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Nintendo “Apologizes” For Lack of Gay Marriages in TOMODACHI LIFE

Posted on May 9, 2014 at 2:46 pm by Amanda Andonian


Two days ago, Nintendo told the Associated Press that it never meant to make a “social statement” by not including gay marriage in Tomodachi Life, which set off a firestorm of debate across the gaming industry. In that interview, Nintendo said, “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 whimsical and quirky game, and that we were absolutely not trying to provide social commentary.” As Dave Thier mentions, however, the very fact that Nintendo excluded gay relationships is social commentary in and of itself, “just a more commonly accepted variant.”

Of course, that’s of little consolation to fans of Tomodachi Life who want to marry their real-life partners in the game. Since it uses the player’s Mii avatar (which most people create to be a virtual representation of themselves), the fact that Nintendo won’t allow for gay relationships in the game is not “whimsical and quirky” as far as gay players are concerned—it’s just rude. After all, if the game is truly about “Your friends. Your drama. Your life,” then why doesn’t it represent every type of player?

In response to the furor that erupted online over the AP article, Nintendo released the following statement today:

We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to change this game’s design, and such a significant development change can’t be accomplished with a post-ship patch. At Nintendo, dedication has always meant going beyond the games to promote a sense of community, and to share a spirit of fun and joy. We are committed to advancing our longtime company values of fun and entertainment for everyone. We pledge that if we create a next installment in the Tomodachi series, we will strive to design a game-play experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players.

It’s a rather lukewarm and somewhat inadequate response, and no doubt it will do little to alleviate the sense of exclusion that many players feel with regards to the lack of gay relationship options. Moreover, it’s difficult to believe that a post-ship patch is impossible at this point, especially given the prevalence of such patches in game development these days. However, we’ll have to leave that debate up to actual programmers with experience in this sort of issue.

You can follow Amanda on Twitter at @reiko516 for more geek news.

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