Nintendo's forthcoming Tomodachi Life game lets players engage in romantic activities and get married--but not with characters of the same sex. "Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of 'Tomodachi Life,'" they said to AP. And yet, that's precisely what they've done.
23-year-old Tye Marini, a gay gamer in Arizona, created a video and an online campaign in April urging Japan-based Nintendo and Nintendo of America to add same-sex relationship options to the upcoming English version of the hand-held 3DS game.
The game was originally released in Japan last year and features a cast of Mii characters — Nintendo's personalized avatars of real players — living on a virtual island. Gamers can do things like shop, visit an amusement park, play games, go on dates and encounter celebrities like Christina Aguilera and Shaquille O'Neal.Nintendo plans to release the English language edition of 'Tomodachi Life' on June 6, 2014.
"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 that attracted the attention of gaming blogs and online forums this week. "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 Nintendo said last December it had sold 1.83 million copies of the game.
Late Friday afternoon, the traditional time to dump news you want to bury, the company issued an apology.
"We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life," a statement on the company website reads.
"We are committed to advancing our longtime company values of fun and entertainment for everyone. 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."