Nintendo has always has a reputation of being a family-friendly brand, right from the days of the NES when the firm would painstakingly censor many of its games to ensure there was zero chance of them causing offence. While the company's stance arguably softened during the GameCube years, by the time the DS came along, Nintendo was ready to enter a new period of family-friendly marketing – and the results speak for themselves, with the DS selling over 150 million units worldwide.
However, Slopes Game Room has unearthed one piece of promotion from this period which was unashamedly mature in tone and very much at odds with Nintendo's typical stance. At the UK's 'Download' heavy metal festival in 2005 – which showcased acts such as Black Sabbath, My Chemical Romance, Billy Idol, Motörhead, Slipknot and Megadeth – Nintendo erected a tent as part of its 'Touch Me' Tour to promote the touchscreen-ready DS console.
Inside were demo pods where festival-goers could sample the latest DS titles, but one of the main draws of the tent was an open mic section where attendees were encouraged to step up and tell jokes, with the results being broadcast not just in the tent itself, but also outside via a big-screen.
As you can imagine, the kind of jokes being told by drunk and rather rowdy rock fans wouldn't have correlated closely with Nintendo's usual marketing stance, and it's said that people manning the stand had access to a button which was intended to cut-short the audio if any of the jokes took an 'adult' turn (spoiler alert: most of them did). Amazingly, though, Nintendo didn't make any attempt to remove the open-mic section from the tent during the three days it was in use, so it was clear that whoever was in charge didn't have a massive problem with it.
Indeed, while it's tempting to brand this as something of an ill-judged PR stunt on Nintendo's part, it would seem whoever arranged the tent was fully aware of what would happen. Emblazoned on one side of the tent is 'The Bear', a crude character created for Leigh Francis' late-night sketch show Bo' Selecta.
Amazingly, no footage of the inside of the tent appears to exist online. If you attended Download that year, let us know with a comment – perhaps you were brave enough to take to the stage and tell one of your best (worst) jokes?