Miiquality? Tomodachi Life’s Gay Marriage Controversy


Following the removal of a so-called “bug” from its recently released Tomodachi Life Mii game, Nintendo has publicly responded to criticism over the disabling of a feature that allowed same-sex characters to marry.

Yet to be released in North America and Europe, Tomodachi Life has been available to gamers in Japan (where it is known as Tomodachi Collection: New Life), since April last year. Already, it has sold 1.82 million copies, making it the year’s most popular 3DS title in Japan after Pokémon X and Y. This soaring popularity has led some commentators to describe it as “the next Animal Crossing”.

Despite this, the game has lately become the subject of much controversy, after Nintendo reportedly “corrected” a glitch that allowed same sex Mii characters to get married. Although Nintendo maintains that the corrective patch it released was actually designed to resolve a data leak affecting players’ ability to save their games, rather than specifically to remove the option of single-sex marriage, the disappearance of the feature has whipped up something of an internet storm. A campaign to reinstate gay marriage in the MiiVerse has emerged, started by 23-year-old Tye Marini from Arizona, who has encouraged supporters both to write to Nintendo and to post on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #Miiquality.

In an official statement, Nintendo said that it had, 

PS_3DS_TomodachiLife_enGB“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.”

According to Nintendo’s Bill Trinen, the backlash has come primarily from the Western world, with Japanese players apparently less concerned about the change. Despite this, though, the company does seem to have taken the criticism on board, and has since apologised for disappointing its fans, as well as promising to reconsider the issue for any future instalments:

“We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life….We pledge that if we create a next instalment in the Tomodachi series, we will strive to design a gameplay experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players.”

Nevertheless, the changes to Tomodachi Life will not be reversed, since according to Nintendo, “such a significant development change can’t be accomplished with a post-ship patch.”

What do you think? Were Nintendo wrong to “fix” the gay marriage “glitch”, and if so, is their apology adequate? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Sources: IGN | The Guardian | The Verge

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