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Shufflegate refers to an online controversy surrounding a joke made in the upcoming Nintendo game Paper Mario: Color Splash, which many interpreted as a reference to the "Five Guys Burgers and Fries" joke mocking indie game developer Zoe Quinn during the beginning of the GamerGate movement.
During the Nintendo Treehouse livestream event at E3 on June 15th, 2016, the company played demo footage for the upcoming game Paper Mario: Color Splash, which included a group of dancing toads referred to as "five fun guys" followed by a character saying "I can see the headline now: 'Shufflegate: Exposed!'" (shown below).
On June 22nd, Zoe Quinn tweeted two screenshots from the demo and accused Nintendo of making her "suffering into a fucking joke" (shown below). Within 48 hours, the tweet gained over 1,700 retweets and 1,700 likes.
On June 23rd, YouTuber MundaneMatt posted a video about #ShuffleGate (shown below).
The same day, a discussion thread about the controversy reached the front page of /r/KotakuInAction. Meanwhile, Redditor adezero posted a mock version of Quinn's original tweet written from the perspective of Richard Nixon, gathering upwards of 2,400 votes (89% upvoted) and 130 comments within 24 hours.
On June 23rd, Nintendo released a statement denying the joke's connection to Gamergate and Zoe Quinn, claiming it was a reference to the 1970s political scandal Watergate:
"As many have observed, when viewed in its entirety the Nintendo Treehouse: Live segment for Paper Mario: Color Splash from E3 includes two jokes separated by commentary and gameplay that have no relation to each other. One joke has to do with Watergate, while the other is a nod to the Fungi Fun Guys from Mario Party 8. It was brought to our attention today that these two jokes have been spliced together and misconstrued as a crude reference to an online hate campaign. While we typically do not speak on localization matters, we feel the need to confirm that these jokes are not linked in the game and were never intended to be linked. Nintendo firmly rejects the harassment of individuals in any way and was surprised to learn that its gameplay was misinterpreted in this manner. – Nintendo of America"
On June 24th, Quinn tweeted that she was "glad the Nintendo thing seems to be an extremely specific unfortunate coincidence."
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