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Talkingship – Video Games, Movies, Music & Laughs | February 21, 2019

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No, Nintendo Doesn’t Hate Gays; aka “Why #Miiquality is Pointless”.

No, Nintendo Doesn’t Hate Gays; aka “Why #Miiquality is Pointless”.

Unless you’ve been away from gaming circles over the past few days, you’ll be aware of the brewing controversy surrounding Nintendo’s upcoming game, Tomodachi Life. The issue stems from the fact that the game does not allow same-sex characters to be married. It¬†was exacerbated by Nintendo saying that the reason for this was because they wanted to avoid “social commentary”. Admittedly, Nintendo have handled this situation badly, but all those who are arguing that Nintendo are being homophobic are, frankly, wrong. Here’s why.

Why does Tomodachi Life not include same-sex marriage?

Tomodachi Life was originally released over a year ago in Japan. In Japan, same-sex marriage is currently illegal, and there is a large¬†anti-gay sentiment there (in a recent poll, 52.4% of Japanese people said they opposed same-sex marriage). Thus for the game’s Japanese release, it would have been madness for Nintendo to have included same-sex marriage, from both political and financial decisions: alienating over 50% of your home audience when you’re making a yearly loss isn’t exactly a great idea.

Why didn’t Nintendo change this for Western audiences?

This is the question that has been plastered all over Twitter for the past few days, accompanied by the terrible pun that is #Miiquality. This stems from a misunderstanding as to how localisation works. When Tomodachi Life was repackaged for the West, developers won’t have been brought on board. There will only have been a localisation and translation team, making sure that the jokes were still funny for Western audiences and that the UI etc. still functioned as expected.

Why couldn’t the localisation team implement that change? Isn’t it just flipping a switch?

Unfortunately not. For a start, if homosexuality was going to be included in the game, you’d need to be able to choose whether each Mii was gay, straight or bi, and that’s going to require a great deal of re-coding. You’re also going to have to adapt scenes and the gendered pronouns that appear in them, and perhaps strike certain scenes that only make sense in a heterosexual context. On top of this, you’ve got to add in mechanisms to rule out certain characters from interacting with each other, and with a whole bunch of possibilities (gay with bi, gay with straight, gay of one gender with gay of another etc.) that’s a whole lot of work. Considering there aren’t developers on the localisation team, this can’t really be done.

Will #Miiquality make a difference?

Of course not. On top of everything I’ve said above, the Western build of Tomodachi Life is already finished. It’s been packaged, it’s likely being manufactured right now, and the press already have copies of it. Nothing will change – until the sequel, if there is one.

Do we even need same-sex relationships in the game?

Arguably, no. This Gamasutra article from Christian Nutt explains that you have no control over your character’s actions in Tomodachi Life anyway – indeed, the whole hilarity stems from the fact that they will act in unexpected ways. Thus arguments such as “I’m gay and I want my Mii to represent me” aren’t the strongest – your character in Tomodachi Life isn’t really you, and you have no agency over them. Chances are, they’ll act out of character a million-and-one other times: acting in a heterosexual manner is, in many ways, equivalent to them liking a food that you would dislike in real life. In any other game, this would be an issue, but in Tomodachi Life you’re not playing as anyone, so to speak: you’re instead a relatively passive observer.

I’m still annoyed. What can I do?

Well, you can always not buy Tomodachi Life. Equally, do express your disappointment with Nintendo – but do so in a constructive manner. Don’t ask them to fix Tomodachi Life: ask them to make the next game better.

  • xiaoyukungfu

    Interesting article. I have to say, I’ve found this whole thing very upsetting. I mean, what if instead of gay marriage the issue was miscegeny? I know that the issues are not identical so the comparison may seem unfair, but, truly, I find that many people don’t take gay rights very seriously. That being said, my best friend, who is gay, will be purchasing this game. But she’s grown accustomed to things like this. =/

  • David

    “Nintendo doesn’t hate gay people”.

    “Point one – Nintendo are Japanese, and the Japanese hate gay people”

    Did any editors proofread this?

  • Shaxster

    Just because the majority of Japanese society doesn’t support same-sex marriage does not mean that Nintendo as a company hate gay people. I mean, previous games have been not un-subtle about LGBT sympathy (Animal Crossing, Birdo). They just simply couldn’t have released a game with overt support of same-sex marriage in Japan.

  • AtomicPuncture

    Finally. Someone who stopped, assessed the situation, and came to the same conclusions as me!

  • Jessica Neema

    oh shut the hell up. I like incest, I dont see you allowing incest in games or anything. Except Resident evil which i loved/ so tell u what, if your gay friend has a problem, tell her so does the incest, pedos, necros and zoos who want to love their siblings, little kids, dead bodies and animals on the game. and micegeny, was good cause it meant kids didnt grow up saying “i am chinese, japense, black and american.” sure, and i am a pot roast..

  • Andy Keeping

    You belive these things equally comparable?

  • Jessica Neema

    yes, explain why not. A sister says she loves her brother and she is wrong.

  • Andy Keeping

    Explain to me how pedophila, incest, necro are the same? I can tell you necro cannot be compared. There’s no consent.

  • Andy Keeping

    Actually. Never mind. Upon reading your other comments I’ve come to realize that we would never agreed on most things and that you have made your position more than clear.

  • Jessica Neema

    alright,t hank you for being polite.

  • Jessica Neema

    but why need consent from a dead body? its a thing.

  • Wolfram

    Jesus fucking christ, Jessica Neema. You were into this shit then and you’re still into it now while trying to harass numerous Jewish bloggers?

  • Wolfram

    Neema/Ashford here is a neonazi. Of course they think they’re comparable.

  • NancyDelecarte

    OMG. Aren’t you Jordan Stryk, who harassed jews, minors and was kicked off tumblr for doxxing.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/302b294786c9343bed4f5af797b1ec0dbd17843c35333b345789203e067c567a.jpg

  • NancyDelecarte
  • NancyDelecarte

    And harassing numerous jewish bloggers, you mean totaldisgrace/2goldensnitches/acquasole, who is Nicki from New Mexcio, involved in doxing, abuse, harassment and sending death threats. This her faking slurs to her own friends. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8f73a215bf11236bd64a2d0a47ca91147a7833c29a96ea93705b2b1a026fce35.png

  • NancyDelecarte

    And Jordan here is a fraud, abuser and doxer, he needs to random call people pedo and nazi to make up for the fact he is a useless wanker, with a loser job, and no friends.

  • NancyDelecarte

    How is the fund raiser going, I guess once people found out you were a harasser and abuser no one wanted to donate to keep your ugly ass safe. I guess you get your abuser tendencies from daddy dearest, and certainly a lack from shame from your mommy.
    And I laugh my ass off seeing those “My art is so good, I don’t stalk!” reports when a simple search proves otherwise. You are pathetic. I guess lying is not an issue with you.

  • NancyDelecarte

    You and Nicki are doing a good job of tagging ,and so am I, I got a lovely one recently where she pretends a girl she harassed is a neo nazi friend, but we all know its lies..
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/db35dd83d203a7310a36f94d64919e354ac6c3caeaeca00d7510c0a470dfb54f.png

  • NancyDelecarte

    You and totaldisgrace can keep up your sites and cry over stalking, but we know it is just you wetting your diapers cause you didn’t think you would get consequences for your actions. And you did. Sure, your friends stuck by you, but everyone else, saw you as the worthless crap asshole you are. And you can cry fake or edits, but the pictures are spread over three different people in the scuffed-tarot tag and your lies are not fooling anyone.

  • NancyDelecarte

    You are going to pay for stalking someone, Jordan, you and totaldisgrace ca make tags, cry about the mean stalker, but the minute there is an opportunity, people will know how totaldisgrace send anon hate, doxed, refers to christians as nutters and my fav, send anon hate to a friend.
    And you, well, we have you harassing jews, witches, and pretending rape. Going to be hard to prove that false.

  • NancyDelecarte

    Oh, why is Totaldisgrace calling people jew faking, I think its anti semitic. Don’t worry I told a blog that documents anti antisemitism, and they will get back at me. I gave them your pictures too. Voat has surprising easier rules over doxing. You seem so dedicated to attacking people you claim are nazis and pedos, I feel it is necessary to take action.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e58f3ee7d5518bd5b48ca6f90902f5ee4bf4cfa5ee420eff1ae03c5c6d6f71c8.png

  • NancyDelecarte

    And if the harassment bothers then you delete your accounts, but as long as you make it so you can harass people’s followers, and send them hate mail. You will reap what you sow. You cannot, and will not get to escape what you did. I think you are running another scam on etsy. Many of these are paid followers, funny how after one purchase they don’t interact again. https://www.etsy.com/shop/thescuffedtarotdeck

  • Lollypoppy

    First off, not Jessica or whatever. And speaking harassment, judging by the very graphic accusations, you are a dick yourself.

  • Lollypoppy

    What are you talking about, you deluded loon?

  • Wolfram

    Lolly, Ashford’s posted on Daily Stormer in agreement with other nazis.

  • Wolfram

    Quit lying.