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Nintendo says no to gay virtual equality in life game

BY DERRIK J. LANG
AP ENTERTAINMENT WRITER

LOS ANGELES -- Nintendo isn't allowing gamers to play as gay in an upcoming life simulator game.

The publisher of such gaming franchises as "The Legend of Zelda" and "Mario Bros." said Tuesday it wouldn't bow to pressure to allow players to engage in romantic activities with characters of the same sex in English editions of "Tomodachi Life." This follows a social media campaign launched by fans last month seeking virtual equality for the game's characters, which are modeled after real people.

"Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of 'Tomodachi Life,'" Nintendo of America Inc. said in a statement. "The relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation. We hope that all of our fans will see that 'Tomodachi Life' was intended to be a whimsical and quirky game, and that we were absolutely not trying to provide social commentary."

Tye Marini, a gay 23-year-old Nintendo fan from Mesa, Arizona, launched the campaign last month, urging Kyoto, Japan-based Nintendo Co. and its subsidiary Nintendo of America Inc. to add same-sex relationship options to English versions of the hand-held Nintendo 3DS game.

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