Players of new life-simulating Nintendo game will not be able to marry virtual versions of themselves with other players’ avatars of the same sex. Amid pressure, the video-game company is hoping critics recognize that it is nothing more than a “whimsical and quirky game.”
“Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of Tomodachi Life,” the company’s American operation said in a statement. “The relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation.”
In Tomodachi Life, users adopt an avatar known as a Mii, which they use in the game to do everyday tasks in the digital world as well as interact with other users’ avatars. In their interactions, Miis can flirt, go on dates, and marry one another.
While the game is yet to be released in the United States (it comes out in June), some are already demanding it permit virtual same-sex marriage, launching a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #Miiquality. One user, Tye Marini of Arizona, who is gay, is leading the charge after realizing he cannot marry his fiancé’s Mii.
“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,” he lamented to the Associated Press. “It’s more of an issue for this game because the characters are supposed to be a representation of your real life.”
Marini clarified that he is not calling for a boycott, but rather is looking to bring awareness to the issue.
Nintendo noted that the American version of Tomodachi Life is made up of the same code as its Japanese version, which does not allow for the same-sex marriage component, but it will continue to take feedback from users.