Japanese game maker Nintendo has woefully attempted to address calls for it to include gay characters in one of its upcoming games.
A gay gamer, Timothy Wright, launched a petition urging Nintendo to allow the avatars (known as Miis) in the new English version of its life simulator game Tomodachi Life to flirt, go on dates or marry other avatars of the same sex.
The avatars in the game, which has been hugely popular in Japan, represent players, their friends, family, and other persons, but any romantic same-sex interaction is not allowed.
“I and many of my friends who were otherwise very interested in purchasing Tomodachi Collection have reconsidered due to the lack of same-sex romantic relationships,” said Wright, noting that ads for the game have focused on romantic scenarios.
“Without being able to change the romantic interest of our Miis from the default, the game alienates LGBT+ people and contributes to our under-representation in games.
“Recently in their history, Nintendo have been trailblazers of inclusivity in gaming — of gender, age, hardcore, casual — and it’s time for Nintendo to acknowledge LGBT+ people within their games,” Wright added.
Tye Marini, another gay gamer, has also campaigned for Nintendo to allow for same-sex romance in the game.
“…The characters are supposed to be a representation of your real life,” Marini told Edgeonthenet.com. “You import your personalised characters into the game. You name them. You give them a personality. You give them a voice. They just can’t fall in love if they’re gay.”
Nintendo of America Inc. has refused to budge on the issue. It responded to the criticism in a statement, saying that it “never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of Tomodachi Life.”
It said that: “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.”
It’s astonishing that Nintendo would see the representation of gay and lesbian players in a life simulating game as “social commentary.”
The statement suggests that everyday gay and lesbian lives and relationships are social or political issues and not a basic human reality. The response is simply an ignorant justification of excluding people on the basis of their sexuality.
Tomodachi Life for Nintendo 3DS is set to launch in the US and Europe on June 6.