Nintendo apologizes in Tomodachi Life same-sex story
Redmond, WA – in a statement released today, Nintendo of America addressed the controversy in the upcoming relief of Tomodachi Life, a new game that allows you to simulate social interaction with characters you design and collect. The game garnered some negative attention from supporters of same-sex marriage who were upset that the game did not include the capacity for same-sex relationships, marriages and family units.
The statement, reproduced below, acknowledges that the company has upset many of its players, but explains why adding the functionality is not possible before or after the release.
Nintendo is Committed to Fun and Entertainment for Everyone
Redmond, Wash. — 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.
— Nintendo of America
The controversy started when American websites began incorrectly reporting news that the original Japanese version of the game had a bug that allowed same-sex characters to marry, a bug that had been patched. This was not the case – two stories were being confused, as Nintendo’s Bill Trinen explained. The bug was to fix a data leak issue. Japanese players have been able to simulate same sex relationships by dressing one of a pair of characters in clothing of the opposite gender so to male or female looking characters could marry and have children.
While Nintendo has stated they “never intended to make any form of social commentary ” with the game, many have made the argument that to choose not to include same-sex relationships could be seen as a commentary in and of itself. Their promise to address the issue in a future installment of the series is a promising move, but it must be pointed out that the previous version of the game came out five years ago, and was never released in the US. Also, such a new game would be predicated on sales of this one, and if a boycott goes forward, that would only reduce sales, and make another game that much less unlikely.
Many of Nintendo’s other social sim games better address the LGBT community to a greater degree. Animal Crossing: New Leaf features clothing in both male and female styles, but can be work by characters by either gender. Gracie the Giraffe, the game’s arbiter of fashion is a female character in most of the world, but in the original release, with not a single pixel changed, is a male. Similarly the new release Disney Magical World features a wide assortment of costumes and outfits that can be worn by either gender. In both games, characters compliment your selection in clothes without a negative comment or querulous look if you choose non-traditional garb. Neither games feature actual relationships between characters, but the open attitude towards dress is certainly progressive.
Tomodachi Life is not as interactive as the aforementioned games, either. The actions of the characters in this game are largely random and outside the player’s control. Characters fall in love and marry randomly, so while they do fall in love along more hetero-standard lines, it was not intended as a deliberate block keeping the players from experiencing the game as they wish.
- Understanding Nintendo’s Tomodachi Life problem(gamasutra.com)