So let’s talk video games for a bit.
If you identify as a “Gamer” enough to follow the major gaming news sites then you’re probably aware that there’s been a growing trend of people protesting the long-held status- quo of the industry primarily catering to a straight white male audience. To a certain kind of person this is a Very Bad Thing Indeed, but I find the upswell of protest immensely heartening.
A few days ago a campaign started up on twitter using the hashtag #miiquality with the aim of getting Nintendo to put an option for same-sex relationships in its upcoming 3DS game Tomodachi Life. Similar efforts have sprung up before around games that offer players the chance to engage in optional relationships, but Tomodachi Life is significant because instead of romancing NPCs the player will be romancing other players, and very likely their actual real-life significant other. Instead of just pretending that gay people don’t exist, the game is actively excluding them.
The fact that Nintendo declined to act on the miiquality campaign is disappointing but not really all that surprising. What is surprising is the specific way they responded:
“The relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation,” Nintendo said. “We hope that all of our fans will see thatTomodachi Life was intended to be a whimsical and quirky game, and that we were absolutely not trying to provide social commentary.”
Other people who are far more qualified than me have already written at length about why this is bullshit. I don’t want to focus on Nintendo’s response so much as the way some (by and large sincere and well-meaning) people have tried to minimize the outrage directed at them over the last few days- a response to the response to the response, if you will.