Nintendo of America has announced that its Tomodachi Life 3DS game will NOT be altered to allow same-sex couples to fall in love or get married when the game is released in America and Europe in June. The announcement comes after it was revealed in a Kotaku article last month that the Japanese game had originally contained a 'glitch' that allowed same-sex couples to exist within the game. This was part of a software bug which, as well as allowing same-sex relationships, also allowed Tomodachi Mii characters to be assigned to various already-married Mii households within the game.
Nintendo quickly created a patch code to correct the glitch, which then made it impossible to assign new Mii characters to married households, and furthermore, made it impossible for same-sex characters fall in love, get married or have children. Same-sex couples were never part of the original game as gay marriage is still illegal in Japan.
As the Western release of the game is based on the original Japanese codes, players in America and Europe will also be denied the chance to create same-sex couples, which has angered Nintendo fans who argue that as the game is supposed to be a realistic representation of their own social group of friends and family, they should have the right to choose to have same-sex couples within the game.
Tye Marini,a gay 23-year old Nintendo fan from Arizona, had launched a campaign urging Nintendo to allow same-sex relationships. The Social Media "Miiquality" campaign had been fighting to get Nintendo to change their mind about the marriage equality in Tomodachi Life, as he argued that fans who chose to create same-sex couples within the game would never be able to experience much of the exclusive content that becomes unlocked after characters have fallen in love.
Nintendo has responded to its angry fans by claiming that: "Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of 'Tomodachi Life', 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." [sourced from: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/07/nintendo-miiquality-campaign-gay-tomodachi-life]
Nevertheless, whether the game was intended to provide a social commentary or not, as a game which has marketed itself on allowing players to recreate Mii avatars of their own family and friends and have them interact together in a realistic way, it seems rather remiss of Nintendo not to allow western same-sex couples the chance to interact together in the game when they normally would fall in love and get married etc., in real life.
However, it can also be argued that other Life Simulation games have also suffered from these kinds of prejudices in the past, including the ever-popular The Sims franchise, who (although choosing to feature same-sex couples and marriage,) did not feature any physically-disabled Sims , which upset some players who argued that they could not create a realistic avatar of themselves within the game.
In this enlightened age when equal rights is considered to be a very important issue, it is disappointing to see Nintendo not taking the feelings and wishes of its fans into account. If we are going to have games which feature real-life simulations, then don't the producers owe it to the fans who play the games to make them as prejudice-free and true to real life as possible?
HAVE YOUR SAY...
Is it right for the needs and wishes of different social groups to be omitted from the video games which claim to represent real-life demographics?
What are the difficulties in trying to change or modify games to feature various marginalised sections of the community?
Should same-sex couples be given equal rights in Tomodachi Life?
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