

It's fine to be disappointed, but let's be a little bit realistic at the same time.



FonistofCruxis said:

I'm certainly not complaining as I don't like its sacrilegious content and I agree with tbd on the nature of this game too. Also, I don't get why people are comparing this game to Conker's bad fur day or a and are saying its an exception. It had no sacrilegious content and that's the reason why Nintendo rejected The binding of Issac, not the gore, violence and sexual references and themes and I don't see why it would be when there have been quite a few other games with that sort of content on Nintendo consoles. Sure, there aren't as many as on Sony/Microsoft consoles but there's still quite a number of them on Nintendo consoles.



siavm said:

Is this coming to anything else other pc? This game sounds almost AO. And last time I checked none of the console makers allow them. And why would they want to bring this to the eshop and not psn or xbla?



Capt_N said:

W/o going into a big explanation for my reasons of thinking, I would say that this probably happened, b/c after reading up about this game, the game's plot directly takes a Biblical account, & changes it into something similar, yet different(In my opinion, twists the account.). &/or it may very well have to do, simply w/ (the) title, & Nintendo feeling that it has (a) negative connotation(s) possibly.

I think those might be the reasons, since it seems Nintendo has no issue w/ what could probably be considered questionable content in games such as Shin Megami Tensi.(I say probably, since I never played it, but know a little about it from Nintendo Week, & @Arehexes comment). Also, for my second reason, I know that N changed the title of Lttp, as it was originally called "Triforce of the gods". Don't know if they still do that, though. See, I said I'd be brief in my reasoning, & explanation.

As for my personal opinion, I am a Christian(as in, a follower of Jesus Christ). From what (little) I've seen of this game on Youtube, & from what little I know of it, I would consider the story somewhat on the offensive side, for me personally, & the gameplay looks similar to tLoZ. Graphic-wise, this reminded me of the kind of fare WW(WiiWare) would see regularly; something that does indeed resemble a flash game.

As for Nintendo blocking it my thoughts are (the following in no particular order):
1. Their platform, their rules.
2. Not just Nintendo, but all platforms in general need better content controls.
3. The most important of my points ~ If parents would do their jobs,(esp. now that tech has made it easier to control content), there wouldn't be too much of a problem in releasing, producing, &/or selling games w/ questionable content, no matter the content's subject matter. It's the parents who need to be doing their jobs, no matter what.
4. If I had kids, I probably wouldn't let them play it, but if it was on the eShop service, it wouldn't bother me, nor would it (to me, anyway) be a reflection directly on Nintendo, but Team Meat themselves.

Also, on a semi-related note: While I like some games from WW, I think WW has, & the eShop potentially could become, polluted w/ too many games that resemble flash games. I didn't say the games themselves were bad, I meant their graphical presentation. I don't own an XB360/PS3, so I can't say if those services are suffering from a similar dilemma, or not. Of course, that's just my personal opinion.



ecco6t9 said:

Outside of Pokemon you can pretty much get away with anything on a handheld.

Izuna and it's borderline Lesbian "Incest" is proof enough.



Swiket said:

So Nintendo didn't object to gore and suggested child nudity, but they did to "questionable religious content"?

But I guess if The Binding of Isaac was released on the N64, Nintendo would've released it themselves on the 3DS for $40.



C-195 said:

Looks like Nintendo has the moral high ground with this and a good thing too, this blasphemous crap should never have seen the light of day.



Colors said:

@Gamesake Alright, now I'm convinced that you've never played the game and are merely assuming what it is based on a couple tidbits of information. And I'll go ahead and assume you simply stated that it was a sloppy Zelda clone because of this part of the article "The actual structure is clearly inspired by RPG elements of 2D entries in The Legend of Zelda series, so it's a mix of a reasonably conventional game design and controversial content."
And religious controversy aside, this is certainly not shovelware IMO and I'm sure if you asked anyone who has actually played it, the vast majority would agree.



MitchVogel said:

This game is just downright disgusting. It only goes to show how sick and sadistic some game developers in this industry are. I don't care how great the gameplay is, there are just some things that are simply too far.



k8sMum said:

i don't feel that religion should be sacred when it comes to video games. (no pun intended there, it is just the correct word). but for the developers to think (seriously) that nintendo would touch a game such as this with a 10-foot pole is ludicrous.



Gamesake said:

@ColorsOfSonic Your instincts are wrong, I'm one of the many unfortunate owners of the Binding of Isaac "thanks" to the Humble Bundle. (All of those sales numbers make a lot more sense now don't they?) Even for an indie game, Isaac surprised me with its low level of quality. It's unimpressive when it comes to both its visuals and gameplay. Everything about it feels lazy. Make no mistake, on the 3DS this game would have been overpriced and out of its league.



RR529 said:

Completely understandable on Nintendo's part. Yes, I know Nintendo has released games with violence in them, and even games with religious themes, but what sets this game apart is that it takes a particular religion (Christianity in this case) and makes fun of it from beginning to end. That's opening up a whole can of worms, and I don't blame Nintendo one bit.

I'm not a very religious person, I believe in God and occasionally go to Church, but am in no way your stereotypical fanatic. Heck, some of my favorite games involve magic or some sort of religious theme (Zelda, Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts), and I have no problem with cussing and gore in games as I've played Ninja Gaiden, MGS, COD, ect., but this game was so crude, just watching a trailer put me off. I don't believe it ever had a chance on a Nintendo system.




I think Nintendo did what was best. I know I wouldn't play the game due to the content, no matter how fun it is.



Wolfcoyote said:

I'm more than happy that Nintendo stuck by their guns. I've been brought up by devout Christians and while I'm nowhere near as devout as many of my relatives I tend to draw the line when it comes to certain games and media twisting religion to suit themselves.

I honestly don't see what the problem is; it's Nintendo's service, therefore Nintendo has the right approve or disapprove the content. As a previous poster stated, parents and critics won't be looking at Team Meat, they'll be howling for Nintendo's downfall. And the fact that TM seems to be chiding Nintendo when the other console makers aren't allowing the game on their services either makes me more than annoyed at TM.

Off-topic: their port of Super Meat Boy for the Mac was one of the most laziest ports from an indie dev that I've ever seen (shows Xbox controls on the's on a Mac now!). If that's the quality that TM willingly allows regarding desktop ports of their software, then all the more reason why Nintendo shouldn't allow tBoI.



zenarium said:

Really Nintendo? This is how you want to be sucessful on the market? I undertsnad Nintendo prespective but they should let anyone publish what they want to, like STEAM does!!!



Haxonberik said:

I don't know much of this game and how controversial it might be, but it's still disappointing to see indie developers being obstructed by Nintendo. I really doubt I was going to buy it anyway.



Mattiator said:

Can't say I'm too surprised. As a retail release it could have gotten through, but on a download service no doubt riddled with dumb kids and their parents, this could easily have ignited a media firestorm. Would I have liked to see it? Sure. I think Super Meat Boy definately has a better shot at arriving, since it's nowhere near as religiously charged. And since Team Meat's already 're-imagining' the game for mobile devices, it's not too much of a stretch to hope for a port.



black-kyurem said:

personally i am shocked by this. the reason is because of the major impact this will have on their reputation. according to coventional wisdom nintendo is ¨casual,and kid friendly.¨In terms of sales only the wii benifited from this mindset.
Popularity wise nintendo has benn ruined. People see nintendo as¨kiddie¨ and many people say that ¨you cant call yourself a gamer if you play nintendo¨ as well as many other insults.And do you know why? Because nintendo rejects(almost)every game that doesn't reflect this stereotype.(like the binding of issac)



TheRegginator said:

WTF Nintendo?! Are you determined to detract Edward from ever bringing his games to a Nintendo system? First Super Meat Boy, now this. It's a good thing I own the superior PC versions.



FonistofCruxis said:

The article clearly states that the reason was the controversial content so I don't see why people are whining about Nintendo wanting to keep their 'kiddie' reputation or saying "what about X mature game that was released on a Nintendo console?" One of the other commenters even posted a link that mentioned that Nintendo would've been fine with the mature content.



Ron_DelVillano said:

@ejamer There seems to be a bit of confusion here, so I'll try my best to clarify.

Those sales numbers may mean nothing to you, but they obviously mean something to the devs. It's true that many of those purchases probably came from HIB buyers, but that just means that the game reached a wider audience because of it.

In the same vein, Wii Sports is one of the top selling games of all time, but it came bundled with the Wii console, which means that many Wii owners (like myself) own Wii Sports, but had no intention of actually buying Wii Sports otherwise. My point here is that of course sales numbers will always be skewed for any product, but they are important in the sense that TBoI reached a wider audience than expected and it was enough to warrant a retail release. And the only reason I even brought this up is because clearly people were interested in owning it, so I think it's unfair to say that there's no audience for it.

I'd also like to point out that I never implied that TBoI doesn't fit what I said about indie games, and I also never suggested that 3DS owners aren't mainstream. In fact, I was actually saying the complete opposite of that.

I understand that the audience for TBoI is limited, and I understand that to be the case for most indie games, but my main point is that it's a shame this isn't being released on 3DS. It would have been nice for the devs because being on the 3DS eshop would (just like being part of the HIB) be a great opportunity to find an even more expanded audience. That's it. That's literally all I was saying. I'm not going to start a protest, and I don't care who plays the game. I just meant that it would have been pretty cool to see this indie game receive a release on a popular console rather than just Steam.

And honestly, I don't know that it would sell well on the 3DS. It could completely bomb because the 3DS owning audience isn't looking for that kind of gaming experience, and that's fine too. Again, I just meant that it would be cool to see this game get a bit more exposure on a mainstream Nintendo console.



Wintendo said:

So they allow crap like Call Of Duty on Nintendo's systems, which depicts the peacekeepers and people who keep our countries safe as trigger-happy murderers, who strive to get the longest 'kill-streak'. Thus teaching 13 year old kids that this is all the military does... and they won't allow this? No offense to all COD fans...




1 of Nintendo's biggiest flews is their family friendly background this decision may not look like a BIG DEAL to some of u people but I'm telling u it is!! If they had said YES it would show that Nintendo welcoming muture content even more then MS & Sony in this next gen which is GOOD because it proves to game deve's who r still on the fence about developing games 4 the WiiU and/or 3DS that muture content is well welcomed on those platforms.

This would also draw alot more independent game deve's to Nintendo plaforms which is again very GOOD!! Both of these good things if they had said yes would've probably meant MORE games for us from the independent & non indenpendent and MORE money for game dev's everybody WINS!! (or would've won anyway probably)

This is why Nintendo should have some YOUNG people to give advise because I can tell there's a bunch of OLD heads running the show. Not that there's anything wrong with that but it effects alot of thing such as this in a good way and a bad way.



Burning_Spear said:

@119: There's a difference between "mature" content and "objectionable" content. The dev admitted that it wasn't the "mature" content that turned off Nintendo. Again, I have no problem with the game, I'm just saying Nintendo has the right to keep itself out of trouble.



jkshaz said:

Hardly surprised. Nintendo runs at the smallest and first signs of religious sensitivity. Not making a judgement one way or another as to whether that is a wise business decision, it simply is what it is.



Pac-Suit said:

Weren't they trying to get this released on the E-shop? Then I can see why Nintendo won't allow this game on the E-shop, because it's ran by Nintendo themselves.

If the Blinding of Isaac was going to be a retail game, maybe this story would be different.



brandonbwii said:

I don't really count Conker's Bad Fur Day because as far as religion goes, Conker never so much as put the word God in front of d- - - -t. At least not to my knowledge.

Also, and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, there is no ESRB descriptor citing "strong religious references" as something to be couscious of. I didn't see that before I got into games like Xenogears and DarkSiders anyway.



Shirma_Akayaku said:

Holy Crap!
So many comments!
Religion changes the way people view things.
Quotes :
"Lighthouses are more helpful then churches". — Benjamin Franklin

"Faith means not wanting to know what is true". — Friedrich Nietzsche

"No longer possessed by possessions, we may become open enough to become possessed by God". — David Adam

"People who want to share their religious views with you, almost never want you to share yours with them". — Dave Barry
and a whole bunch more......
0 : - ) ?



Token_Girl said:

It would be nice to see this game on a Nintendo service and to be able to have access to games that are adult and push the envelope.

It would also be nice to see those types of films without having to drive past 3-4 theaters to get to an art house. But it doesn't happen. Because those movies don't sell as much as the giant blockbusters. It's no surprise the same thing is happening in the games industry.

Nintendo has a certain brand image it's creating. This doesn't fit it. As much as I'd like to live in a world where adults are the ones truly driving content (or at least, older teenagers), looking at the amount of purchasing power tweens/teens have nowadays (and the fact that they actually have time to play more than 2-3 games a year with their school breaks), it's no surprise that Nintendo aims their products towards "families." Even Resident Evil didn't seem any worse than your average PG-13 horror movie.

I haven't played Issac, but it would be interesting to it a piece that is in your face but really makes you consider and think about your beliefs and the effect of religion on society (Dogma would be one good example of a movie that seemed stupid and overtly offensive on the outside, but was in fact, very thought-provoking), or is it just in your face for the sake of being in your face (think Hostel...gross)?

The follow up question would be - should that make a difference?



heartless13 said:

@Shotgunryugan Same here. The more they try to keep us in a box with this "family friendly" stuff the more of us they lose. Some media networks will just rant for releasing violent games cause they can and then try to blame all violence on video games.
If they want to be "family friendly" then why do they have: Madworld, Strip poker, No more Heroes 1 and 2, House of the Dead, like 5 resident evil games, and Dead Space: Extraction?!?!?!?!



theblackdragon said:

@brandonbwii: actually, I just stumbled across something i had never known before — apparently Nintendo apparently forbids AO content from third parties, or at least they did a few years back. that, plus the fact that the ESRB does in fact have 'religious insensitivity' listed here (granted, those seem to be advertising guidelines, but they certainly look like a list of things they'd look for in a game!). in all actuality, 'religious insensitivity' is only one aspect of its potential violations, and that could've led Nintendo to go ahead and reject The Binding of Isaac before Team Meat wasted any time and money on a full ESRB evaluation. That's my theory, anyway, lol :3



Guybrush_Threepwood said:

Thanks to decisions like this I will never like the company Nintendo. I love the many great games Nintendo gave us. But most of Nintendo's policies (even since NES days) have just been a punch in the face of every loyal customer.



LeonardoDaVinci said:

Im not buying the 3DS.
I was going to buy it to get isaac and some of team meats games, So yeah.



sdcazares1980 said:

Nintendo has every right not to release a game, but if it makes half-baked decisions like "it has questionable religious content", it's their loss.



Henmii said:

"and it seems like Steam will be the only platform with this title in the forseeble future"

So that means that even Sony and Microsoft don't want this game on their download systems?

Anyway: Yes, it's a very controversial game! I can understand that Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft don't want to take the risk! And I don't see why this game needs this theme! From what I have seen the gameplay itself has nothing to do with religion! They just slapped the Bible theme on it to cause controverse! That's not good in my opinion!

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