Nintendo defends decision to block gay characters
Gaming company says that the virtual-life game is 'not trying to provide social commentary'
NINTENDO has defended its decision not to allow characters in its new virtual-life game, Tomodachi Life, to flirt, date or marry others of the same sex, saying that the game was never intended to perfectly mimic real life.
A social media campaign, launched by fans last month, requested equal status for gay in-game characters. Nintendo denied insisted that the game was not trying to make a political statement, The Guardian reports.
"Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of Tomodachi Life,” Nintendo of America said in a statement. "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".
Tye Marini, a 23-year-old Nintendo fan from Arizona, began to campaign last month for characters in the game (known as Miis) to be able to conduct same-sex relationships.
"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. "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."
Tomodachi Life has been a hit in a Japan, where as of last December 1.83 million copies had been sold. The social media campaign emerged ahead of the launch of the game’s English editions.
In a statement, Nintendo said: "The ability for same-sex relationships to occur in the game was not part of the original game that launched in Japan, and that game is made up of the same code that was used to localise it for other regions outside of Japan”.
The decision “marks a cultural divide”, Sky News says, between Japan, where gay marriage is not legal, and North America and Europe, where gay marriage has been legalised in some places.