In the magazine business, Back is where you will find all the weird fools that we could not fit in elsewhere. Some might call it “filler”; we prefer “a whole page to make terrible jokes that are tangentially related to the content of mag”.
We do not have pages on the Internet, but we still love terrible jokes – so welcome to our semi-regular feature, Back Page. Today we imagine the phone call it power took place when Microsoft called Nintendo …
Fantastic exclusive scoop, folks: We at Nintendo Life have received a transcript of a phone call between Microsoft’s Phil Spencer and Nintendo of America’s Doug Bowser, shortly after the announcement of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. How did we get it? You do not have to worry about it. Why did our source send it to Nintendo Life, and not a place that writes about Microsoft? You do not have to worry about it.
Our scene begins in the Redmond offices of Microsoft’s Xbox Gaming division. Phil Spencer marches down a hallway, heading for a door with a sign that reads “Phil Spencer’s Room, No PlayStation Fanboys Allowed.” Yes, it was in the printout. Stop asking questions.
PHIL: Marjorie, hold my calls for the next two hours. And cancel all my meetings.
MARJORIE: All your meetings? What about Viva Piñata 3 at 11? I thought you were excited about it …
PHIL: Cancel it.
[Phil Spencer slams his door and slides the “AVAILABLE” sign to “IN A MEETING”. He sits at his gigantic desk and picks up his Master Chief Funko Pop.]
PHIL: Let’s do this, John.
[He picks up the phone and speed-dials “1”.]
DOUG: Hi, Douggy B is talking.
PHIL: Doug! It’s Phil.
DOUG: Phil, I’m pretty busy today, I do not have time for a Smash match …
PHIL: It’s not. It’s … well, did you see the news?
DOUG: That with ActiBlizz? Puff, yes. Was it Game Pass money?
PHIL: Game Pass, Minecraft, Halo, and I also think Satya found a couple of cars in an account he had forgotten.
DOUG: Nice. But what does that have to do with Nintendo?
PHIL: Not much, am I right?
DOUG: Hahahaha yeah, imagine Call of Duty on the switch
PHIL: Hahahaha Crash Bandicoot and Smash Bros
DOUG: But seriously …
PHIL: Well, I’m dead serious about this, Doug. As Activision, Blizzard and King pull in even more money for the Big X, we’ll have to find things to do with all that money.
PHIL: Do you remember the time you laughed us out of space when we offered to buy Nintendo?
DOUG: I was not there, but I heard about it.
PHIL: Well, that was 20 years ago. And now … I have a new business proposal for you, and this time you will not laugh. Because, Doug … we could join forces. Nintendo and Xbox vs. Sony. Red and green against blue. Think about the things we can do together.
DOUG: You offer to buy Nintendo.
PHIL: We could rule the world together.
DOUG: You’re hoping to throw enough money at a 150-year-old video game company that we’ll accept to be owned by Microsoft.
PHIL: For masses of money.
DOUG: Nintendo basically invented you.
PHIL: You should hear me, Doug! Especially now we have got a massive barn of ActiBlizz games. Think of the metaverse possibilities.
DOUG: I’m a fan of the meta-verse, Phil, that’s true.
PHIL: So here’s my pitch. And I’ll give you that in a few handy bullet points because we’re businessmen and we love bullet points.
DOUG: Oh my god, Phil, me love bullets.
PHIL: Okay. Point number one. Three words: Forza … Mario Kart.
PHIL: Do you remember the time you put Mercedes-Benzer in Mario Kart?
DOUG: I really do not want to.
PHIL: Imagine that. But it’s every sports car from the last 50 years. And Mario running them. Imagine this: Yoshi in a Bugatti dropping banana peels out the window. Shy Guy has the top down in a 2010 Audi TT. Bowser shoots it in a Ford Mustang, and Waluigi has an eerie purple Jaguar E-Type.
DOUG: Uh huh. I take notes.
[Doug is doodling Peach in a Mini Cooper.]
PHIL: Dot the second: We could share Chris Pratt.
DOUG: Oh, I love Chris Pratt. He’s a lot of fun. [laughs]
PHIL: I love his movie about the man who has one personality trait and a sixpack!
DOUG: Me too! But it’s more of a deal too you, is it not? I mean, we already have him.
PHIL: Oh. I think so.
[Phil scratches out the words “gritty Guy Ritchie heist movie: Chris Pratt as Clippy?”]
PHIL: So, um … Oh! You can integrate Microsoft characters into Smash Bros. Cortana, Ori, the dog from Fable 2 …
DOUG: The last thing Masahiro Sakurai said to me was “never say the words” Smash Bros. “and” new characters “to me again,” so I don’t think that’s likely.
PHIL: Yes, of course. Yes. Well … Tell you what, we’ll give you Rare back. How does it sound?
DOUG: But we already have Banjo-Kazooie on the way to Nintendo Switch Online.
PHIL: There’s the new Perfect Dark game. It’s an exclusive Xbox.
DOUG: Mmm, but that’s not uncommon, is it?
PHIL: Sea of Thieves?
DOUG: Will not run on the switch. And have you tried use our online multiplayer?
PHIL: Good point. What about the Zelda X Fable?
DOUG: I think incessant fart jokes would give a very strange Zelda.
PHIL: Tingle is definitely farting.
DOUG: Our official internal line of business is “pretend that Tingle never existed”.
PHIL: Candy Crush Go?
DOUG: How would that work at all? Do you catch jelly beans?
PHIL: I do not know! We could just ask Niantic to find out and pull in all the money.
PHIL: Long live Pinata?
DOUG: That’s the most convincing thing you’ve said yet, Philip.
PHIL: Okay, well, well!
[Phil scans his list. Most things are crossed out.]
PHIL: Uhhh … Oh! Here’s a pitch: Screensavers on the Nintendo Switch.
PHIL: Yeah, like … do you remember it with the maze?
DOUG: I do not think anyone uses screensavers anymore.
PHIL: Yeah, because no one really uses CRT monitors yet. Or OLED screens. Riiiiight?
PHIL: Well there are no OLED consoles, haha!
DOUG: … You made your point.
PHIL: And tell you what, we’re throwing in Encarta on Switch.
DOUG: Encarta ?!
PHIL: You love Encarta. I’ve seen the number of hours you put into MindMaze alone.
DOUG: How did you even know that? MindMaze is not even on Steam.
PHIL: I work for Microsoft, Doug. I see everything.
DOUG: So far, your only enticing suggestions have been Viva Piñata and Encarta, Phil. And I do not think Nintendo fans will be interested in a lot of 20 year old games.
PHIL: Is not your whole business model?
DOUG: Shut up.
PHIL: Okay, okay. One last idea for you.
DOUG: It better be good. The higher-ups will not even look at it the way it is.
PHIL: What if … What if I added another Nintendo Switch for my game shelf? Eh?
[Doug hangs up.]
So … it does not look likely that Nintendo will end up in the Xbox’s stable of gaming horses. But perhaps you have a more convincing argument for Doug Bowser? Tell us in the comments.