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Nintendo Refuses to Add Same-Sex Marriage to Tomodachi Life
Nintendo have announced that they will not be adding same-sex marriage to the upcoming English port of the virtual life simulation game Tomodachi Life, despite a passionate social media campaign.
The game allows player avatars, called Miis to engage in social interactions such as dating and eventually marrying. However the game does not allow for same-gendered Miis to engage in these activities.
Nintendo of America said, in an official statement to Associated Press, that the omission of same-sex relationships was not intended as a form of social commentary.
“The relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation. We hope that all of our fans will see that ‘Tomodachi Life’ was intended to be a whimsy and quirky game, and that we were absolutely not trying to provide social commentary.”
Same-sex marriage is currently legal in Canada and some parts of the United States. However it’s illegal in Japan, which likely influenced Nintendo’s decision when developing the game for a Japanese release.
Nintendo told Associated Press in an emailed statement that “the ability for same-sex relationships to occur in the game was not part of the original game that launched in Japan, and that game is made up of the same code that was used to localize it for other regions outside of Japan.”
Tye Marini, a 23 year old gay Nintendo fan launched the Miiquality campaign and posted a video last week on Vimeo.
“I want to be able to marry my real-life fiance’s Mii, but I can’t do that,” Marini said in the video. “Not being able to date and marry the gender that I’m attracted to in real life really takes all of the immersion and fun out of the game for me.” Marini has been wanting to play Tomodachi Life ever since the release of Tomodachi Collection on the Nintendo DS exclusively in Japan.
“Now we are finally getting a localized version of the 3DS sequel, yet it’s hard for me to be excited about it knowing that I won’t be able to fully enjoy with the relationship limitations in place.”
Marini mentions in the video that he is not calling for gamers to boycott Tomodachi Life. “Boycotting the game would do more harm than it would good,” Marini says.
Tomodachi Life is scheduled to release in North America and Europe on June 6 for the Nintendo 3DS. For more information on the Miiquality movement, visit the links below.
I've long heard that it's a coding problem that prevents Nintendo from adding on such features at a moment's notice. As to why it wasn't implemented in the first place? It does come down to domestic marketing of course, and there are a few places even less friendly to marriage equality than here, sad as it is to say.
I am not gay and wish the best for gay couples to be positively represented, especially in gaming. I for one, though, wonder if it's a question of whether the game intends to be a social commentary or not. Perhaps like most issues of gender and racial equality in most games, maybe choosing not to feature gay marriage is Nintendo's own way of being reluctant to poorly showcase gay couples as a disservice. That would of course, mean not featuring marriage at all, which in hindsight may have been the better option.
I fully support Tye Marini's campaign, of course, and wish everyone the best in getting this kind of recognition from Nintendo. It's a problem I respect folks for valiantly solving, though I don't think Nintendo meant any ill will by this. I simply wonder if it's more a priority fighting the good fight in the real world more than the virtual one.