Thursday, May 8, 2014

Miiquality and Tomodachi Life: Admirable Cause or Awful Controversy?

Nintendo seems to attract negativity to itself a lot these days. Whether it's the Wii U's abysmal sales, orders for the company's president to step down, have their games put on mobile devices, or go third-party, Nintendo really has the ire of a lot of people. That's not to say some of it is unwarranted.

The latest negativity comes from a Nintendo 3DS game that is releasing next month called Tomodachi Life. This is the first time the series is leaving Japan, so it should be a cause for celebration. However, there's a bit of controversy surrounding the game due to a Nintendo representative's comments on a certain modern-day issue-- same-sex marriage. This is not allowed in Tomodachi Life, and this has angered many.

Unfortunately, the gaming community in general seems to get outraged by pretty much everything these days. It gets to the point where it simply becomes noise in the background. It makes otherwise admirable causes become much weaker due to the constant amount of folks crying foul for anything and everything. This somewhat diminishes the impact when we have various members of the gaming community and press playing the role of "the gamers who cried wolf... over and over again."

This Miiquality controversy regarding Tomodachi Life seems like yet another manufactured issue by those who must always be politically correct. While it's incredibly awesome to see this group champion sexual equality and want Nintendo to not be so firmly set in its ways, the leaps of logic and jumps to various conclusions don't do this group's arguments any favors.

In a perfect world, same-sex marriage would not be controversial issue at all. We wouldn't even need to be up in arms over Tomodachi Life because Nintendo would have same-sex marriage in it without any problems at all. There would be no outrage from either side of the aisle.

However, I don't think Nintendo deliberately gave a judgment either way whether same-sex marriage was a good thing or not. No, instead the company dodged the question with some mental acrobatics as a means to not create any kind of perception at all. When you're dealing with a hot button issue such as gay marriage, particularly here in the United States where we still get all-too-common backwards thinking that homosexuality is a sin, it's best to tread carefully. How does not wanting "to provide social commentary" mean that Nintendo doesn't care for same-sex marriage?

If Nintendo doesn't allow same-sex marriage, it is viewed as anti-gay. If it does allow same-sex marriage, then reports of Nintendo defiling the minds of our youth will be plastered all over the news. It's a no-win situation for Nintendo.

There was an incident on the Disney Channel here in the States with a show called "Good Luck Charlie." There was an episode that portrayed two women in a union with their own child. This caused an immense amount of controversy from various parents, religious groups, etc.

It's my belief that if that all happened with a Disney Channel show, which pretty much has the same demographic Tomodachi Life is going for, then if same-sex marriage was implemented into the game by a company known for being family-friendly like Nintendo is, all heck would ensue. It would be damaging for Nintendo, much like it's damaging for it by not including same-sex marriage at all. It's being misconstrued that the absence of two male Miis or two female Miis getting married must mean that Nintendo looks down on the act.

Does that mean homosexuality or same-sex marriage are bad things? Hell no. It just annoys the crap out of me to see so many people intentionally twisting the words of Nintendo to fit their own agendas, to get traffic, and to generate even more unneeded controversy. Thus, those who find that Nintendo is somehow delivering a message and presenting its moral values on the culture through a carefully worded statement just come across as the same type of people who throw up their arms whenever there's any kind of chance to be pissed off about something in the gaming industry. We as an industry need to fight for good causes, and this one really is, but when we do so, we can't create leaps in logic and expect to be taken seriously.

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