Nintendo may have recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Game Boy, but their stance on gay rights still has decades to go. The company have come under fire for their new life-simulation game Tomodachi Life, which bars characters from engaging in same-sex relationships.
Marriage is a big part of the game, with a huge emphasis on relationships. Sections of the game remain inaccessible without getting married, such as moving into a bigger house or having a child – so making gay relationships impossible. It's sparked a backlash from fans, particularly one 23–year old fan from Arizona, who wants to be able to marry his real-life fiancé in the game.
"I want to be able to marry my real-life fiance's Mii, but I can't do that," Marini says in the video below. "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."
Nintendo aren't budging. "Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of Tomodachi Life," they say 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."
For a game that relies on importing real-life personalities onto avatars and includes a "falling in love" feature, it seems pretty short-sighted of Nintendo to not cater for gay gamers – especially when other games companies are miles ahead when it comes to embracing LGBTQ rights.
The Sims and Skyrim have long incorporated same-sex relationships and equality into their list of features. The Sims even has Tumblr pages dedicated to gay relationships within the game, and Skyrim users have uploaded YouTube videos celebrating their gay marriages.
So come on Nintendo, show a little #miiquality.
Follow Thomas Gorton on Twitter here @angstromhoot
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