The lack of the depiction of same sex relationships inspired one local Mesa activist, Tye Marini to challenge video game industry super giant Nintendo, over their absence of same sex romance and relationships in their game, Tomodachi Life.
Tomodachi Life is a light-hearted simulation game where players create Mii avatars that represent family, friends, and loved ones. From there players can interact with the avatars and watch as the personalized Mii’s play games, go camping, or find love. There was a problem for Marini when he realized that same sex "Mii" characters cannot fall in love and have a relationship in the game.
Marini explains his frustration and says, “One of the main reasons I felt like this needed to be addressed was because Tomodachi Life is a very personal game that uses these Mii characters that have been featured in many other games, but this game in particular takes it to another level that really hasn't been seen before,” Marini went on to say, “One of the biggest ways they interact in the game is being in romantic relationships with each other.” This concept cannot happen for same sex Mii characters and Marini wants to bring awareness to the fact that romance and relationships are a vital component to the game. Miis, who are in a relationship, can eventually get married, move into a house, and even have children which open up even more in-game content.
Marini chose to create awareness for the lack of same sex relationships in Tomodachi Life by creating his Miiquality initiative via several social networking websites. Marini stayed positive throughout his social media campaign, stressing awareness of the issue and asking that Nintendo be more inclusive, instead of attempting to spread anger or demand a boycott. “I’m a huge Nintendo fan, I’m very passionate about Nintendo,” explained Marini, “I feel boycotting the game would do more harm than good.”
His positive request to Nintendo to be more aware of same sex depictions in their games was ultimately successful when the company released an official statement of apology along with the promise of same sex inclusions in future iterations of Tomodachi Life. “The fact that the Miiquality campaign has been successful in influencing Nintendo is just amazing to me, I’m really thankful for their response,” explained Marini.
With the media campaign a success Marini now devotes his time to promoting Tomodachi Life in the hopes that increased sales of the game in the states will encourage Nintendo to create future titles and deliver on their promise. Marini went into detail about why he believes it is important that Tomodachi Life does well and says, “I still hope people buy Tomodachi Life because the better it does the more likely we’ll be able to see these sequels where Nintendo has said they will include these same sex relationships.”
Coming under the usual criticism one would expect from a controversial issue Marini has managed to remain upbeat throughout the campaign and continues to support Nintendo products. Marini explained his initial decision to organize the Miiquality movement, “I wasn't trying to attack Nintendo, and I didn't believe they were purposely excluding people. I just wanted to bring this to their attention because I thought it was something that was overlooked unfortunately.”
From the initial Miiquality video posted on social networking site Vimeo to the letter of apology issued by Nintendo the entire engagement took little more than a week. Marini credits much of the ultimate and timely success of the Miiquality campaign to the fact that he and many supporters desired understanding and awareness over criticism. “Being positive about the whole thing is really important. I try to avoid negativity whenever I can, that’s why I didn't like a lot of the negative headlines coming out,” explained Marini.
Miiquality was Marini’s first ever attempt at starting a social movement and it appears to have been successful at garnering the positive and proactive change he was originally seeking.