Why Nintendo patched Tomodachi Life’s same-sex relationships

Posted under 3DS, News
April 11, 2014 by (@NE_Brian)
3DS_TomodachiLife_0410_PR_Screen_Shot_15

Last year, Nintendo released a patch for Tomodachi Life in Japan to address a bug that allowed for same-sex relationships. This same issue has also been tackled for the game’s upcoming western release.

Some may be curious as to why Nintendo fixed the bug in the first place, and why same-sex relationships aren’t possible. For those interested, check out Nintendo UK’s lengthy statement about the situation after the break.


Two developments occurred that led to some misunderstanding about this.

First, as a result of a mistake in comprehension of Japanese, some people misinterpreted Japanese reports and fan activity and thought same-sex relationships were possible.

This occurred because they saw Japanese fans posting game screenshots of male and female Mii characters, where female Mii characters were designed and clothed in such a way that they looked male. Since these explanations were made in Japanese by the Japanese fans who posted the images, the Japanese people do not have such a misunderstanding.

Second, a critical bug occurred in the original Japanese version of the game which made it impossible for the player to continue the game.

When Mii characters were imported from a Wii console, or the previous game in the Tomodachi Collection series on Nintendo DS (which was only released in Japan), into the Nintendo 3DS version, it could lead to scrambled Mii data within the Nintendo 3DS version.

This could result in different Miis being randomly assigned to existing in-game relationships, such as already married Mii, or as just one other example, giving the appearance of same-sex relations. Because this bug caused the inability for the player to save the game data and continue the game, we released a patch.

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  • http://gentlerobot.com/ Gentle Robot

    Boo let the gay miis marry Boo

  • Adam Elbahtimy

    It would be extremely awesome if they released a patch later that legitimized the ability to actually have same sex relationships, since before it seems it was a combination of a bug and cunning mii creation.

    • http://people.ign.com/oskitake Oskitake

      yeah but I wouldnt bet on it, I dont want to start a discussion about this sensible subject, but in the west its viewed by majority as a taboo to show any reference to homosexuality to children. I dont know many things of this game, but considering its from Nintendo its target its mostly kids, so showing this to kids may trigger a heavy fire argument that Nintendo would like to avoid. If it were an M rated game like EA has been doing with Mass Effect & Dragon Age, then there wouldnt be any problem since its targeting to adults.
      For me I think its the best, if the game were a T-15 or M rated game I would ask to include it but since its an E rated (I think, dunno really) its better this way.

  • Operative

    It’s a shame, but I understand Nintendo would rather avoid having a bunch of angry parents all over the US calling for their head, so I definitely don’t blame them

    • http://pixeldujour.com/ Mike

      But now they are stuck in the opposite situation, and have a bunch of angry gay-rights supports calling for their head. In hindsight, if they had known that they were going to get flack either way, they could have at least chosen to upset the hate mongers rather than the people who are just trying to obtain the equal rights they are entitled to as humans.

  • Mr. Foogy

    The title is a bit misleading.

  • oh-so-windy

  • LordDisco

    In all honestly, and this is not to offend, but the main selling point of this game is the creation of life, not marriage. Once you establish your hotel full of Miis, certain Miis start mingling, hooking up, and eventually getting married. Once married, the next question is, “Should we take our relationship to the next level and procreate?” That’s where the game takes off. You get to watch the baby grow up, and later, you have the choice to allow your child to stay in the hotel with you OR allow the child to go off on a journey via Streetpass to other 3DSs.

    I know the timing is a main reason why people want gay marriage to be allowed in the game, but we have to remember a couple key points; Japan is not as open as many other countries when it comes to homosexuality, and Nintendo was appeasing to their original Japanese crowd.

    The other point is programming. The game was programmed to imply that a male and female can procreate to make a child, and there isn’t an option for adoption in the game (Lone enough options like artificial insemination, surrogate mothers, etc). Nintendo couldn’t program all of those extra options in a patch, especially when it wasn’t their intention to have same-sex relationships in the first place.

    I know it isn’t the reason a lot of people want to hear, but that’s just the way it is for now. For the time being, enjoy this game when it is released in North America, because it is still a very fun game. Hopefully in the future, there will be another Tomodachi Collection that challenges certain status quos and just allows for homosexual relationships to happen.

    I hope this was communicated clearly enough. Thanks for your time.

    • gimmegimmekevin

      I get your point but then they should have designed the game with an option for adoption for same-sex couples. Or, you know its a video game so it doesn’t have to be realistic have a damn stork give everyone a baby.

      • Austin

        My thoughts exactly. Does absolutely no harm to just let any two people create a baby in whatever fantastically way they decide. Clearly they aren’t referencing sexual reproduction in Tomodachi Life anyway.

        • Guest

          Thanks Austin

        • LordDisco

          Actually, they are. I’ve created numerous babies in the game, and it definitely implies the two being in love and “something” happening, without going to far into it. As I said though, this is a Japan issue, not an American one, so we shouldn’t be applying our convictions to a game that is still very Japanese. When Japan becomes convicted in this particular area, I will imagine that things will change. For the time being, this is what it is.

        • me

          I know its not a perfect solution but if you wanted to have a male homosexual relationship in the game couldn’t you choose a female mii and dress them like a man and pretend it is male?

          Isn’t that what the japan people did?

      • LordDisco

        Well, we can’t just think retrospectively. Nintendo did make this a while ago, and it is only now releasing outside of Japan. I’ve had the game for what feels like a years now, and as I said before, Japan doesn’t have strong social views on homosexuality.

        Also, that stork thinking is western, so that wouldn’t make sense in the Japanese context. Japan is also a weird country when it comes to teaching about sex and reproduction, as not a single parent I know has talked to their kids about it. Instead, they depend on other sources to do it for them; schools, programs, games, the internet, etc.

        You don’t have to agree with it, but remember, we are talking about a different culture and people here, with their own political views and struggles. You can’t slam your own convictions on them and get angry that they aren’t following along with your own thinking. This is what I was mostly trying to communicate.

    • ronin4life

      Homosexuality is a mixed subject in Japan: They are actually more open/tolerant in many ways than other countries, while simultaneously less so in others…

      • LordDisco

        Trust me, I know. I’ve lived in Japan for years, and I know exactly how the country thinks of it. As entertainment and as a joke even, homosexuality is completely accepted. However, politically and socially, it is still shunned. Japanese homosexuals deal with a lot more abandonment than most other countries, so there is no need to wonder why Nintendo did not include (Or want it to be included) in Tomodachi Collection.

  • ronin4life

    From the sounds of this, there never ways anything close to same sex marriage glitches at all…

  • Bobby

    Hope it never becomes possible…

  • Blitz

    What’s the point if Batman and Solid Snake can’t get married? My Tomodachi Life plans are all ruined.

  • Joe

    I don’t see the problem with including same sex marriage and relationships in the game. Not having it kind of seems to ruin some of the fun in a way because the idea of anybody being able to get into a relationship with anybody doesn’t have as much options. I just wonder if they thought about for example a child making a mii of them-self and their sibling or parent and then getting into a relationship with them…. seems a bit weird to me. I would find that more disturbing than finding out that 2 of the same gender got into a relationship.

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