John Oliver On Nintendo’s Marriage Equality Problem
By Charles Webb on May 19, 2014
John Oliver pokes at Nintendo for its flat-footed gay marriage stance and brings Mario and Link along for the ride.
In the most recent episode of Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver noted that the 10th anniversary of the first legalized gay marriage in the United States was occurring around the same time that Nintendo was dealing with a PR headache over not allowing civil unions.
That is to say, its life and breeding sim, Tamagotchi Life, allowed marriage between male and female characters when released in Japan, but did not permit same-sex relationships. As Nintendo was preparing to localize the game for the U.S., they chose not to permit same-sex unions, in spite of a very vocal contingent of fans, with the company explaining that they didn’t want to make a political statement through one of their games in support of the contentious issue.
“I mean, sure you could use a civil union cheat code, but it’s just not the same,” Oliver joked of Nintendo’s stance.
Last week, however, Nintendo apologized, saying that while it was too difficult to implement same-sex relationships in the current game, they would be more mindful of equality going forward.
Oliver then had a little fun with CG depictions of some of Nintendo’s mascots in same-sex relationships, pairing Link and Mario, Bowser and King Kong, and Toad with Yoshi.
The whole thing was a mess for Nintendo, a company which, in attempting to not make a political statement, ended up making a very pointed political statement regarding inclusiveness and their bottom line.