Representation of LGBT characters is a contentious issue in videogames. What has been typically viewed as a white straight male pastime is rapidly changing. There are many factors involved, such as the rise of the indie game which offers the kind of social and political commentary that isn’t often seen in a lot of mainstream gaming. There’s also much more emphasis on sexuality in indie and more left-field titles, such as the heart-wrenching GONE HOME.
Mainstream games, however, are getting there slowly, but sexuality, especially, is still viewed with suspicion in a lot of bigger titles. Nintendo’s idiosyncratic TOMODACHI LIFE has come under scrutiny, with many users calling for the removal of a ‘bug’ that allows for same-sex marriage.
Nintendo have responding by stating ‘Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of TOMODACHI LIFE. The relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation. We hope that all of our fans will see that TOMODACHI LIFE was intended to be a whimsical and quirky game, and that we were absolutely not trying to provide social commentary.’
It’s genuinely upsetting that the games giant has patched up what it described as ‘strange relationships’. This decision has, unsurprisingly, sparked a creation of an online petition (Miiquality) which requests that same-sex relationships are made available in-game again.
Although Nintendo claim that the patch wasn’t intended to remove same-sex relationships, instead directed at a data leak, the company’s Bill Trinen has stated that the issue wasn’t a problem for Japanese players, instead the criticism came mostly from Western audiences.
What do you think about LGBT representation in games, and what more can be done?
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