Nintendo Same-Sex Marriage Gaffe Inspires Apology

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Nintendo may be handily losing the next-gen console battle, but they may win some points with the LGBTA community after a surprising apology. A Nintendo same-sex marriage “ban” in Tomodachi Life, which ships for 3DS on June 6, apparently caused quite an uproar. Rather than ignore the comments, Nintendo came out with an official apology, issued by press release, no less.

The full statement reads as follows:

“We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to change this game’s design, and such a significant development change can’t be accomplished with a post-ship patch. At Nintendo, dedication has always meant going beyond the games to promote a sense of community, and to share a spirit of fun and joy. We are committed to advancing our longtime company values of fun and entertainment for everyone. We pledge that if we create a next installment in the Tomodachi series, we will strive to design a game-play experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players.”

In light of recent state and U.S. Supreme Court rulings overturning same-sex marriage bans, Nintendo’s apology for Tomodachi Life is quite timely. More important, it seems sincere.

It’s unclear whether the statement reflects an official Nintendo same-sex marriage policy at the corporate level (health benefits, etc.). However, issuing an apology in terms of game development that doesn’t support truly free-form gameplay may be indicative.

In addition, issuing such a public apology such as this was a bold move in an industry stereotyped as Mt. Dew-drinking young males. Wherever you stand on the issues at hand, that boldness is undeniable.

OK, so what exactly is Tomodachi Life? The 3DS game lets players create Mii characters, customize their voice and personality, dress them up and decorate their apartments. At that point you can watch the characters hang out, play concerts, engage in rap battles, hook up matchmaker-style (that’s where the same-sex marriage oversight / gaffe comes in), and even partake in games like a mini-RPG adventure called Tomodachi Quest. Players can also send a baby Mii on a journey into their friend’s game with the StreetPass feature.

So what do you think? Did Nintendo need to issue an official apology like this? Was it just a “nice to have”? Was it too little, too late? Or does the official Nintendo same-sex marriage statement make you consider pre-ordering the game from Amazon to encourage their progressive-from-now-on message? Let us know in the comments below.

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