I love Nintendo. I have extremely high hopes for them regardless of how much I think they are screwing up. I think they are doing a lot of things right, but I also think they are doing a lot of things wrong. With just a couple of tweaks here and there, I think they could be doing everything right.
Nintendo Calling Same Sex Marriage ‘Strange’ And A ‘Bug’ Is Not Okay
The other day Kotaku reported that Nintendo has submitted a patch for Tomodachi Collection: New Life for the 3DS, a life simulation game that very much screams Animal Crossing without the animals and such, that disables same sex marriages between Miis. What Nintendo has called a bug was being heralded by the LGBT gaming community as a big stepping stone in the video game platform alongside big titles like Mass Effect and Dragon Age. It is now gone from the game.
Not only was this deemed a bug but Nintendo’s labeling of the patch note as “human relations that became strange” is also another hit against the growing community.
Now, this is their game and they can do what they want with it but it very much surprises me that their PR department thought this was a good way of going about patching it out. I, myself, am not gay but I know many people who are – both friends and family. The world is changing and in most cases the word tolerance has morphed into acceptance as the LGBT community is quickly becoming something normal in everyday life.
If Tomodachi Collection was never meant to allow this then why not just say “this feature was not meant to be in the game and to preserve the original vision of the product we have decided to disable same sex marriages. We apologize for any inconvenience.” That statement would still receive some sort of commotion from supporters of same sex marriages but not to this degree. The question would be “why not just leave it in there?” instead of “is Nintendo homophobic?”
What makes this even worse is that Nintendo has put this change in a vital patch. Apparently Tomodachi Collection can have some issues with saving and even loading up properly. The patch that disables same sex marriages also fixes those very crucial issues. Basically, if you wish to continue supporting the game as it was pre-patch, you may have to deal with some frustrating problems. Nintendo has to know that issues with save data and crashes are something every gamer wants to see fixed but not everyone wishes same sex marriage to be gone from Tomodachi Collection. It’s a crossroad that is hitting a lot of emotions right now in the gaming community.
Nintendo isn’t known for including many hot topics from real life in their games but the absence of same sex marriages was also a big topic when Fire Emblem: Awakening released. In that game you are able to create relationships and even marry other characters. You would then see children enter the game and even become party members. It’s understood that the basis for these relationships is to introduce the sons and daughters as characters but many fans still wished to see same sex marriages finally come to Fire Emblem.
In the end, companies and people are going to do what they want. It’s understandable that same sex marriages were never supposed to be in Tomodachi Collection but the way that Nintendo has gone about declaring that and then implementing the change is a problem. It screams intolerance and goes against a large and growing community that has gained so much support through hard times. This is a company with a big platform in its industry. This is also a company that has fans from every walk of life and situation. Since the Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo has been the public face and household name of gaming and to handle a situation like this is big news.
Nintendo has yet to comment on how this issue has been handled but many are hoping for a way to update Tomodachi Collection without sacrificing a “bug” they find to be a great feature. The Big N has missed out on a huge opportunity to support a large network of gamers who either support or are a part of the LGBT community. Even if they never put same sex marriage or relations in another game, they would still be remembered for supporting a huge change in our world’s culture and society.
Instead, they now have a PR nightmare brewing and it will be interesting to see how this all turns out. I won’t stop supporting Nintendo because of this but I am very disturbed that a company who has always been about bringing new people into the gaming world and supporting all types of gamers has basically slapped a portion of their fanbase in the face.
That is not the Nintendo I know.