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Nintendo Apologizes For Not Allowing Same-Sex Relationships In Life Sim Game 384

Posted by Soulskill
from the standards-change dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Nintendo has been taking heat recently for their decision not to allow same sex relationships in Tomodachi Life, an upcoming life simulation game for the 3DS. An advocacy group for LGBT issues said, 'In purposefully limiting players' relationship options, Nintendo is not only sending a hurtful message to many of its fans and consumers by excluding them, but also setting itself way behind the times.' The group also pointed out that The Sims allowed such choices over a decade ago. Nintendo originally replied that the game was not intended to be social commentary, and pointed out that the U.S. release of Tomodachi Life is just a localization of the Japanese version (gay marriage is not legal in Japan). Now Nintendo has officially apologized for 'failing to include same-sex relationships' in the game, and they promised to build a more inclusive experience if they make a sequel."
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Nintendo Apologizes For Not Allowing Same-Sex Relationships In Life Sim Game

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  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @09:40AM (#46966459)

    So, I can marry my purple tentacle with my demon-hunter magical schoolgirl?

  • Overreacting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by duke_cheetah2003 (862933) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @09:51AM (#46966509) Homepage

    This is just dumb. It's a game!

    I'm all for LGBT rights and such, but really to criticize a game just cuz it don't include your sexual orientation..? I dunno about that. What's next? Is the LGBT community going to demand air time in Disney cartoons next?

    Besides, no one complained about Harvest Moon, another game that only permits heterosexual marriages. So what! It's a game!

    • Re:Overreacting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @09:59AM (#46966559)

      Now read that with s/LGBT/Black/

      Not that I completely disagree, but if you're going to make a 'life simulation' game localized to a given market, then it's not all that far-fetched to make it reflect the (aggregate) society of that localization, or accept that you'll get complaints if you don't.

      Ultimately Nintendo's solution is to say "we'll look at it IF we make a sequel" - it's not much of a commitment, more of a PR strategy.

      • Re:Overreacting (Score:5, Insightful)

        by pla (258480) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @10:06AM (#46966609) Journal
        Now read that with s/LGBT/animals/.

        Now read that with s/LGBT/power tools/.

        I completely support the right of gays to marry (to the extent that I support any marriage, an institution I wholly reject, as does my long-term partner). But this amounts to a purely manufactured controversy. The game contains what it contains; don't like it? Don't play it. Send a message with your wallet, rather than pissing and moaning about a game you didn't create not behaving like you want it to.
        • The game contains what it contains; don't like it? Don't play it. Send a message with your wallet

          And buy what game instead? Nintendo, Xbox, PlayStation, and iOS all have secret guidelines for what content is acceptable on their respective platforms.

          • by MBGMorden (803437) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @12:01PM (#46967477)

            Mass Effect and Dragon Age both had same-sex relationship options, and both were available on Xbox and Playstation, so those platforms certainly don't restrict that from appearing on there. Not sure about Nintento and iOS, but I doubt they'd ban the concept on the entire platform.

            Besides - the whole thing has gotten a bit silly lately anyways. Dragon Age 2 not only allowed same-sex relationships, but made it so that EVERY character capable of starting a romance could enter into a relationship with your character regardless of your gender. That effectively removes heterosexuality from the game and renders everyone bisexual, which is in no way realistic.

            • by Ambvai (1106941)

              Several of the recent Harvest Moon games, which do appear on Nintendo platforms, allow for same-sex marriages. You can even get children in them too, via adoption or babies showing up on your doorstep (I think).

        • by ganjadude (952775)
          Exactly, Im shocked that no one has started a kickstarter campaign to create a game that makes them (or any group that feels under represented) happy. If the outrage is legit and not just faux outrage, the campaign should succeed
          • Even with a Kickstarter campaign, how would such people come up with the "relevant game industry experience", "stable business organization", and "list of published game titles" that Nintendo expects [warioworld.com]?
            • by ganjadude (952775)
              who says it has to be on a WII?, there are alternatives that would be better suited for a kickstarter than nintendo (or sony or microsoft for that matter)
              • Who brought up Wii? The article states that the game in question is made for Nintendo 2DS and 3DS. The big advantages of the 2DS and 3DS over (say) Android are 1. the centralized avatar builder, which this game uses, and 2. the discrete directional controls and trigger buttons without having to buy a MOGA clip-on gamepad that I haven't actually seen anyone use. The disadvantage is Nintendo's bias against first-timers.
                • by ganjadude (952775)
                  you are correct, i should have used nintendo rather than wii

                  on the other hand im sure that if there is a TRUE demand for such a game, android and IOS would work out just fine, and you have the added bonus of the fact that more people have IOS android than they do all consoles combine.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by QuasiSteve (2042606)

          Now read that with s/LGBT/animals/.

          Now read that with s/LGBT/power tools/.

          Yes, and that's the 'slippery slope' argument one could make.

          However, "reflect the (aggregate) society of that localization". What society are you living in where you can legally marry animals and/or power tools, and are either of those characters that you [i]can[/i] play as in the first place?

        • by Noxal (816780)

          The game contains what it contains; don't like it? Don't play it. Send a message with your wallet, rather than pissing and moaning about a game you didn't create not behaving like you want it to.
          How about I do both?

        • Re:Overreacting (Score:5, Insightful)

          by thesandtiger (819476) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @10:44AM (#46966911)

          Kind of funny that you're using YOUR voice to suggest other people shouldn't use theirs.

          You're pissing and moaning on Slashdot because other people aren't behaving how you want them to.

          Speaking with your wallet and your wallet alone does nothing - how do the people you're boycotting know why you're boycotting? Speaking up with your wallet and your voice is far more powerful.

        • Re:Overreacting (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Idarubicin (579475) <allsquiet@hotmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Saturday May 10, 2014 @12:53PM (#46967893) Journal

          Now read that with s/LGBT/Black/

          Now read that with s/LGBT/animals/.

          Which is totally sound reasoning, if you would like to make the assertion that "LGBT people", "black people", and "animals" are all proper subsets of the group "people". Or, alternatively, that "LGBT people", "black people", and "animals" are all not subsets of the group "people". Which one of those arguments did you want to plant your flag on?

          Don't play it. Send a message with your wallet, rather than pissing and moaning about a game you didn't create not behaving like you want it to.

          Welcome to America, where we have now passed through the stage where money is equivalent to speech and reached the point where money is the only socially-acceptable form of speech.

          Don't like what other people are saying about the game, pla? Guess you should stop pissing and moaning about it, and just not give any money to the people whose behaviour you disagree with. You know--follow your own advice.

          • by pla (258480)
            Which one of those arguments did you want to plant your flag on?

            I see in hindsight how folks could take my point the wrong way. I actually just meant "X are not subsets of the features of this game", trying to stay on the original topic as much as possible. I could (and perhaps should) also have used "shooting Nazi zombies" and "intergalactic trade missions" to express my point, though I don't feel those would have come across quite so sharply (for good or for bad).


            Welcome to America, where we have
          • by Stickerboy (61554)

            Now read that with s/LGBT/Black/

            Now read that with s/LGBT/animals/.

            Which is totally sound reasoning, if you would like to make the assertion that "LGBT people", "black people", and "animals" are all proper subsets of the group "people". Or, alternatively, that "LGBT people", "black people", and "animals" are all not subsets of the group "people". Which one of those arguments did you want to plant your flag on?

            I'm not the OP, but I'll bite. Why don't you read it with s/LGBT/polygamists/ or s/LGBT/pedophiles/? Regardless of the manufactured controversy over a stupid kids Nintendo game, there will always be someone's morality and outrage somewhere being stepped on "because they weren't included". And if everyone's faux outrage over homosexuals doesn't extend to consenting polygamists, what kind of fucking hypocrites are they really being?

            I mean, Good Noodly Flying Monster, can 3 or more people not enter into a consenting relationship? Why doesn't my Nintendo 3DS let me explore my money's worth of marrying my own bisexual harem??? It's blatant discrimination, I tell you!! (/sarcasm)

        • I'm all for LGBT rights and such, but really to criticize a game just cuz it don't include your sexual orientation..? I dunno about that. What's next? Is the LGBT community going to demand air time in Disney cartoons next?

          Now read that with s/LGBT/animals/.

          Now read that with s/LGBT/power tools/.

          I completely support the right of gays to marry (to the extent that I support any marriage, an institution I wholly reject, as does my long-term partner). But this amounts to a purely manufactured controversy. The game contains what it contains; don't like it? Don't play it. Send a message with your wallet, rather than pissing and moaning about a game you didn't create not behaving like you want it to.

          Ehm, there are Disney movies about animals and power tools, you know?

          And they were not made because someone cried "Is the power tools community going to demand air time in Disney cartoons next?" Mostly because they can not speak. Except in Disney movies. Where we empathize with them. Like with humans irregardless of race, sexual orientation and use of the word irregardless ...

        • by darkonc (47285)
          That's part of the 'invisible hand of the market'. If I don't like the fact that you're pissing on my color/orientation/clothing style, I can refuse to do business with you and discourage my friends from doing so.

          It's called 'leverage'. If you don't like it, you don't have to participate in the marketplace. ---- "rather than pissing and moaning about" people talking to their friends.

      • by s.petry (762400)

        PR for who and what though? I don't know this game, but seriously doubt large differences with other Nintendo games. Characters are usually displayed as asexual, or at least you can make the male characters look very feminine. Since this is imagination based, I really don't see a huge LGBT issue. Can't someone make character look feminine and name the character "Rie" or something so that their imagination can make it appear to be a same sex marriage?

        The comparison to "The Sims" is telling. Sims may be

        • PR for who and what though?

          Just to address this bit - I meant specifically as a defense strategy, as Nintendo had been painted negatively in the news, especially after their first response's gaffe;
          http://abcnews.go.com/Entertai... [go.com]

          ( As opposed to saying "you're right, that is a bit odd isn't it? we'll make a patch available in the coming weeks." or sticking to the "the game is what it is and the code and content simply doesn't allow for gay marriages - don't like it? don't play it." (paraphrased) )

      • What about adoption? Children without marriage? Poly-amorous relationships? Common enough in my area that no one blinks an eye, and yet they're not in the game.

        Let's face it - Tomodachi Life is the Tamagotchi of sims. Dead simple, based on really simple rules, and with little actual simulation of anything. So gay relationships - yeah, I'm not surprised they were left out.

        Personally, I think the biggest mistake by Nintendo was to use Miis instead of other, customizable avatars. At that point, you're waiting

        • What about adoption?

          I'd guess probably half of popular video games with child or adolescent player characters probably have dead or missing parents. There are plenty of storytelling design patterns related to orphans, such as Parental Abandonment [tvtropes.org], Conveniently an Orphan [tvtropes.org], and Deceased Parents Are the Best [tvtropes.org].

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by QuasiSteve (2042606)

          What about adoption? Children without marriage? Poly-amorous relationships? Common enough in my area that no one blinks an eye, and yet they're not in the game.

          Yes, but then you're actually arguing my point for me. Marriage is in the game. It's just that there's a check in the code that says "if (MiiA.gender == m && MiiB.gender == f) { okiedoke; }" which quite actively blocks two male or two female Miis from marrying each other.

          Unless, of course, you view 'gay marriage' as distinctly different fro

          • by Elledan (582730)
            Well, there are people in the game. Male and female. Yet there are also people who are neither male or female such as yours truly. Are we intersex people represented in this game or games in general? Movies? Media? No way.

            Yet we're not complaining about most of society not even being aware or caring about our existence. Not too much at least. I'd definitely call the complaints about this Nintendo game asinine as there are countless other games where one could complain about in the same manner, but what it
    • Besides, no one complained about Harvest Moon, another game that only permits heterosexual marriages. So what! It's a game!

      You must not have seen how bisexual Jamie is in Harvest Moon: Magical Melody.

    • Re:Overreacting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Andtalath (1074376) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @10:22AM (#46966723)

      It's entertainment.
      Entertainment in a large fashion dictates what is ok and normal.
      Every bit of acceptance is good.

      This is also the matter of people noticing that a feature is lacking in their game.
      It's the same type of complaint, in a fashion, as when you can't play games in a LAN unless you are connected to the internet.
      It's an unneccesary addition specifically not allowing two people to get together.

    • by Guppy06 (410832)

      Why are LGBT discriminated against if not for how they're portrayed (or deliberately not portrayed) in art and culture?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jez9999 (618189)

      I'm all for LGBT rights and such, but really to criticize a game just cuz it don't include your sexual orientation..? I dunno about that. What's next? Is the LGBT community going to demand air time in Disney cartoons next?

      No... but they might start demanding that CEOs be fired for small private contributions to a campaign whose message is contrary to their opinion about how marriage should be redefined...

    • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @10:52AM (#46966973)

      As an anime catgirl lover, I strongly oppose all games which don't offer me cute anime catgirls as a character choice.

    • These are just avatars in a game. Someone actively decided that certain rules would apply to their interactions - there was no necessity to impose any societal values on those interactions, players would simply have applied those values they felt appropriate for themselves. In other words, the developers decided to impose their own vision of societal norms when there was no real need to do so.

      This is a very similar issue to the "emoji racism" campaign - someone actively designed the almost-exclusively-white

      • by Dutch Gun (899105)

        There's a couple of things to point out here. One significant point is that the game works with the player's personal avatars, called mii's. The very point of the mii avatar is that it's supposed to represent you as a person. By creating a "life simulator" for those mii avatars, they should really have known to include the game features that people find important to them. Also, even if gay marriage isn't legal in Japan, it's not like the game is not allowed to depict it, nor does it mean there aren't ga

    • Re:Overreacting (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AdamHaun (43173) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @11:22AM (#46967169) Journal

      I'm all for LGBT rights and such, but really to criticize a game just cuz it don't include your sexual orientation..?

      You're talking like this is a small thing, like the game didn't include their exact hair color or that one shirt they like to wear. People were upset because Nintendo was pretending that their relationship with their spouse did not and could not exist. That's not a small thing in a "life simulator", nor is it an attitude that's limited to games. And when Nintendo was called on it, they tried to dodge the issue rather than confronting it.

      A better question is, what about this bothers you so much? Regardless of what kind of product it is, customers (potential and actual) have every right to criticize it. This is core game functionality. What's wrong with talking about it?

      What's next? Is the LGBT community going to demand air time in Disney cartoons next?

      I'm not sure what you're exactly trying to say with that, but Disney might be a bit ahead of you [thatguywit...lasses.com] there.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      All they have to do is name the male Lead in every disney movie "kelly" or "pat" and the LGBT cant complain. suddenly it's not a big dude that is marrying the princess, it's a Lesbian.

    • by Atzanteol (99067)

      This is just dumb. It's a game!

      I'm all for LGBT rights and such, but really to criticize a game just cuz it don't include your sexual orientation..? I dunno about that.

      Of course you don't. You're well represented. Now imagine you're a 14-year old suddenly realizing that you're different from 90% of the rest of the culture. And that there still exists taboos telling you that *how you are* is somehow wrong. In fact there is an entire section of the population telling you that you are immoral through no fault of your own. In fact there's a very real fear that you could be disappointing your family if you admit it to them.

      NOW try to picture sitting at home playing a game

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2014 @09:53AM (#46966519)

    For a family friendly company they completely dropped the ball when it comes to living my virtual harem fantasies.

  • Jesus christ (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 10, 2014 @09:53AM (#46966521)

    The game is offensive unless it allows relationships between ethereal giraffe genderqueer fursonas and tri-curious pansexual midget doctors. Right?

    Is it so bad that people just want to make a game that reflects the relationships the majority of people on Earth have? Do they really have to support every sexual minority to be "fair"?

    • by tepples (727027)

      The game is offensive unless it allows relationships between ethereal giraffe genderqueer fursonas and tri-curious pansexual midget doctors. Right?

      Nintendo came so close to that with Animal Crossing series, and now this...

  • by captjc (453680) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @10:55AM (#46966991)

    Nintendo is going to be blasted either way. As a game that is rated for everyone, and as a company that is seen as a children's toy company, if they included it, the latest controversy will be that this toy company is trying to indoctrinate everyone's precious little snowflakes into the homosexual agenda. I'm sure that either Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck or and one of the Fox News cadre will call for a boycott of all Nintendo products and all the ignorant middle age assholes that actually give credence to what these people say will be going around with signs saying, "God hates Mario" or whatever. While Nintendo isn't as utterly screwed as the media like to portray it as, that kind of bad publicity would put them into a very bad place.

    However, the big problem was that same sex relationships were possible in the Japanese version of the game via what Nintendo calls a "bug." If it was never possible in the first place, it could have been defended as a simple design decision, but by having it possible and getting rid of it, the media is spinning it as some sort of social commentary by Nintendo. So, by fixing the bug, now they are getting the wrath of the LGBT community and are facing the kind of bad publicity that they really don't need right now.

    Basically, all this will do is ensure that these kind of social simulators will remain as Japan only.

    • by _xeno_ (155264)

      Which is why, if anything has been learned from the Mozilla Eich fiasco, the lesson should be "always ignore the LGBT community."

      They're never worth engaging. Ever. Apologies won't be enough, LGBT-friendly policies won't be another, nothing will be enough once you're in their sights. Despite apologizing, despite pledging not to change Mozilla's LGBT-friendly policies, despite giving in to all of their demands, the LGBT community would not let up and forced him to resign.

      And, hey, guess what? This apology al

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