Nintendo apologizes for lack of virtual equality

Game won't include same-sex unions.
Associated Press
May 11, 2014

Nintendo is apologizing and pledging to be more inclusive after being criticized for not recognizing same-sex relationships in English editions of a life-simulator video game. The publisher said that while it was too late to change the current game, it was committed to building virtual equality into future versions.

Nintendo came under fire from fans and gay rights organizations this past week after refusing to add same-sex relationship options to the game "Tomodachi Life."

"We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life," Nintendo said in a statement released Friday. "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."

The game was originally released in Japan last year and features a cast of Mii characters — Nintendo's personalized avatars of real players — living on a virtual island. Gamers can do things like shop, play games, go on dates, get married and encounter celebrities like Christina Aguilera and Shaquille O'Neal. Already a hit in Japan, "Tomodachi Life" is set for release June 6 in North America and Europe.

Tye Marini, a 23-year-old gay Nintendo fan from Mesa, Arizona, launched a social media campaign last month seeking virtual equality for the game's characters.

"I want to be able to marry my real-life fiancé's Mii, but I can't do that," Marini said in a video posted online that attracted the attention of gaming sites and online forums this past week. "My only options are to marry some female Mii, to change the gender of either my Mii or my fiancé's Mii or to completely avoid marriage altogether and miss out on the exclusive content that comes with it."

Marini said Saturday that he was "very happy" with Nintendo's response. "I don't believe they are a homophobic company at all," Marini said. "I think that the exclusion of same-sex relationships was just an unfortunate oversight."

Yet the issue does mark a cultural divide between Japan, where gay marriage is not legal, and North America and Europe, where gay marriage has become legal in some places. It also highlights the problems with "localization," the process when games are changed to suit different locales and customs.

The uproar prompted Kyoto, Japan-based Nintendo Co. and its subsidiary Nintendo of America Inc. to pledge to create a more inclusive "Tomodachi" installment in the future.

"We are committed to advancing our longtime company values of fun and entertainment for everyone," Nintendo said on Friday. "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."

While many English-language games don't feature gay characters, several role-playing series produced by English-speaking developers, such as Electronic Arts, "The Sims," Microsoft Studios' "Fable" and Bethesda Softworks' "The Elder Scrolls," have allowed players to create characters that can woo others of the same sex, as well as marry and have children.

After Nintendo said this past week — in response to Marini's growing campaign — that it wouldn't add same-sex relationship options to "Tomodachi Life," the publisher of such gaming franchises as "The Legend of Zelda" and "Mario Bros." was called out by fans and organizations such as the gay advocacy group GLAAD.

"Nintendo has taken a first step, but if the company's longtime values are rooted in 'fun and entertainment for everyone,' then it needs to catch up to peers like Electronic Arts, which has been inclusive of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) gamers for years," said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement.

 

Comments

Bottom Line

I want so bad for this to be a joke. Yet I know it's not. Nobody should have to cater to the "demands" of such unbelievable whining from toxic losers with way too much time on their hands... This garbage has got to stop... But it won't.

mikeylikesit

yes!

gennycreamale

Cmon now!! Do what you want and love who you want but don't push it all on everyone else. I don't push my beliefs on others and this world would be a ton better if we respected each other more without forcing or beliefs on each other so much. Get over it!

G_Richardson

That's why i play Sony online games where my dark elf Mage (Lvl 80)can marry a Gnome (I have a thing for short women) and not be judged for it. I still believe however that Trolls should not marry Ogres because their kids usually come out really slow, I mean real slow (Not to mention ugly as heck) and that's not fair to the kids but that is just my opinion and really doesn't matter much.
Yes the idea of two male Froglok's having maritals sorta turns my stomach but then again i do not hang around many Frogloks anyways and could care less what they do in their swamps. The point is it is a game and should not be taken so seriously. Games are a escape from reality not a place to air social grievances that happen IRL.

JMOP

Hahaha G_Richardson

I'm in for the kills. I don't want my Spartans mingling with the Covenant, come on now, that's just not natural.

mikeylikesit

i cant believe the reverend fred "thinkagain" phelps isn't attacking this with his typical fire and brimstone approach..

mikeylikesit

to be honest, although i often do not agree with him, i do look forward to his comments, i must admit..

thinkagain

I was going to pass on this one, but never let it be said thinkagain disappointed a fan.

NOTHING these days is too outrageous, that the godless won’t utilize through every media device available, to destroy morality and desensitize our children to their God given conscience. ;)