Splatfest fallout: Why isn’t merit rewarded in Splatoon?

Popularity contest burns Team Cat

Perhaps the greatest injustice of the year happened over the July 4 weekend. Nintendo’s shooter Splatoon ran its first splatfest event, pitting cats versus dogs. The sides shot it out while less patriotic Americans were shooting off fire crackers instead of taking part in a two-party democratic process.

Those that did, however, should feel betrayed.

Team Cat outperformed Team Dog, taking a casually superior 51% of wins (to Dog’s 49%). It was a very Team Cat move, not expending any more effort than was absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, being objectively better at the game didn’t net a victory for Team Cat, which was bested in “Popularity,” only pulling 38% to Team Dog’s 68%. Aside from being one painful number shy of 69%, it made for an easy 140-160 win for Team Dog.

Look, I love dogs. Some of my best friends are dogs and I’ve had more dogs for longer periods of time than I have cats. But sport — not that video games are sport, for the record — is meant to be the last bastion of fairness. Merit is meant to matter. Instead Nintendo turned this into a (literal) popularity contest. Should the NBA have awarded a 21-61 Lakers team the NBA championship this year instead of the San Francisco Warrior’s team that earned it just because people wrongly think Los Angeles is a nice place? No.

Please, Splatoon. Stop the madness.

Steven Hansen