Nintendo refuses to add same-sex relationships to ‘Tomodachi Life’

Watch Above: Tomodachi Life comes out in June for the Nintendo 3DS, but gay users won’t be able to play as gay. Peter Kim reports.

The publisher of such gaming franchises as “The Legend of Zelda” and “Mario Bros.” said Tuesday it wouldn’t bow to pressure to allow players to engage in romantic activities with characters of the same sex in English editions of “Tomodachi Life.”

This follows a social media campaign launched by fans last month seeking virtual equality for the game’s characters, which are modelled after real people.

Nintendo originally released “Tomodachi Life” last December in Japan and sold 1.83 million copies.

The game uses Mii characters (Nintendo’s personalized avatars of real players), that can interact with other Mii characters that friends and family have created. Characters can go shopping, visit beaches and date other Mii characters. They can also interact with celebrity Mii characters (you can go camping with Christina Aguilera).

Story continues below advertisement

Tye Marini, a 23-year-old gay Nintendo fan from Mesa, Arizona, launched a campaign to recognize the fact that “Tamodachi Life” does not allow gay marriages or relationships.

“I want to be able to marry my real-life fiancee’s Mii, but I can’t do that,” Marini said in a video posted online. “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.”

In an emailed statement, Nintendo said: “The ability for same-sex relationships to occur in the game was not part of the original game that launched in Japan, and that game is made up of the same code that was used to localize it for other regions outside of Japan.”

Marini’s campaign has attracted attention on social media under the hashtag #Miiquality:

Nintendo responded to the #Miiquality campaign by saying, “We have heard and thoughtfully considered all the responses. We will continue to listen and think about the feedback. We’re using this as an opportunity to better understand our consumers and their expectations of us at all levels of the organization.”

Story continues below advertisement

In response to Nintendo’s statement, Marini noted that excluding same-sex marriage in the game is a form of “social commentary.”