News Article

Wii Karaoke U Doesn't Censor Explicit Lyrics

Posted by Damien McFerran

Cover your eyes and ears, kiddies

This morning, we reported that Nintendo had disabled Swapnote's SpotPass functionality due to safety concerns. The Japanese giant is clearly mindful of its younger fans, but doesn't seem to have checked the kind of songs which are available through Wii Karaoke U.

We've discovered that the Wii U title grants access to songs with explicit content, and even worse it makes no attempt to warn users that they may see naughty words appearing on their television screen. The images you see here are taken from our own copy of the game — the free version which allows for an hour of play before you actually have to pay anything. So technically, anyone with access to the Wii U could download and view these lyrics.

The game isn't created by Nintendo itself, but by Japanese company JOYSOUND. The tracks in the Wii Karaoke U library are taken from JoySound's own servers, but you would have assumed that Nintendo would have checked and verified the track listing before making it available to players.

Other music-based titles — such SingStar and Rock Band — provide "clean" versions of songs which contain swearing. The only hint that something might be amiss is the loading screen, which warns that none of the available tracks have been rated by PEGI — however, this is a pretty standard disclaimer and could well be ignored by parents.

We've contacted Nintendo for official comment and will report back once we have it. In the meantime, you might want to keep your younger relations from playing the game unattended, lest they should shock you later in the day with some choice lyrics from an Afroman song.

Thanks to NoMagRyan for the tip!

From the web

User Comments (103)



ikki5 said:

well, time for them to shut down the Wii Karaoke U service now due to offensive content just like the swapnote.



Nintenjoe64 said:

It's about time someone made an uncensored Karaoke game. I'm pretty sure they took the word Whiskey out of American Pie on Guitar Hero.



Senario said:

@ikki5 a bit needlessly upset aren't we? Nintendo did the right thing for their business as they could possibly get sued for such content on swapnote even though it isn't really their fault kids post their friend codes online everywhere.

And as we all know, lawsuits lose you a lot of money. As for this game, they have a big disclaimer right there saying that the lyrics aren't rated by PEGI. It is just a game and not censoring bad words from songs is extremely different from people sending lewd pictures to kids.



ikki5 said:

I am and I'm not. I just find the choices Nintendo has been making a bit ridiculous. I mean, a few people cause issues so they punish everyone when really, they should have been able to just block the people causing the problems from using the service all together. And honestly, there are many actions they could do to avoid getting sued and all it would require is a few pennies.



Ferret said:

How about actually releasing this in Australia?

We Aussies still haven't been able to get this.



withoutdk said:

who cares....
i dont care for karaoke stuff... and it is mostly crappy offensive music...
the people that listen to this probably know the text already.. so why censor it... if it should come to that



Jazzer94 said:

@ikki5 So you want another service Nintendo runs to be taken offline in response to what happened to Swap Note/Letter Box bit petty really.



Emblem said:

What a non story, there is a clear notice warning you that the songs featured have explicit content.



Senario said:

@ikki5 Such as? Clearly it is a widespread problem and would be exceedingly difficult and expensive to weed out every offender rather than take swapnote down for now while they decide what to do to fix it or if they should fix it with Miiverse coming soon.



Shane904 said:

@Nintenjoe64 They also took the word "cocaine" out of Same Old Song and Dance by Aerosmith in Guitar Hero III. Seems a little silly with all the other "suggestive" things in the game...



Savino said:

Someone really should stop using drugs on nintendo and start making sense!



Jack_Package said:

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns for our Editorial team, you're welcome to get in touch directly via the Contact Form. Thank you! — TBD



zane said:

As we told the other commenter, if you have any genuine questions, comments, or concerns you'd like to share with the Editorial team, their inboxes are open to you — TBD



rjejr said:

"This morning, we reported that Nintendo had disabled Swapnote's SpotPass functionality due to safety concerns. The Japanese giant is clearly mindful of its younger fans, but doesn't seem to have checked the kind of songs which are available through Wii Karaoke U."

Nice way to start off the article by focusing on the hypocrisy Damo, I'm impressed. (How come /s stands for sarcasm but there isn't a similar symbol for sincere? Maybe if the internet had a sincere symbol people would start being nicer to each other.)



unrandomsam said:

Any of the protect the children stuff that is trying to protect them from bad influences just makes them go totally off the rails at the first available chance they have. (Look at the problems the US and UK have with alcohol and young people. The French don't have that problem).



Jack_Package said:

You are more than welcome to focus on discussing the article at hand and not on insulting our staff — TBD



unrandomsam said:

Nintendo is mindful of its younger fans problem is once you can use a controller properly and read there is nothing else for you other than spending progressively more and more and getting less and less out of it. (Some 3ds games you could play with your nose on the circlepad the difficulty is so pointless).



Ernest_The_Crab said:

@unrandomsam It really depends on the rating for the game (not that most parents check those anyways).

I can't seem to find the new game's rating but the Wii version was rated E10+.

Don't forget people also seem to rage when they need to learn a new control scheme. Seems odd especially since you should be a bit more open once you get to the age of some of the older gamers here are.

The whole industry is full of hypocrisy from the developers to the actual customers. At this point, I almost feel we should have another game industry crash just because EVERYONE needs to wake up.



GeminiSaint said:

Um, snitches get stitches?
Nintendo can't stop people from being people.
They really have to rethink their online strategy.



Discipledoctor said:

Man, you guys get some pretty crappy comments on your articles from time to time. I thought it was a pretty funny read, myself.



eza said:

boo, I thought I was the one who tipped you off:

I had a lot of fun attempting to sing Afroman's 'cos I got high the other weekend with my free hour pass - and I normally hate karaoke - I hope they don't remove it or censor it.
But they should definitely adjust the age limit on the game, or introduce content filtering based on parental controls.



JebbyDeringer said:

I really want to go to Japan now and listen to Karaoke with lots of swearing that no one understands



eza said:

ah yeah and it's got sir mixxalot's "baby got back" - great tune that! hardly 'suitable', but I butchered that one too with my free trial
it's amazing the number of songs that I only know the first 30 seconds of...



Morpheel said:

Whats up with the amount of (deleted) NL hate in the comments in this article.



Swiket said:

I bust out laughing when I saw that image of Colt 45 being played. Not gonna post it here because language, but it's out there.



Memeboy3 said:

The reason why Nintendo didn't censor them is because Pretty much all of Pop culture is offensive anyway..If you can't beat 'em, join 'em



antdickens said:

Basically I think someone forgot to check this, it's kind of worrying that any Wii U user of any age can get access to this stuff via a Nintendo application, it doesn't meet their usual standards for quality, whoops.



6ch6ris6 said:

well these games usually have really bad music to begin with so who cares except for the people who actually listen to that stuff?



LittleIrves said:

So people are upset Nintendo does take a stand on inappropriate Swapnote use, and now they're upset they don't censor a game with inappropriate lyrics. Sometimes you can't win.



antdickens said:

@LittleIrves indeed, hopefully people can realise that it's not acceptable to do one and not the other... any parent giving their kid Wii Karaoke U would expect it to be reasonably safe... but some of the lyrics in these songs are far worse than just swearing. At least having parental control over explicit content is a must in this instance.



Capt_N said:

I'm not into karaoke. has anyone ever thought how the word "karaoke" sounds like a blend of coffee?

Anyway, I think Nintendo done the right thing with Swapnote, provided they were in a situation that calls for such (extreme) action; I should hope however, that such material, as child porn for an example of something that warrants such extreme action, has not been on their servers. I would prefer that definitely not be the case. But we do not know what has actually set in motion Nintendo's actions, so it may very well not be anything extreme, or at all. I seriously doubt, that this was just a pr cover-up, while they "subtly" roll out Miiverse, although it is possible, though unlikely.

I agree with the article, & commentors about the "not rated by PEGI" text. That's probably the most likely reason. Also, I know the ESRB has ratings on games sometimes that are, upon more in-depth inspection, either too lenient, or too harsh a rating; some games rated M may have been better rated T, & vice-versa. I would imagine PEGI is a nice gal! Nevertheless, I'm sure they have the same problems as the ESRB.

I imagine in this case, the content that was rated was everything, save the songs themselves, including the ones on the disc/included with the program.



mr570 said:

I have Joysound Karaoke on my Wii (Japanese version) and it has uncensored lyrics to all the songs there. The games works the same way, streaming the tracks from the server on demand. Although its the Japanese version, it has pretty much every english song I could think to query. So this is really nothing new. Just new to the English market I guess. I am certain they are using the same song database for this new iteration of the game.



TheLilK98 said:

I couldn't care less about karaoke, but this is just annoying. "Oh noez, they said a word in a song that the kid has probably already heard before if they're over ten years old. Time to freak out and put this on news sites and contact Nintendo!" Then people wonder why Sony and Microsoft fanboys label Nintendo as a kiddie company. It's because of crap like this. Now Nintendo's going to take down this service, like they do with everything else that isn't suitable for the average eleven-year-old.



ikki5 said:

@Jazzer94 that's not really what I am saying. it is more the fact that they let this go by but take swapnote off just because of a few posts when really, they could have done something like this as well.



OptometristLime said:

Uhm? Isn't this the most juvenile tactic possible to respond with?

So Nintendo fails in certain efforts at censorship, I'm still glad they're trying.



JoakimZ said:

I think it's great, at last a karaoke game without censorship ruining the experience

I don't approve of any form of censorship when it comes to music, films or video games.



GamerZack87 said:

I shudder to imagine the implications of a certain song by UK artist Lily Allen showing up in the game! (O.O)



MAB said:

It's about damn time they released a karaoke game tailored to my native tongue



sinanziric said:

If someone write F word on Miiverse I will throw my Wii U through window. We 27 yr old kids must be aware of such dangers lurking on Miiverse /sarcasm.



Tsuchinoko said:

Joysound is a fairly huge Karaoke chain here in Japan.

I guess many Japanese are used to some lyrics in western songs, especially by certain artists as being dirty, or controversial. Many Japanese songs, even ones by artists that consider themselves "hardcore", don't have lyrics like this. Plus the concept of "swearing" is very different in Japanese, almost non-existent except for a few instances but I've almost never seen those words used in music.
I can see how Joysound might not censor the game properly or at all if the censorship was left up to them, or even to Nintendo of Japan, but NoA or NoE should cover the censorship in their regions if their customers might find it offensive.



Capt_N said:

It makes you wonder if the other karaoke games for Wii, have stuff that slipped the radar?

On a slightly related note: there is a video on Youtube showing that Mega Man 9 does not allow you to call yourself "Sigma", although certain commentors have supposedly confirmed that the game allows real/actual swearing, or at least so with the right combinations of characters.

Truly, though, why do we need expletives in music, even if its purpose is to carry a feeling/tone of anger, heartbreak, etc.?! Anyone who thinks hard enough can easily convey themselves in a decent fashion/manner. Same thing with rhyming lyrics, etc.

In any case, I wonder what action, if any, Nintendo will take?



Cosats said:

There is a greek word for this article I am afraid.

the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.
synonyms: dissimulation, false virtue, cant, posturing, affectation, speciousness, empty talk, insincerity, falseness, deceit, dishonesty, mendacity, pretense, duplicity



Senario said:

@Cosats Not really, you can't compare a few "bad words" to explicit pictures and messages to kids. Even less so when it is in a song that these people probably have heard many times over.



Cosats said:

@Senario, I think we say the same thing. The word hypocrisy was used for the author of this article, not Nintendo.



Senario said:

@Cosats I won't comment on the writer but sorry for the misunderstanding. It is just that gaming news is always either bad or generates a lot of hate even with valid reasoning.

@MagicEmperor a pretty good song.



JaxonH said:

A fair point. Anyone singing karaoke to these kinds of songs obviously listens to that kind of music, and probably already knows the profane-ridden lyrics by heart... so why bother, right?



mamp said:

OMG so I can sing words like **** and **** and ***** and ************ without my words being censored the way they are now? Awesome



zoroarkrules25 said:

This is kind of funny considering recent events, I won't be getting this anyway so it won't affect me.



unrandomsam said:

It is different this though. I can imagine this would be used on a one off basis with parents present in the living room or whatever. Whereas they could get the others with the 3DS in their bag on the way to school (I think ? I installed Nintendo Letter Box but I never used it).



IceClimbers said:

Don't worry, Nintendo will shut down Wonder Trades on X/Y first. Hackers have been sending out hacked Pokemon over Wonder Trade. The receiver gets a Bad Egg instead of the hacked Pokemon, which will multiply inside your boxes and replace your actual Pokemon. If this continues, it could spread on to Pokemon Bank when its released, effectively ruining the service and causing people to lose their precious Pokemon that they've had for years.



Gridatttack said:

censoring is mostly pointless

Because if you already know what the censored word is, not reading it completely doesn't change anything, since you already know what word it is



Contrite said:

Censored music is about the most ridiculous and annoying thing ever.

Censoring also often makes things sound, or look, worse than it actually is. This depends on the type of censoring used, but still.

It's so annoying, trying to find that one song you have plastered unto your brain at the moment, only to realize the edition you found is censored most of the time ruining the rhythm and what not.



jackfrost555 said:

When I was growing up if I was told don't do this or don't do that and I did..... I got in trouble. My mom never blamed tv for me watching it, or a video game company for me playing it, so why is anyone mad about this? I mean seriously is blanking out a word really that much better? When stuff like this happens I always hear "ohhh the children" but what about the adults? How many websites have something saying are you 18? You click yes and you have access I don't believe cussing is mandatory in everyday life and I am not even a big fan of karaoke but at the same time if I want to sing money by pink Floyd it's the word Bs is edited but you can turn on the radio and hear songs like Bruno mars gorilla where he is talking about getting drunk and having sex and because he doesn't use a bad word it's socially acceptable? I say hats off to this company and if you do t want to see it or have your kid see it or hear it take responsibility and quit blaming someone else for your ineptititude at monitoring your own child.



Vincent294 said:

I'm annoyed by excessive censorship, so no censorship of the lyrics is nice. The lack of explicit song warnings however, is a poor decision (Nintendo needs to follow iTunes as an example). I don't know what song that was up there, but man, is that generic. Looks like mainstream rap to me. If you want quality rap (though it still tends to have swearing), listen to Lupe Fiasco, Fort Minor, Kanye West, Hopsin, etc. I think Kanye West is the one of the only rappers to have a profanity-free album, which is a rarity. Swearing when it isn't for the sake of swearing in music is okay on my opinion, but sometimes it seems that isn't always the case.



gurtifus said:

Only one solution : shut down all of the games which use the internet access and come back to the NES era !



AJWolfTill said:

I'm actually more suprised that Freak on a Leash is included in it than the fact explicit words are



LegatoSkyheart said:

Since this is true it should be obvious of what destroyed SwapNote and have potentially delayed Flip Note 3D.
Here's a hint: It wasn't Language.



withoutdk said:


exactly.... and the words are all over the place.. so probably all people in the world knows the word "love" and besides... if parents behave right and learn their children when to use it right... then it will probably be better...
but what the... nintendo cant expect to get 3rd party games that people want to play if there are no offensive stuff in it hehe

i am immune myself to bs
Watch the profanity please — TBD



Quickman said:

..and yet people still moan that there isn't enough "mature content" on Nintendo systems.



AddDavey said:

They should offer both censored and uncensored versions and give a clear indication which one has been chosen, but then again, most of the time you can't buy the uncensored version even if their is a radio edit.



coolvw93 said:

Can they make censoring an option, i wouldnt care but i know it would really matter to people who would use this in a family party setting. I was just surprised that Korn was on this song list.



Alucard83 said:

I'm more surprised that this website censor the bad word! Like kids don't hear bad words outside hahahaha. Last time a friend did write something here and was totally nothing and got banned.



Mallard said:

NL doing a feature on censorship, well it makes sense, they are the experts, in fact the Chinese government think NL policies on censorship are a bit harsh.! (joking)

and to prove the point, I know this post will get removed!



Pod said:

Obscene language in text form from commonly knows songs is hardly the same thing as was Nintendo's issues with SwapNote, in which people were sending personal messages and pictures of an upsetting or improper nature to minors, and said minors returned the favor.



supermonkey117 said:

I think its a bit lazy throwing every thing on nintendo if there is adult content on a console parents should be supervising instead of going oh nooo nintendo shouldnt be doing this 2 words lazy parents.



Grackler said:

Trying to stir things much?
Every few weeks this site has some shoddy, incorrect journalism that they refuse to correct, or a really pointless stirring piece like this that makes me really disappointed that it's the only big Nintendo site on the net. This was the case with Wii U Karaoke before when you covered it, but now ninty might get provoked, it's flagged up particularly. That's a tabloid way of covering things.
Perhaps it should have parental controls enabled on the songs in question, but that's it. Parents should watch what their children do online. It isn't everyone job to toss away what they enjoy doing just because some people don't care enough to monitor these things. It isn't hard.

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