Nintendo’s ‘apology’ for not including same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life is both unsettling and disappointing to me.
For those who aren’t aware: Tomodachi Life is a social game for 3DS which involves Nintendo’s Mii avatars. It was announced relatively recently, but my understanding is that the game’s already seen release in Japan and will be coming to North America and Europe soon. Its brilliantly bizarre trailer paints a picture of personalisation, pets, concerts and other fun activities, with the Miis developing relationships with one another. However, those relationships are glaringly heteronormative, and when challenged on the point, Nintendo stated that same-sex relationships weren’t allowed.
I’m currently a few weeks into Pokémon X, some 12 years since I last played a game in the series. I earned five gym badges, have logged over 190 entries in my Pokédex, and have assembled a shaky team of mostly pretty, gothic-looking creatures with which to battle.
I also recently witnessed my Wartortle evolving into Blastoise – the versatile, cannon-shelled turtle who became my favourite Pokémon way back in Pokémon Red. I have a vivid memory of trading two shinies for the shiny Blastoise card at the school gates, back when Pokémon trading cards were all the rage. So, it’s fair to say I have a nostalgic attachment to this series.
What’s surprised me – after a decade and 500 new Pokémon have passed – is how little has changed. Often this is a good thing, but for such a monumental series as this, I’m not so sure.
As my refurbished website now boldly proclaims, I have left Britain’s shores for colder pastures in Stockholm. My partner and I became expatriates at the very end of November, meaning that with a gap around Christmas, I’ve been abroad for a month.
That month has afforded me many opportunities, from the mundane (tidy up my hard drive) to the ambitious (work out where my career can take me – literally). Ultimately my objective has been to take a 3-month sabbatical, helping us both to engage with a foreign culture and helping me to work out what the games scene is like in Stockholm – and where my career should go from here.
Suffice it to say, it’s all a world apart from the daily rhythm of commuting into London, to design games just outside the Silicon Roundabout.