Japanese videogame maker Nintendo, whose name translates roughly to “Leave luck to heaven,” is under attack here on earth for its ostensible insensitivity toward homosexuals. Its sin, in the words of the Associated Press, is hurting the “virtual” feelings of gays by releasing an English-language edition of its so-called life-simulator game Tomodachi Life that excludes same-sex relationships.
In a statement released Friday, the company issued an apology and promised to be more inclusive in future versions of the game — if there are any — adding:
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.
The statement was good enough to assuage the hurt feelings of Tye Marini, a 23-year-old gay Nintendo fan from Mesa, Ariz., who initiated an uproar over the game on social media last month, posting an online video lamenting:
I want to be able to marry my real-life fiancé’s Mii [avatar], but I can’t do that. 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.
AP reports that Marini announced Saturday he was “very happy” with Nintendo’s response. “I don’t believe they are a homophobic company at all,” Marini said. “I think that the exclusion of same-sex relationships was just an unfortunate oversight.”
It was probably more a function of cultural differences. In Japan, same-sex marriage is not legal.
The kerfuffle has awakened gay advocacy groups from their victory slumber following their ouster last week of a scheduled TV show whose hosts are anti-gay and anti-abortion, promising a new round of cultural wars and “enforced self-awareness.”
As for Tye Marini, it sounds as though he needs to get a life — and not the virtual kind.
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