Nintendo Refuses to Allow Same-Sex Relationships In Life Simulation Game “Tomodachi Life”


It seems Nintendo doesn’t want any part in providing people with a game that allows same-sex marriages. The company rejected to accept requests from players to allow same-sex relationships to occur in the life simulation game ‘Tomodachi Life’. Being a life simulation game of 2014, I was not expecting such a thing.

People seem to want games that allow them to have fun in an alternate reality. No one can deny the huge success of The Sims franchise. I myself have played all the installments and it gets better with every new release. Tomodachi Life is a life simulation game for handheld consoles such as the Nintendo 3DS. It has been released in Japan, and will debut in North America and Europe on June 6, 2014. Players can create little avatars called Miis and live out life on an island inhabited by other Miis. These little Miis can eat, sleep, have relationships, etc. Basically it’s The Sims with a Japanese touch. The problem with the game is that you can’t make your Mii have a same-sex relationship.

According to Associated Press (AP) Nintendo refused to change its mind and allow same-sex relationships in the English version of the game. Which means players can only marry a Mii of an opposite gender or change the gender of their own Mii. Same-sex relationships aren’t allowed in the game and this limits the players from the exclusive content that comes with marrying Miis.

The statement that Nintendo of America Inc. gave to AP doesn’t make sense to me. The company said:

“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.”

Wait! What? You have created a game that’s supposed to simulate life; however, you refuse to provide social commentary. For me, by refusing to allow same-sex relationships to occur, Nintendo has done just that! The company has drawn a clear picture of what the gaming world still thinks of LGBT rights, just like the majority of the world, and it’s sad.

The game not having such options in Japan is something I can understand because same-sex marriages aren’t legal there. What I can’t understand is how Nintendo America Inc. couldn’t make a few changes to the game for American buyers. Games such as ‘The Sims’, ‘Fable’, ‘Mass Effect’, ‘Dragon Age’, etc. allow players to fall in love with the same gender if they prefer. LGBT people also play games, and having such options makes them feel included in the gaming world, and they don’t have to hide their true nature. Even some straight gamers I know of make their characters have same-sex relationships just for the fun of it.

Nintendo America Inc. has disappointed me with the company’s position. I hope the vocal response regarding Nintendo’s statement will open the company’s eyes. Let’s see if how Tomodachi Life is received when it makes its Western debut. Until then we will always have The Sims to pass our time.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.

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