Although gay marriage is becoming legal in many countries, it’s still not allowed in some virtual worlds.
Gamer Tye Marini, 23, was denied by Nintendo when he created a social media campaign to try and get the company to allow their virtual players to have gay marriage on the new game Tomodachi Life.
A Nintendo representative told the Associated Press that the company “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 apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life,” Nintendo said in a statement released last week. “Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to change this game’s design, and such a significant development change can’t be accomplished with a post-ship patch.”
“We are committed to advancing our longtime company values of fun and entertainment for everyone,” Nintendo continued. “We pledge that if we create a next installment in the Tomodachi series, we will strive to design a game-play experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players.”
The game was released in Japan in December and sold 1.83 million copies.
While the avatars are allowed to do things like date Christina Aguilera and play games and shop, they are not allowed to marry avatars of the same sex.
“We hope that all of our fans will see that Tomodachi Life was intended to be a whimsical and quirky game,” the representative said. “We were absolutely not trying to provide any social commentary.”
However, Marini said that not including same-sex marriage is a form of social commentary.
“I want to be able to marry my real-life fiance’s Mii, but I can’t do that,” Marini said of the game. “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.”
The game is intended to represent the life of the players.
“It’s more of an issue for this game because the characters are supposed to be a representation of your real life,” Marini said. “You import your personalized 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.”
Marini came up with the campaign #Miiquality to try and get Nintendo to rethink their avatars. It’s not intended as a boycott of the game, but is asking for the inclusion of same-sex relationships as an update.
“We have heard and thoughtfully considered all the responses,” Nintendo said of the campaign. “We will continue to listen and think about the feedback. We’re using this as an opportunity to better understand our consumers and their expectations of us at all levels of the organization.”
Marini hopes Nintendo will change their minds.
“I would hope that they recognize the issue with the exclusion of same-sex relationships in the game and make an effort to resolve it,” Marini said. “Until then, Miiquality will continue to raise awareness of the issue.”
This post is brought to you by The Seattle Lesbian
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