PBS's YouTube Portal, the Ideal Channel, which tries to connect the dots when it comes to pop culture, art, and technology, has just posted another scintillating clip about video games.

Previous installments have pondered the idea that Minecraft is ushering in a post-scarcity economy and that Microsoft is a modern day arts benefactor thanks to the Kinect.

The most recent one is all about one of the hottest games going at the moment: "Animal Crossing: New Leaf." And the question asked? If it promotes otaku citizenship. Huh? Exactly.

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America's video game ratings board and the country's most prominent seller of used games say that this week's "Animal Crossing" N-word incident doesn't expose a weakness in the ratings accuracy of used games.

Earlier this week we broke the news that copies of "Animal Crossing: Wild World" sent to reporters included a player-added racial slur. In what appeared to be meant in a hip-hop sense, rather than a term of offense, a character had been set up to greet the player with the word "N---a."

Nintendo quickly apologized and called for a return of the games, but the incident indicated a possible vulnerability in the ratings on used games.

"Animal Crossing" is rated E for everyone. And while the box does indicate that the "Game Experience May Change During Online Play," nothing on the box indicates that someone obtaining a used game might be exposed to some non-E-rated content.

I contacted the Entertainment Software Ratings Board and GameStop, which includes sales of used games as a significant part of its business, to get their thoughts on this apparent loophole. Read More...

When Stephen opened up the copy of "Animal Crossing: Wild World" that Nintendo send him to demonstrate the ability to transfer items to "Animal Crossing: City Folk," he didn't expect one of the town's inhabitants to drop a racial slur.

Nintendo had since released an official statement about the incident.

"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."

Considering how much effort Nintendo has put into protecting its users from offensive content via Friend Codes and the like, this accident is a bit humorous. Have you encountered anything like it in your own "Animal Crossing" adventures?

Video game companies send me games: not surprising. Yesterday, Nintendo sent me a game they played for me: say what?

In my mailbox yesterday was a copy of 2005's "Animal Crossing: Wild World" for the DS out of the shrinkwrap and accompanied with a letter on Nintendo stationery written in the voice of the game's Mayor Tortimer, encouraging me to use this copy of the game to import all of its unlocked items and its character to "Animal Crossing: City Folk" on the Wii.

Nintendo must have known that I'm terrible at "Animal Crossing" and thought I'd need help. So they unlocked a lot of content for me. They appear to have quite accidentally gotten a bit hip-hop about all this. Whoever played this game for me back at Nintendo trained at least one of the characters to greet me with the line [censored here]: "How are you, N---a?"

A few things worth noting:

So far "Animal Crossing: City Folk" is very similar to its DS predecessor "Wild World," but there is one major difference: I can put myself in the game.

The new Wii version allows you to incorporate your Mii avatars into the game.

I tried a few Mii makeovers, and there are a few things you should know before you spend your hard-earned Bells... Read More...

Last night I attended a "Girls Night Out" event which focused on "Animal Crossing: City Folk."

So how did Nintendo try to sell "Animal Crossing" to a group of women?


It's time to let the cat out of the bag.

After our judges and readers have helped us choose the greatest horse, canine, bird, aquatic creature, and reptile/amphibian, this month they helped us decide which virtual feline is the best one of all video games.

Our regular animal judges -- Capcom senior producer Morgan Gray, I Can Has Cheezburger co-founder Tofuburger and Kotaku news editor Leigh Alexander -- are joined by Evan Narcisse, freelance game journalist for Crispy Gamer, Entertainment Weekly and the Washington Post.

And the winner is...

Even though Multiplayer editor Stephen Totilo tried to torture his own cat with "Wii Fit," we here at MTV really do love our feline friends.

That's why we're continuing our year-long quest to find the Greatest Animal in the History of Video Games with the nominees for the greatest video game cat. The feline champion, decided at the end of the month by our panel of judges and readers, will go on to the final round among the other categories later this year.

And as always, we ask readers to write in their votes for their favorites as well as ones we've missed for consideration. First up...


vgbirds.jpgVideo games are for the birds.

At least this month they are.

In our year-long quest to find the Greatest Animal in the History of Video Games, we listed every bird we could think of (and yes, we know we forgot the "Zelda" chickens, and we're still not sure if Birdo is a bird).

Thankfully, our readers and judges helped us by picking their favorites.

Here's our all-star panel of judges for this round:

  • Russ Frushtick, Games Editor at UGO

Unlike last time where Ecco the Dolphin won almost unanimously, this time the votes got tangled up in a few ties. Read on to see which bird(s) ultimately won, which ones readers liked best and which judge actually chose the chickens from "Chicken Run" as their top choice... Read More...

parappa_firstplace.jpgEvery dog has his day...

And today is that day for one video game dog (or wolf).

This year, we've embarked on a quest to find the Greatest Animal in the History of Video Games. First, we had judges choose the best horse.

And now, our fine panel has chosen the Greatest Canine in Video Games from a list of nominees that we listed last month (along with readers' suggestions).

This time around, our judges panel included:

  • Brian Crecente, managing editor of Kotaku

We've weighted each judge's top three picks, and the winner is...

PaRappa the Rapper, who topped the list for three out of our four judges. Meanwhile, Brown from "Rule of Rose" took second place, and the undead dogs from "Resident Evil" were third place.

And the Readers' Choice winner: a four-way tie, with readers giving props to K.K. Slider from "Animal Crossing," Amaterasu from "Okami," the "Duck Hunt" dog and Sam from "Sam & Max."

Do the judges know what they're talking about? Read on for the judges' individual choices and reasoning. First up, Evan Wells of Naughty Dog... Read More...

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