Nintendo Explains Why It Patched Same-sex Relationships in Tomodachi Life
Earlier today Nintendo announced that Tomodachi Life has been localised for a western release. The game itself is a barmy-looking life-sim where players can act out a selection of random activities via their Mii, including but not limited to; dating and getting married.
The original Japanese release, Tomodachi Collection, allowed players of the same sex to marry and raise children. Sounds great, right? Not really. As it turns out, the ability of same-sex marriage was only available for male couples, and it was the result of a glitch rather than a shipped feature.
Then to make matters worse, Nintendo deemed this aspect of Tomodachi a glitch and subsequently patched it. This, of course, sent the message that being gay is a bug, IE something that isn’t as intended.
I caught up with Nintendo earlier to see what the hell was going on:
"Two developments occurred that led to some misunderstanding about this," Nintendo tells me via email.
""First, as a result of a mistake in comprehension of Japanese, some people misinterpreted Japanese reports and fan activity and thought same-sex relationships were possible.
"This occurred because they saw Japanese fans posting game screenshots of male and female Mii characters, where female Mii characters were designed and clothed in such a way that they looked male. Since these explanations were made in Japanese by the Japanese fans who posted the images, the Japanese people do not have such a misunderstanding."
In short, players dressed their Miis in the opposite gender’s clothes. So a female Mii, who can marry a male Mii without any in-game problems, dressed as a man to create the illusion of a same-sex couple. On a Japanese-speaking forum, it’s all easily explained. Not so much if you’re a westerner looking on.
Then came the issue of why was such a bug patched? Why not just allow same-sex relationships? Nintendo’s answer is simple: It breaks the game.
"Second, a critical bug occurred in the original Japanese version of the game which made it impossible for the player to continue the game," Nintendo continues.
"When Mii characters were imported from a Wii console, or the previous game in the Tomodachi Collection series on Nintendo DS (which was only released in Japan), into the Nintendo 3DS version, it could lead to scrambled Mii data within the Nintendo 3DS version.
"This could result in different Miis being randomly assigned to existing in-game relationships, such as already married Mii, or as just one other example, giving the appearance of same-sex relations. Because this bug caused the inability for the player to save the game data and continue the game, we released a patch."
So, if you marry the same sex, you can’t save or progress further. It’s easy to paint Nintendo as the bad guy in this, but it’s also very understandable that Nintendo wouldn’t leave a game in a state where it can become unplayable, even if it is for the right reasons.
As for whether you’ll be able to play as a same-sex couple in the Western release of Tomodachi Life, more bad news I’m afraid. "Same-sex relationships were not possible in the original software," Nintendo points out, presumably hinting that no changes have been made in that department.
While not having the option for same-sex marriage borders on prejudice and exclusion, I suppose it is good to know Nintendo aren’t treating homosexuality as a ‘bug’ or a ‘glitch,’ and that this was just a case of the game being a bit borked.47 notes
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