Things are going pretty well for Nintendo, as of late! The Super Mario Bros. Movie became the highest-grossing video game film adaptation to date, and “Peaches” — Bowser voice actor Jack Black’s original song written and performed for the film — earned him his first-ever solo single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week. That’s good! You know what’s not good? The original Japanese name for Mario and Luigi’s asshole former boss who appears early on in in the movie. So not good, in fact, the company announced on Friday that they’re changing it.
In a tweet published on Nintendo’s official Twitter account (you can tell it’s official, thanks to the golden checkmark), the company announced that the character of Spike, who originally first appeared in the 1984 video game Wrecking Crew and whose original Japanese name was “Blackie,” will officially be renamed as Spike across all regions.
— 任天堂株式会社 (@Nintendo) April 20, 2023
“The name of the character “Blackie” that appears in the family computer software “Wrecking Crew” will be changed to “Spike”, which is the same as the name in Europe and the United States,” Twitter’s auto-generated English translation of the tweet reads. “In addition, the name in “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” released on April 28, 2023 is also “Spike.” (Google translate also yielded this translation.)
Given the enormous box office success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, it makes sense that Nintendo would want to be proactive in amending Spike’s frankly insensitive name before it sparks a controversy. “Blackie” is an incredibly unfortunate name — for so many reasons — so it’s an unambiguously good call on Nintendo’s part to change it. Surely no one will complain in bad faith about how renaming poor ‘ol Blackie is somehow an act of “erasing history” or how their childhood has somehow been retroactively “ruined” because of this common sense decision, right? Right!