Pretend for a moment that you’re hiking in the mountains and the only way to reach the other side of some cliff is by crossing a wobbly bridge. Would you just cross that bridge knowing the risk? Or maybe you would just avoid it, hoping you find some other easier path? The video game industry has come across that bridge in the form of LGBTQ representation throughout the medium. Most recently, Nintendo has been under fire for bringing their 3DS life simulator Tomodachi Life to America with the option to have same-sex relationships completely omitted. While it was previously in the Japanese release of the game, this was, according to the company, a glitch. Said glitch was patched soon thereafter. As a gay man, I’m not offended. They’re a business, and I can’t blame them for taking precaution. Still, it’s pure cowardice.
Back in 2008, with the release of Mass Effect, BioWare came under fire for the inclusion of a same-sex sex scene. Good for them for including the ability to have a lesbian relationship with a hot, blue, alien chick. Even then, however, you couldn’t have any gay relationships, nor would you be able to for another two whole games. The point is BioWare created a video game aimed at adults, but Nintendo, whose games are widely marketed towards family and the standard gamer of all ages, has no experience with tackling sexuality in any form in their games.
Fire Emblem Awakening was a big chance for them to open up the window to same-sex relationships, but there was the excuse that the same-sex relationships would not be able to produce the characters’ biological children, who would prove vital to the plot.
But Tomodachi Life is another story entirely. This is technically Nintendo’s first chance at finally openly exploring sexuality and relationships. How then do they go about this? Mass Effect had the guise of being a game aimed at the adult demographic and still excluded gay relationships or interactions. By now, no one could care less about who is marrying who in Mass Effect 3. However slowly it took to actually get swimming, it took that plunge for BioWare to make their series free as it should have been the first time around. I was dying to get with Kaidan Alenko from the very beginning, by the way. Those bastards made me wait three games until I could finally Kaidan his Alenko. But I digress.