I’m Daniel Switzer, I made @BadMiiversePost in March of 2013. It was a dumb account three years ago, it’s still a dumb account now.
The goal was, to but it bluntly, laugh at children who wrote or put silly things on Miiverse.
I’ve spent several years scrolling through the various communities that Miiverse has to offer, like The Year of Luigi community, the YouTube community, or the Rabbids Land community, home of the Willem Dafoeverse.
I have gazed into the abyss, and it has gazed back to me. But its form has taken the shape of a Shigeru Miyamoto parody account.
And I am terrified.
Let me be clear from the start, this is about ethics in stupid video-game-related Twitter accounts. I don’t really care that the Miiverse pictures I tweet on @BadMiiversePost are posted elsewhere. I didn’t make them, and most of the time I didn’t find them (hence why I put a (via @) in every post). I’m writing this mainly on the behalf of other accounts on Twitter. @BadMiiversePost is a silly account with a silly premise, I don’t think of it as the pinnacle of amazing Twitter memes. I’m just tired of these awful aggregation accounts that just spurt out content* in order to get retweets and followers.
*When I mention content, I’m referring to tweets, jokes, pictures, gifs, videos etc.
And the worst part about it, is that these accounts hide behind the label of ‘parody’. Remember when parody actually meant something? Instead it means “I’m using a someone else’s popularity in order to gain retweets and resolve myself of any blame if I get called out on taking content”
My resent for parody accounts doesn’t just come from those accounts though, I used to run one! I made a Reggie Fils-Aime parody account that got semi-popular. But soon enough I was just shit talking other developers, and instead of taking on the persona of Reggie, my main focus was “How can I get the most amount of retweets?”.
At some point, I believe someone at Nintendo saw the account and got Twitter to take it down temporarily, instructing I properly label it as a parody account. I did and it was swiftly restored. But it got me wondering if the real Reggie had seen the account, and wondering what his reaction was. Perhaps he laughed, perhaps he was pissed, seeing his imaged being exploited for some numbers on Twitter. I’ll never know. Eventually, I got bored with the account, left it to die, and in the end I deleted it.
But the one thing I didn’t do was deliberately take someone else’s content, scrub watermarks and post it as my own. That seemed like a morally wrong thing to do. I’m not pretending that professional comedians and dumb Twitter memes have the same leve of importance, but if any comedian went around stealing jokes and sets from other comedians, they’d be called out for it, right away.
You might be thinking: “They’re just fucking memes, Daniel, calm down. Why do you care so much?”. Well, this is why:
It just grinds me down.
I’m going to post some tweets now, from the Shigeru Miyamoto ‘parody’ account, because I genuinely don’t believe they know why myself and others* get annoyed by this shit. For some reason, the owner of the account deleted these after our, let’s say, debate, on Twitter last night. Either they realised they were wrong, or they didn’t really stand by what they meant, or maybe they were embarrassed. Who knows. Anyway. Thanks to @songofalchemy for the screen captures.
*Several other popular video game Twitter accounts have messaged me, expressing their distaste for the @RealShigeruM account and others like it.
First of all, I never claimed to own Miiverse, that is obviously dumb. I’ve never claimed to own any of the content I post either, hence why I tag whoever sends me the post in each Tweet.
Angry would be an exaggeration. I’m not angry, I’m a mixture of disappointed and annoyed. Not annoyed for myself, but on behalf of friends. I’ve witnessed this account take content from people I followed within less than an hour. An example via @Nibellion. Another from @songofalchemy (original, repost) which took no less than three days.
Another example. On Saturday, Kotaku posted this video, “Pokémon GO Player Finds A Use For All Those Pidgeys“. They include the actual YouTube link. Of course, in the spirit of taking content and not properly crediting it, the video was downloaded and uploaded by multiple Twitter accounts. Popular Pokémon GO account @CatchEmAll uploads the raw video at 11:01 PM (my time), and a whole five minutes later @RealShigeruM tweets the exact same thing. Not even crediting the @CatchEmAll account (which would have been wrong, but still a decent thing to do if you think that’s where the video came from), nor posting the actual YouTube video. Because that wouldn’t get as many retweets. I refuse to believe that neither account knows where the video came from, considering how recently it was made.
The appeal to common practice in “the whole of Twitter does that? Nobody cares” is dumb. I won’t make ridiculous comparisons, but it’s a silly fallacy that needs to be retired. Because other people are doing it, it makes it okay? No. Work to be better than those people. It costs you nothing. And people do care. Content creators care (though I don’t call myself one, before you start, I know I’m a dumb account). I’m talking about artists and video producers who rely on recognition to get by. When you take their content and don’t even credit them, you’re basically saying “fuck you” to them.
This one made me laugh the most. In case it’s not clear, this tweet was made in sarcasm. Yes, memes are content. They’ve started to become some of the biggest pieces of content shared online. Memes have outgrown their crude origins. They’re a part of jokes, marketing and even awful video games.
Okay, so this was the one that annoyed me the most. “You should be proud that I stole your tweet/joke/picture/video and reposted it with no accreditation. It means you did good!”
No, that’s not how this should work and is an incredibly toxic attitude to have. Might as well only have one person on the whole of Twitter, and everyone else can just submit their content to that one person. If it’s good enough, it gets posted! Good for you, though you won’t get any recognition.
This account has even become meta. It continually laughs at itself for stealing memes, as if it’s some sort of gimmick. Well it’s not, it’s poor form. At this point, you have to wonder, how on earth is this account a parody of legendary games designer Shigeru Miyamoto? Just be honest and call yourself a Nintendo related shitpost account. There’s no need to degrade Miyamoto’s name with your asinine posts. I fear we’re through the looking glass here, and this parody Miyamoto has become a character that cannot be changed. Perhaps I’m just shouting into the void at this point.
All of this ‘drama’ is so dumb, because Twitter literally has a solution to all this. It’s called a ‘retweet’. A handy button that allows you to directly share someone’s content with your followers in under a second. Perhaps Twitter should come with an instruction guide, or a super guide. You’re a fan of those, right Mr. Miyamoto?
Final thing. While I’m not 100% certain of the identity of the person behind the @RealShigeruM parody account, I’m fairly sure they run this @Miiverse account too. Again, this tweet has since been deleted, but they delightfully decided to call me a ‘nonce’, which, where I come from, refers to someone who has sexually abused a child. Nothing like a libelous statement to help strengthen your brand, eh?
At the end of the day, I feel bad for the real Shigeru Miyamoto, who has probably scrolled through this account, lost a few points from his IQ, and therefore can no longer make good games.
To everyone else who read this and thought to themselves, “Why the fuck are there people arguing about memes online?”