Nintendo won’t allow same-sex relationships in game

8 May 2014

Japanese gaming company Nintendo is under fire after stating it refuses to include gay characters in its game Tomodachi Life because it doesn’t want the game to be a “social commentary”.

“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,” Nintendo’s American division said in a statement.

According to the BBC, a fan-led social media campaign has been developing, asking Nintendo to add characters in same-sex relationships to Tomodachi Life.

The game features personalised avatars of real players, or ‘Mii’ characters, living on a virtual island. In the game, players may control a number of different characters on the 3DS hand-held console, similar to another popular life-simulation game, The Sims, which has been on the market in various guises since 2000.

The Nintendo fan who launched the social media campaign is 23-year-old Tye Marini, who under the Twitter handle of @miiquality, is calling on the gaming company to address the realities of life. The Associated Press quoted him as having said, “I want to be able to marry my real-life fiance Mii, but I can’t do that.

“My only options are to marry some female Mii, to change the gender of either my Mii or my fiance’s Mii or to completely avoid marriage altogether and miss out on the exclusive content that comes with it.”

Tomodachi Life is yet to be released outside Japan. The game is expected to launch in Europe and the US in June, but Nintendo is claiming it can’t change the game now as the code used to develop it has already been established and gay characters “was not part of the original game that launched in Japan”.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic