from the or-you-could,-you-know,-not dept
Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’re probably aware that the tide is turning here in the States more and more in favor of rights for the LGBT community. Interestingly, America rests somewhere in the middle on the spectrum on these kinds of issues, with plenty of world nations allowing for more gay rights and certainly many that allow for less. While this one-toe-in-the-water approach is perfectly reflected in entertainment mediums like video games, it’s certainly worth noting that games in North America have begun to be more inclusive when it comes to LGBT characters and/or options in so-called “choice” or “sandbox” games. The Sims franchise was somewhere on the forefront of that sort of thing and more recent games like the Mass Effect series finally began to follow suit. And now it appears we can add the notoriously conservative Nintendo to the list of game developers that include such characters in their games.
See, gamers playing Nintendo’s Tomodachi Collection: New Life noticed that this latest iteration of the game, which is very much like The Sims, had the option for the first time to have their male characters marry other male characters and raise children together. Hooray for civil rights progress, right guys?
One Twitter user claims to have contacted Nintendo’s customer support, which supposedly said this is a bug and that the game needs to be patched. Online in Japan, however, there were many internet users who said they planned on getting this game only after learning of this bug—er, feature.
That Twitter user’s story now appears to be confirmed, with Nintendo releasing a patch to fix the “bug”, which it says allows for “human relations that become strange.” So allowing players to be as gay in their virtual lives as they might be in their real lives wasn’t a feature, it was a bug. And you’re going to correct it. Here’s another idea, and I’m just spitballing here, but how about the fix you release doesn’t take away a bit of the humanity of your latest game, but rather extends it to female characters as well? It’s not like including gay characters in a game, particularly one that is all about personal choice, means that somehow the game developers all agree in unison that all the morality questions are thrown aside. I happen to think that anyone who finds a problem with homosexuality is on the wrong side of both humanity and biology, but I won’t dismiss the right for other people to have a different opinion. The thing is, none of that is the point. I played the Sims. I don’t remember any more of an uproar over that game’s characters being able to be gay than I remember an outcry over how you used to be able to order a pizza and then build walls around the delivery guy until he died (great fun, btw). Nobody who saw that done suddenly thought EA was supporting delivery boy murder and no one with a lick of sense thought EA was taking some moral stance on gay rights.
And besides all that, the reaction to the bug? Freaking positive.
In Japan, some Tomodachi Collection: New Life owners seem thrilled by the bug, posting photos of their gay couples online. In the images, male Mii characters ask each other to go steady, propose marriage, go on Honeymoons, bathe together, and raise children.
Well, no kidding, because the metrics of the debate are shifting quickly to be more inclusive. Even if one were to think that homosexuality was immoral, you can’t lose your stones about it being included in a video game, unless you’re also going to take the same stance on murder, violence, theft, cursing, lying, etc. Nintendo made their bones on a stereotyped Italian plumber. Now that Nintendo has decided to erase the option to be gay from this game, I hope to hell the backlash is as brutal as it should be.