Putting Tomodachi Life in Context and the Secret World of Cheating
Hello, Escapist readers! As part of our partnership with curation website Critical Distance, we'll be bringing you a weekly digest of the coolest games criticism, analysis and commentary from around the web. Let's hit it!
First up: at PCGamer, Emanuel Maiberg ventures into the sneaky, sordid, lucrative arms race of game cheats. Naturally, in the name of good journalism, Maiberg takes a turn as a Counter-Strike rage cheater between interviews with Valve and the companies making subscription-based cheating software for its games.
Nintendo's North American PR touched a raw nerve last week when it told the Associated Press it would not be including same-sex marriage into its upcoming life sim/toy Tomodachi Life, implying that to do so would be a "form of social commentary." Of course, including marriage of any kind in a game is a sort of social commentary, as several critics were quick to point out. At Gamasutra, blogs director Christian Nutt offers an even-handed response to the controversy, as a married gay man who has actually played the game. He notes that to treat the game as a 'sim' is a mistake:
Tomodachi Life just isn't intended the same way [as Animal Crossing]. It does not have that possibility space. You can't even exert much control over it. To see it in action it is to immediately understand that.
At the same time, no matter how shallow, we expect our pop culture to reflect reality as it is, not as its producers envision it. Demanding that it does has long been a tool for social change.
Funnily enough, what bothered me was not so much is the omission of same sex marriage, but the enforcement of heterosexual marriage: The idea that whether I wanted it to or not, my Mii -- an image that has represented me since the Wii launched eight years ago -- would marry a woman.
That, in some way, seemed to vacate my identity. Not just that: For a second, it almost seemed like it would eradicate my marriage, much more thoroughly than the impossibility of getting married to a male character would.
Finally, at Eurogamer Graeme Mason walks us through an interesting retrospective on Computer Artworks' 2002 adaptation of John Carpenter's The Thing, which received accolades following its release for its technical innovation. It's nice to get an inside look at the development behind some of the games from years past!
That's all for this week! If you're interested in more great writing, videos and podcasts from this week in games, be sure to swing over to Critical Distance to have your fill!
Honestly considering the shit storm that is happening with the game right now perhaps this article would be published at a time when it's pretty much died down.
Yet ANOTHER article spreading misinformation. Honestly, this whole thing is being blown WAY too out of proportion. As I have said before, ask politely and Nintendo will give it to you in the sequel or in a patch. Kicking and screaming will solve nothing.
Hmm I guess a point goes to linking a much better news article on the game then the news article that was posted on the game >.> Anyway glad to read someone's first hand experience with the game and it's a bit chuckle worthy. The game as design just seems to pair you up with who the heck ever and the rest of the game is like watching a episode of robot chicken ;p
There are many "sim" type games which don't support support same-sex marriage yet... Just look at Harvest Moon; that's one of my favourite titles of all time, but I still can't play as a homosexual character in that. Now, this doesn't affect me massively as I am heterosexual, but I've built homosexual characters in RPGs on many an occasion and this Harvest Moon would be an excellent setting in which to explore the domestic normality of homosexuality in the current age. Though I think it's good that we demand homosexuality to be more prevalent, albeit less sensationalised, in video games I can't help but feel that this tomodachi scandal is getting a bit out of hand... But then I've yet to gain a proper understanding as to what, exactly, this game is :/
Bottom line in my book: Fable did it right. Some NPCs were gay, some were bi, and some were straight; you could marry any of them if they fell in love with you. Even playing field. To consider the omission of same-sex marriage as an avoidance of political statement is backwards to say the least, we should let every one escape into game to be themselves and leave the risky business of tackling the core issues to the game's stories. For example, if I were to play a Fable-esque RPG with the same romance system, yet receive negative interactions from dislikable NPCs due to my chosen sexuality, responses which could be dealt with in a myriad of ways, I would be impressed by that. But it's thin ice, and we're nowhere near the shore yet...