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Nintendo Apologizes For Tomodachi Life, Promises Future Inclusivity

Tomodachi Life
In response to the backlash they received for disallowing gay relationships in their sim game Tomodachi Life and the subsequent doubling-down on their position, Nintendo released a statement on their website promising to be more inclusive in the future. Their statement said:

We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to change this game's design, and such a significant development change can't be accomplished with a post-ship patch. At Nintendo, dedication has always meant going beyond the games to promote a sense of community, and to share a spirit of fun and joy. 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.

Actions will speak louder than words, but it's good to see them acknowledge their misstep, which is far more than most companies are willing to do.

Nintendo Responds - Poorly - To Criticisms Of Tomodachi Life's Deliberate Anti-Gay Rules: VIDEO

Tomodachi Life

When Nintendo announced that they would be releasing their whimsical life simulator Tomodachi Life, gay gamers - or gaymers, if you prefer - were disappointed to learn that though your avatar, or "Mii", could go on dates and get married, they couldn't do so with a member of the same sex. Given that the previous game Tomodachi Collection allowed for same-sex couplings, albeit by way of a bug rather than a feature, Nintendo is deliberately excluding gay couples, a decision which invited criticism and a petition, as well as the creation of Twitter hashtag campaign #Miiquality started by Tye Marini of Mesa, Arizona, who said in an online video,

I want to be able to marry my real-life fiancé’s Mii, but I can’t do that. 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.

Nintendo responded to the criticisms by doubling-down on their position, saying in a statement,

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.

Except that they did. When your game is based on the premise of players creating avatars of themselves, your gameplay mechanics offer dating, courtship, and marriage, and you deliberately disallow the creation of same-sex couples, you are saying that those couples are less-than and therefore you will not recognize them or allow their stories to be played out. You are denying the existence of gays and lesbians who are buying and playing your game.

You can watch Tye's video on #Miiquality AFTER THE JUMP...

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Nintendo's Tomodachi Life Disallows Gay Relationships

Tomodachi Life Same Sex couple

Last year word got around that Nintendo's Japan-only quirky game Tomodachi Collection had a glitch in it that allowed male characters to engage in a same-sex relationship, including having children. This brought a lot of applause from equality-minded gamers until Nintendo released a patch that, instead of making the glitch a feature and including lesbian couples, removed the option altogether.

Nintendo has now announced that they'll be bringing the game's sequel Tomodachi Life stateside for Westerners to enjoy...but still with no gay relationship option. This would be less of a sticking point if it weren't for the fact that the Tomodachi series is, like The Sims, a life simulator that is meant to reflect the life and imagination of the player rather than adhering to the motives of existing characters within an established narrative.

Incidentally, the reason The Sims originally allowed same-sex couples is because it was actually more work to code the characters as gendered and set up rules that would check for and allow or disallow marriages based on gender pairings. Since Tomodachi Life is set up with those rules in its coding, someone on board is consciously and explicitly making the decision to remove same-sex couples from the game.

This Year's GaymerX Convention Is The Last One as Costs Skyrocket in San Francisco

GaymerX2 banner

Last year San Francisco played host to GaymerX, an LGBT-targeted video game convention where queer gamers of all stripes could geek out in a safe space over their favorite hobby without having to put up with the homophobia that runs rampant in video game culture. The con was such a success that it will be coming back this year as GaymerX2.

Darren_youngUnfortunately, it will be the last as the cost of running the convention in San Francisco is just too high. Said the event's founder Matt Conn in an interview with Polygon,

We decided that we could no longer continue as a convention as the price of running a yearly convention downtown in San Francisco was just too high — we weren’t able to get the corporate sponsorship that we needed to make it something sustainable, and we were racking up huge amounts of debt to put this years con on.

The con intends to go out with a bang. It has moved to the San Francisco Intercontinental Hotel - a much larger venue than last year's Hotel Kabuki - and will be hosting guests such as activist Mattie Brice, game designer David Gaider, and out WWE performer Fred Rosser, aka Darren Young (pictured).

GayGamer Profiles 11 Tech And Entertainment Industry Prop 8 Donors

Brendan Eich Firefox

The recent controversy over Brendan Eich, the Mozilla CEO who donated to California's Prop 8, has reopened some old discussions and prompted's Jean-Luc "Neshoba" Pierite to do some digging into that donor list and see who else in the tech and entertainment industries contributed to the fight against marriage equality.

Aided by a database tool provided online by the LA Times, Pierite profiled almost a dozen individuals from various sectors of the entertainment and tech industry. Some of the offenders include:

  • Jeremy Gess, former Sr. Game Designer for Defiance at Trion Worlds, who donated $100
  • Hyrum V. Osmond, Character Animator at Walt Disney Feature Animation and worked on Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph, who donated $2200
  • Aldric La'auli Porter, Assistant Director and Co-Producer for various films including The Hunger Games series and A Beautiful Mind, who donated $6000
  • Keneth Swanson, creator of JavaScript and engineer at Oracle/Sun Microsystems, who donated $8901 as well as $2000 for Family Research Council Action PAC

You can read the full list at and use the LA Times database tool to search for other donors who wasted their money to fight against equality.

Bioware Designer Discusses Racism, Misogyny, and Homophobia In Video Games

Manveer Heir

Despite the increasing popularity and mainstreaming of video games as a pastime, the medium still has a problem dealing with anyone that isn't a straight, white male, be that in the characters represented in games themselves or in the attitudes of a not-insignificant percentage of gamers and developers. Managing editor of Sal Mattos interviewed Bioware's Manveer Heir at GDC (Game Developer's Conference) in San Francisco to talk about these very topics. Said Manveer during the interview,

We’ve got to start acknowledging that [gays, women, minorities] are underrepresented groups, and that we don’t really know if the sales are good or bad, and just be willing to try. I think to go like “oh women in games don’t sell well…” but we don’t even see budgets; it’s kind of a terrible argument. We as developers, and people in marketing, and people in the business side of things need to come together to understand the problem and work together to solve it.

The very thorough interview can be read over at GayGamer.


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