(Photo: Nintendo Youtube video screencap)
Nintendo said that it will not be adding the option of same-sex relationships in one of its popular life-simulation games after a social media campaign called for such an inclusion.
"Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of 'Tomodachi Life,'" Nintendo of America Inc. said in a statement, according to The Associated Press. "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."
The social media campaign to the video games giant was launched by a 23-year-old gay man from Mesa, Arizona, who said that he wanted the option in the game to marry his real-life partner.
"I want to be able to marry my real-life fiancé's Mii, but I can't do that," Tye Marini said. "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."
Tomodachi Life, which was first released in Japan in April 2013 and is set for a June release in North America and Europe on the Nintendo 3DS, allows players to use their own voice and input their own personality in the game avatars. The players can perform various real-life activities, including falling in love with other avatars, but only those of the opposite sex.
The tag-line reads: "Your friends. Your drama. Your life."
Marini said on Tuesday that the same-sex relationships issue is relevant to this particular game, as it is supposed to be a representation of people's real personality. He has been urging other players to join the Twitter and Facebook hashtag #Miiquality campaign as part of the effort.
Nintendo said, however, that same-sex relationships are not part of the original Japanese game, which uses the same code as the upcoming North American and European versions. It added that it is aware of the hashtag campaign, and will "continue to listen and think about the feedback."
A May 2013 Ipsos global survey found that Japan remains more conservative on the issue than many western countries, with only 24 percent of the population supporting same-sex marriage, which is not legal there -; 27 percent support some kind of legal recognition for same-sex couples.