Nintendo Defends Blocking Gay Game Characters
Nintendo says it stands by its decision to block people from playing as gay characters in its hit life simulator game.
The Japanese company said it would not give in to pressure to allow players to engage romantically with same-sex characters in English editions of Tomodachi Life.
In a statement, the firm said it "never intended to make any form of social commentary".
It said: "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."
The game was originally released in Japan last year and features a cast of Mii characters - Nintendo's personalised avatars of real players - living on a virtual island.
Gamers can do things like shop, visit an amusement park, play games and go on dates.
A social media campaign was launched last month by gamer Tye Marini, who wanted virtual equality for the Tomodachi Life characters, which are modelled on real people.
Mr Marini, who is gay, said: "I want to be able to marry my real-life fiance's Mii, but I can't do that.
"My only options are to marry some female Mii, to change the gender of either my Mii or my fiance's Mii or to completely avoid marriage altogether and miss out on the exclusive content that comes with it."
Tomodachi Life has been a hit in a Japan it has sold more than 1.8 million copies of the game.
The issue marks a cultural divide between Japan, where gay marriage is not legal, and North America and Europe, where gay marriage has become legal in some places.