No Gays Allowed in Nintendo’s New Life Sim Game

Tomodachi-CollectionNew-Life_gayx400_0It’s a little hard to explain what Tomodachi Life is — it’s kind of The Sims plus Animal Crossing, where you create a little town and manage the weird relationships of its inhabitants. One aspect of the game is romantic attraction between the characters that you create. And wouldn’t you know it, in Nintendo’s version of the world, gay couples do not exist.

But it gets weirder. In the original version of the game, released last year in Japan, there was a bug that allowed gay couples to form. It was never supposed to happen, so Nintendo released a patch that eliminated that functionality, claiming that it caused game-stopping data corruption.

And then they referred to the bug as “human relations becoming strange,” which is kind of awful. Except maybe they didn’t? Maybe it was a bad mistranslation? The internet is divided on that point. They said “Ningen kankei ga okashiku naru,” so Japanese-speaking readers, please weigh in with your interpretation!

Culturally, LGBT relationships are not quite talked about in Japan as openly as they are in some parts of the US. So this could just be a blind spot on Nintendo’s part. They have plenty of gay and lesbian employees, after all, and they surely didn’t set out to spurn queer players.

But eliminating gay relationships from the game doesn’t happen by accident. It’s something that would have to be deliberately designed: the game would have to inspect each character’s gender to determine whether they’re allowed to fall in love. That’s lame, and if Nintendo could create a patch to fix a data-corrupting bug, we hope they can also issue a patch to fix an offensive design flaw.

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  • akimoggie

    Everything in this article is flat out inaccurate or wrong. A simple search would have found you Nintendos official statement not only on the bug but on the supposed homophobia of it. The glitch was not about allowing samesex relations and the relationships were not called strange (mistranslation). The glitch was a data corrupting glitch that made it impossible to progress and which completely randomized character data, including relationships, which could have made same-sex relationships superficially appear but not occur within the game. Its like if your facebook info was scrambled and said you were married to someone across the world you’ve never met in your life. So the translation firstly was referring to the mixed up data, NOT same sex relationships specifically. The “strange” part is simply a poor translation of what should have been understood as just “messed up” or “corrupted.” If you want to make an issue about whether or not Nintendo should allow same sex relationships in their games or not then make an article about that. But do not spread false, already disproven information for publicity. That is horribly irresponsible and sloppy reporting.

  • Kieru

    The Japanese used is: ??????????? (Ningen kankei ga okashiku naru)

    “okashiku naru” literally means “[it] became strange/odd/funny” with the implication that this was outside user control. The word ‘okashii’ isn’t implying any moral objection to the relationships that might have occurred.

    … Add that to what @akimoggle already offered and yeah – terrible and sloppy reporting. Not understanding the phrasing is completely excusable – Japanese can be difficult to translate accurately. Not being able to do a cursory Google search to verify the story? Shameful.

  • DarkZephyr

    So @akimoggie: and @Kieru: ARE gay sims allowed in this game after all?

  • Cam


    I always think it’s funny when a brand new account comes on here claiming that the article was wrong, and yet provides no link.

    Nice try, they cleared out the gay couples from the games, and purposely disallowed gays in the game.

    So fuck them.

  • Large Marge

    I didn’t think anything was settled for the US release of this.

  • Kieru

    @DarkZephyr: No – this children-focused game was never designed to accommodate same-sex relationships.

    This bug allowed two men to marry, become pregnant, and have children. It did not allow for two women to do the same. I’d like to think we can all agree that a man being pregnant would qualify as ‘strange’ to the average person.

    It would be nice if Nintendo eventually enabled same-sex pairings but closing the bug was probably more cost-effective than working out how to stop any additional side-effects of the bug and then adding in algorithms to allow for same-sex pairings natively.

  • BrianZ

    @Kieru: While I find your other posts completely rational and well thought out … however “then adding in algorithms to allow for same-sex pairings natively” is simply going too far. The extra code is already in place, to actively disallow same-gendered characters from forming those relationships in the game. It would have actually be more simple to remove the prohibitions than to enforce them in the first place. You get it? Coding the restriction versus allowing for any two-character relationship which requires no restriction at all? The prohibition on which characters could become pregnant or such are obviously gender-bound already so that’s not even something you could propose as a limitation.

    It’s splitting hairs, but since you brought the scissors out …

  • Kieru

    @BrianZ: I mean no offense by this but exactly how much experience do you have with programming? It’s a very easy thing to say “It should be as easy as removing…” but that is very rarely the case.

    What we think of as a small bit of code is more likely spread across MULTIPLE different functions in the code, defining how Male characters and Female characters interact and how various bonds are formed. If that is the case then modifying becomes exponentially more difficult if the gender-specification is spread across multiple functions.

    The most likely issue that resulted in the bug is that somehow a male character becomes erroneously flagged as female – thus allowing them to marry a man, get pregnant, and bear children. That sort of error could occur within one bad object.

    So… it’s an issue of fixing MULTIPLE functions that define how relationships are formed, or possibly just one object that on occasion flags someone as the wrong gender.

  • hephaestion

    Fuck Nintendo. Nintendo sucks.

  • DarkZephyr

    @Kieru: I don’t think its focus on children should have anything to do with it, there is nothing kid unfriendly about same sex unions. :) Anyway, I agree with you. I hope they allow it. :)

  • hotshot70

    Remember the game “Bully”? I found a way to have a “gay” kiss with another boy. It was one of the “spoiled rich kids”. You start chtting, beign friendly, then you find out you can give him flowers, them eventually kiss.

  • anti-liberal


    Bravo to them! They did a good thing.

  • sangsue

    Apparently, no one here knows about the “Boy’s Love” video games in Japan, including rape games. Yes, they are rape games and normal boy’s love video games. So I highly doubt that Nintendo is anti-GLBT, it may just be that they don’t want that for a children’s video game. The boy’s love and rape games are for 18+ of course.

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