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DAILY MANIFESTO

Sorry, Nintendo, I Just Can't Support Tomodachi Life

Posted on Wednesday, May 7 @ 23:00:00 Eastern by ryanbates



Goddamnit, Nintendo. You're making this really hard on your fans.

At least when people accused you, the company, of doing the same ol' thing, we, the fans, could counter with the fact that the “same ol' thing” is still great every single time. When people said you didn't target the “hardcore” gamer, we pointed to the difficulty in the later levels of games like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and reminded people that explosions doesn't make a game “hardcore,” difficulty does. When you posted huge losses for the year... again... we quietly sat, hoping for the best. But now... well, I'm not sure how else to say it, so I'll just say it.

Nintendo doesn't stand by their LGBTQ fans.

They said as much today in a statement released regarding the US version of Tomodachi Life, hitting store shelves June 6. Regarding the ability of players to build and maintain same-sex relationships, the statement said:

“Nintendo 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.”

But here's the problem, Nintendo: You may not have been “trying to provide social commentary,” but that's exactly what you did. And your commentary sucks.

Let's quickly dismiss the point that I don't think Tomodachi Life will go over in the States. Tamagotchis went out in the early 2000s, and The Sims 3 fulfills most people's sim-needs (at least until The Sims 4). But let's look past that. What you did, Nintendo of America, is constructed a virtual world where people can recreate their wildest dream and most vivid imaginations, so long as that wildest dream isn't gay. Because, according to Tomodachi Life, that sort of dream is only acceptable if it is heterosexual. Players, you may only have that fantasy realized, Nintendo of America is saying, if that fantasy involves one male Mii and one female Mii.

It's a minor point to many, but let me point out, my adorable little Mii I created is a reflection of myself, so my boy Mii, in my head canon, likes other boy Miis. And there are girl Miis who like other girl Miis.​ I assume there are others out there like this too. And you, Nintendo, are putting your foot down and saying, “No, we are NOT okay with this.” 

Far be it from me to judge, but that is not a “playful alternate world” to me. In fact, it's the “real-life simulation” you said you were trying not to make. Yet, should I go down to City Hall in downtown Vegas with my gay lover (who, strictly for the purpose of argument, is Vin Diesel; hypothetically, of course), and should I say to the clerks, “I would like to marry my lover, Vin Diesel,” I will be told I cannot.

That is exactly the same response I would get in Tomodachi Life. Likely, the clerk would give me some answer about how marriage is defined by the state of Nevada as one male, one female. That is “social commentary” on the worst levelone that is strictly driven by politics, not the actual good of society. That, too, is the social commentary that you, Nintendo, said you were not trying to make. [A lot of this has to do with the opinion of sexual culture in Japan, but still... ~Ed. Nick]

But you did. You made it, Nintendo, and no matter how hard you wriggle, or how far back you hide behind heteronormativity, it's yours. And as people have shown lately with the whole Sterling/Clippers debacle, people are tired of giving bigotry and homophobia a pass.

It's tough to do, but I can't defend you in any way, shape, or form on this one. Your princess is in another castle.

Tags:   Nintendo, LGBT, 3DS
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