Friday, June 20, 2014

Shall We Do It? (Tomodachi Life)

Even after all of the forehead-smacking, hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing that followed Nintendo of America's ham-fisted and tone-deaf response to consumer complaints that its recently released 3DS title, Tomodachi Life, wouldn't feature same-sex couplings, I still went ahead and picked up a copy of this quirky "life sim" (of sorts) at launch.

Although I've since spent about eight hours with the game, I'm not yet sure what I think about it. Oh, it's definitely cute, and there's no question it has a surprisingly sharp sense of humor, but it's also true that all of the above's already starting to wear a bit thin with me.

Anyway, compare my experience so far with this title to, say, the one I've had with Animal Crossing: New Leaf--a 3DS cart I played for a couple of hundred hours (OK, maybe more) before any feelings of burnout set in--and it should be clear why I'm currently a bit skeptical as to how long Tomodachi Life's content is going to continue to appeal to me.

It doesn't help, of course, that Tomodachi Life is far less engaging--in my personal opinion, of course--than New Leaf. In part, that's because in the latter, players fully control their avatars as they race around town picking fruit, planting flowers and plucking fish from the sea, but in the former, all players do is tap the screens of their 3DSes now and then in an effort to see what their avatars are thinking or to hand them food, clothing or other presents.

I fully understand and appreciate that Nintendo's designers likely went this route in order to create an experience that's as far removed from the company's Animal Crossing series as possible, but the fact is that I would've much preferred it if they'd simply made Tomodachi Life be something along the lines of "New Leaf with Miis and a closer-to-real-life setting."

Other than all of that, some of you probably are wondering how I feel about the title's aforementioned lack of what's known to most North Americans as "marriage equality." Unfortunately, I don't have a whole lot to say about that aspect of Tomodachi Life either, as my lookalike Mii has yet to form a romantic bond with any of his neighbors, gender be damned.

Once that finally happens, though, I'll let all of you know how I feel about it in a future installment of "Shall We Do It?"

I'd expect those feelings to be more positive than negative, by the way, as my lookalike Mii's technically a female--I made him look and sound male--and as a result he should earn the affections of one of his burg's (it's called Rainbow Island--creative, I know), uh, "fully male" ("truly male"?) counterparts.

(Please don't take the above to mean I'm OK with Nintendo of America's decision to leave lesbian, gay and bi relationships out of Tomodachi Life, as that's the complete opposite of how I feel about the situation. I'm glad a workaround of sorts exists for folks like myself who want the experience to be as gay as humanly possible, but I can guarantee you that should the company release a follow-up for the 3DS' successor that fails to fully allow and embrace such pairings, I'll ignore it without batting an eye.)

It's possible, though, he'll attract the isle's lone lesbian--Madonna, who's male "below the covers" but in all other aspects is the cat-eyed, beauty-marked "Queen of Pop" we all know and love (or love to hate, in the case of some of you).

Here's hoping that's not how things play out and my lookalike will start macking on Tomonobu Itagaki, Hiroshi Yamauchi or, uh, Fox Mulder, while Madonna will hook up with Princess Zelda, Gwen Stefani or Steffi Graf.

In the meantime, are any of you also playing Tomodachi Life? If so, what do you think about it at this point in time?

See also: previous 'Shall We Do It?' posts


Walter Beast said...

My review: Tamagotchi Life: The Friend and Family Fan-Fiction Generator.
Been playing with a couple of co-workers, and its funny sharing stories and the strange scenarios the game has churned out for our Mii's.
All of my residents are based off of celebrities/TV show characters, so there is a lot of funny situations that rise out of that.
And then the hidden features that are in it. So much to unlock and discover, even if its useless.
Its kind of a game that should just come pre-installed onto the 3DS, like in the Mii-Plaza. A little fun "game" app, that gives extra interaction with your Mii's.
I'm having a fun time with it. Its not something you can grind through, but best taken in small bite-sizes.

2D2Will said...

I haven't bought it yet, but I'm glad the game was deemed a success by NOA. Hopefully it'll make localizing weird Japanese games more common from Nintendo. And if they ever make a new Tomodachi Life, hopefully they stick to their promise to include same sex marriages. said...

I fully agree with your comment about this being the kind of game that should come pre-installed on 3DSes. For me so far, it's just a bit too "thin" from a content and gameplay standpoint to be anywhere near as compelling as, say, Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Does that mean I regret my purchase? No, but I'm also pretty sure I won't be playing this one for 8-12 straight months like I did New Leaf. Anyway, thanks for your mini-review--I really appreciate it! said...

It'll definitely be interesting to see how NOA follows up on this game given its supposed success so far. My main interest would be in seeing the company localize more of NOJ's quirkier efforts, but a sequel to this game (that includes gay relationships, of course) would be welcome, too.

GameBlogGirl said...

Tomodachi Life has already become kinda uninteresting to me. It is pretty overpriced for what you get. It's definitely nowhere near as substantive as Animal Crossing (which I've put more hours in than Skyrim!). :P said...

Hey there, GameBlogGirl! I can't disagree with anything you said here, unfortunately, as I also feel it's a bit over-priced and lacking in content. I'm still having fun with it, but I really can't see it lasting more than a few more weeks, at the moment.

finchiekins said...

I agree with Walter. Tomodachi is more like a digital toy you just mess around with, more like the Tamagotchi that has such a similar name, Nintendogs, or Electroplankton. I'm still having a lot of fun with it, but it's much less of a game with any kind of an objective than even Animal Crossing. It lends itself a lot more to being installed rather than on a cartridge, because it's something you'll want to check in on occasionally rather than sit down and play. said...

Yep, I agree, finchiekins--which is why I'm kind of smacking myself in the forehead right now over my decision to buy the retail version of the game. What can I say, I wanted the box art! :P

BTW, I'm going to be sending out your copy of Painter Momopie tomorrow. Sorry it's taken me so long--I was away for the last week and now I'm playing catch-up in terms of work. Fun!

TheGameroomBlitz said...

Phew! Dodged a bullet there. Not even slightly sorry I got Kirby instead. I need my video games to come with gaming! said...

Don't get me wrong, Jess, there's definitely something appealing and even fun about what's on offer here. I'm just not sure it'll last all that long. Even if it does, though, I still can't help but wish it were a bit more engaging.

Justin Difazzio said...

I finally decided today that I want this game. Mostly because during the Nichiest podcast I learned that you can sort of fudge the gender system. That's not ideal, but it's something.

I can't wait to hear more of what you think.

BTW, you're totally gonna end up with Reggie Fils-Aime. said...

It's interesting that the latest Nichiest is what pushed you to buy the game, Justin, especially since both shidoshi and Anne had some pretty negative things to say about it (as did I, really).

Anyway, I look forward to hearing what you think about it after you've had a chance to play it for a while.

Also, YES, you definitely can fudge the gender/relationship system. Gay men can be made by starting with a female Mii and then making them look, sound, etc., male. They'll start out in a dress, but later you can change them into any other clothes you want.

The same holds true for the ladies--as in, you can make lesbians my starting with a male Mii and making them look/sound feminine.

The only issues that persist after this are that the game will refer to your gay male Mii as "she" or "her" and that your gay male Mii will be disappointed (but that's it) whenever you dress him in male clothing.

I kind of screwed up my island a bit by throwing a lesbian Madonna into the works, as she potentially could woo my lookalike (and vice versa), but so far I've avoided that.

As for your comment about me (or my lookalike) and Reggie: well, just this morning Ganondorf professed his love to me and we're now officially a couple, so I think you may be wrong. Ha ha!

Justin Difazzio said...

Whoa. The King of Evil, huh? Hey, if that's what trips your trigger! said...

Well, I've always had a soft spot for bad boys ;)

Kaze said...

Oh no! Sorry to hear you're less than enthralled with the game! =[ I've been having a blast with it but I definitely have a hard time recommending the game to anyone. I don't think I'll be into it as much as I was with Animal Crossing (Although it is my 2nd most played game apparently next to AC lol)

I actually made my IRL boyfriend into a girl in the hopes of having our Miis get married and my Mii I think is finally ready to pop the question although I've had to fend off a ton of suitors (including Miyamoto and Keiji Inafune lol) who have been trying their hardest to win his hand! ^^

Monster_Hunter2882 said...

I've actually been enjoying it quite a bit despite it being shallow and repetitive at times along with being unfortunately hetero-normative . Funnily enough it's been cheering me up from some not happy times cased by how hetero-normative the world can be. For know I decide it would be better for me that instead moping about the hetero-normative programming, to make it as gay as possible in spite of said programming (I even named my island Baradise for this reason) and hope Nintendo keeps their promise for the next one. I've also been having some (immature) fun with it by working around it's langue checker thing. I managed to get my Mii to sing to a song about receiving a blow job. It's also a fun game to make Miiverse posts with

As for romance my Mii fell in love on the 1st day I got it (June,13) and they had a baby 2 days ago. It doesn't seem like it would hard to say the baby is adopted in the next game because the scene were they announce is just "Ta-Da we had a baby".

Also like you said if the next one doesn't have same-sex romance then I'm not buying it.

Edit: Something I do when I have to make a Mii the sex that they aren't I put symbol in their nickname to signify their true sex.

Monster_Hunter2882 said...

I can't blame you, Super Smash Bros. Melee showed that his man parts can leave a pretty nice bulge in tight clothing. said...

Oh, my! I had no idea until now, Sam... said...

Oh, I'm not hating it or anything, Marty! I'm just not totally in love with it--which is how I expected to feel before all of the no-gay-marriage stuff came out. Anyway, I'm actually rather enjoying it, but I also can see how this game's content probably isn't going to be able to maintain a hold on my attention for months on end like Animal Crossing. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that, of course, but I wouldn't have minded if that had been the case!

As for your story about putting your IRL boyfriend into the game: that's great! I was going to do the same with my husband, but in the end I decided to leave him out because I didn't want to have to beat the ladies off of him with a stick :) said...

Hello again, Sam! I'm glad you're enjoying the game and that it's helping you feel good during some not-so-happy times :(

I am enjoying it, BTW. I guess I didn't realize this post had been written in such a negative tone! That's probably due to me being a bit disappointed that the game hasn't quite lived up to my expectations, even with the no-gay-marriage stuff thrown in.

I love the name of your island, BTW! I completely forgot that I was going to have to come up with a name for my island when I started playing the game while on a plane late last week, and at the moment I just wasn't interested in sitting there and hemming and hawing before coming up with something, so I just went with something generic.

Oh, well, at least it brings to mind one of my favorite games (Rainbow Islands) and also suggests more than a bit of gay-ness :)

TheGameroomBlitz said...

At risk of perpetuating stereotypes, I always thought the self-aware kitsch and surreality in Nintendo games would make them more appealing to the gay community than games by Sony or Microsoft. So it's kind of unfortunate that they would close the door to relationships for the people that (potentially) would be most interested in this game.