It is no secret that the Nintendo Corporation is going through some very hard times. The sales numbers for both the Wii U and the Nintendo 3DS are not faring as well as they once were in previous years. Plus. on top of everything else, they are going through a battle with their fans over the concerns of their cultural sensitivity when it comes to homosexuals in their next title, Tomodachi Life, which is scheduled for release this year. The company has since announced plans to attempt to fix their sales numbers and Nintendo has issued apologies for the insensitivity featured in their game.
Tomodachi Life, or Tomodachi Collection: New Life in Japan, gets its title from the Japanese word for friend, which is tomodachi. The game is set on an island where Miis that inhabit the territory interact. The Miis on the island are imported into the virtual world by using a Nintendo 3DS or any other compatible device.
After either importing an existing character or creating a new character, the player is given the task to make their Mii an unique individual. Players can customize their Miis in a large variety of ways from their height, hair and eye color, all the way down to their voice and personality. The Miis, and the people controlling them, can do a great many things to have fun while they are enjoying their time in the game. When other Mii characters are introduced into the virtual world, they begin to interact in other different ways as well. Miis will be able to hang out with one another by doing a lot of the same things humans do in reality. The characters can be dressed up in many different styles of outfits, from basic t-shirt and jeans to costumes inspired by other famous Nintendo video game characters.
Miis can be paired up with other characters and they will begin to form a bond. That bond can turn into dating, then into a relationship, and eventually they will be able to get married. This only happens as long as the two Miis in question are a male and a female. The new Nintendo title was not created to support marriage for same-sex couples. Nintendo issued apologies for the insensitivity of their game, but they also claimed that the game is too far in the production process to make a major change such as the addition of same-sex marriage.
Tye Marini is a 23-year-old fan of the Nintendo gaming corporation. Marini is also a homosexual who did not take kindly to the companies exclusion of gay marriage. He started a Facebook campaign in order to show Nintendo that others, besides himself, are upset in their choice to omit the option to be in a same-sex relationship in their game. Marini expressed that he was upset because he has a fiancée in real life that he will not be able to marry in the game because of the oversight. After reading Nintendo’s statement of apology, he said that he does not believe that the gaming company is homophobic and that he sees the exclusion as a simple oversight.
Oversight or not, there are still many people, gamers and non-gamers, who are upset over this issue. Since Nintendo’s headquarters is located in Japan, where gay marriage is not legal, some see it as them not having sensitivity for homosexuals and the countries that do support gay marriage.
After Nintendo issued apologies for their insensitivity in their game, they went on to reassure their fans that, if there is to be another installment in the Tomodachi Life franchise, they will do their best to appeal to a wider range of people.
With the struggles in sales the gaming company has had recently, many question whether they can afford to shut off any part of their audience. While Nintendo’s issued apologies for their game’s insensitivity may be a step in the right direction for some, others question whether it is too little, too late for the bad press surrounding Tomodachi Life and its June 6 release date.
By Mike White