Target: Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintendo
Goal: Identify LGBT relationships in virtual gaming environments
In yet another attempt to marginalize the LGBT community, gaming software giant Nintendo’s newest virtual life game will not feature gay relationships or marriage. The life simulator game “Tomodachi Life” does not allow its players to enter into same-sex relationships with other Mii characters nor does it feature the option to marry characters of the same sex.
Released in Japan, which has yet to recognize same-sex relationships and grant gay marriages to its LGBT community, the virtual life game was criticized for ostracizing the LGBT community, even in a virtual platform, where players should be free to recreate all aspects of their waking lives, including relationships. A gay Nintendo fan disclosed to CNN that he’d like to ‘be able to marry [his] real-life fiance’s avatar character,’ but can’t due to the game’s restrictive relationship requirements.
The issue sparks a cultural divide between Japan, North America and Europe where gay marriage and LGBT inclusivity is still a hot-button issue. It also highlights a problem known as ‘localization,’ where game features are changed to suit customs and demographics of different countries. Still, the oversight is a disheartening one as gay gamers face prejudice in yet another, albeit surprising, space. In response to the controversy, Nintendo showed no signs of bowing to the pressure stating that it was simply too late to rewrite “Tomodachi Life” to include same-sex relationships and marriages.
Sign the petition to urge Nintendo to make virtual gaming more inclusive to gay gamers and defend the rights of the LGBT community in virtual spaces.
Dear Satoru Iwata,
It has come to my attention that the release of the life simulation game “Tomodachi Life” fails to provide gay gamers with the experience of marrying a same-sex avatar or being in a relationship with one. As an LGBT supporter this oversight is disappointing due to the caliber and reputation of Nintendo as a software and gaming front runner. Virtual life simulator games like “The Sims” and “The Elder Scrolls” have made tremendous efforts to include the LGBT community by allowing users to be in same sex relationships, conduct same-sex marriages and even raise virtual families with their partners.
The premise of life simulator games is simple: to recreate idealistic realities that, in some ways, mimic the realities users lead in the physical world. For some, especially gay gamers, simulator games are an opportunity to escape the prejudices and hardships of an LGBT-exclusive physical life and engage in virtual relationships that emulate the equal opportunities that are out of reach.
As Nintendo moves forward it is crucial that you consider the impact your games have on the LGBT gaming community and I hope that you make modifications to future games that are more inclusive and empathetic.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: J i J y via everystockphoto