There’s been a lot of buzz around the internet about Miitomo, Nintendo’s first brave step into the mobile market. The elevator pitch is that it’s a hybrid between a social network and a mobile game. But if 10 million unique users is anything to go by, it might be a lot more intricate than that.
Miitomo is cute, strange, and everything in between. Let’s dive into it.
I think I’d better start by clearing one thing up: there’s no real “game” here so to speak. For the most part in Miitomo you’re going to be strapped into Nintendo’s therapy chair and forced to answer a barrage of questions to progress and obtain currency. That’s the real meat of the experience. But of course you’ll oblige, because you really need that ugly cat sweater that’s on sale today.
At first, the questions start off adorably low key, quizzing you on your favorite dessert, or what you like to do on a rainy day. They soon start to range in a different direction though. You’ll be asked to remember the last time you were deeply moved, or my personal favorite: how many flowers bloom in your mind’s eye—weirdly Lovecraftian, right?
Sometimes the questions are philosophical like that, others more corporate (four questions in a row about what sweet treats and cosmetic products you enjoy would make anyone a little skeptical about what Nintendo’s going to use this data for). At this point, the game starts to feel more like Survey Monkey than Super Monkey Ball, and you can feel the NSA breathing down your neck about how many cinnamon rolls you eat in a month.
The only part of Miitomo you could consider a game is an abstract coin pushing activity called “Miitomo Drop” that wouldn’t look out of place in a Vegas casino. Essentially, you gamble your coins earned from answering personal questions to land your Mii on themed rare items of clothing. These items change on a weekly basis and range from cool Ninja garb to a dress that makes you look like a stack of pancakes. Who could say no to that?
“Miifoto,” arguably the social pinnacle of the app, plays out like the ending of a cheap dress-up game. You are provided with an almost limitless amount of options to pose and pout your Mii in their fresh new wardrobe, only to anxiously await the judgement of your peers. It even has its own hashtag, #MiitomoStyle, where you can display your high fashion innovations to the world. It’s a digital narcissist’s cute dream.
Yet of course, when there’s a means to express yourself on the internet, there are people in droves ready to subvert it. In the early days of my Miitomo affliction I received a friend request from a Mii called Trump, who answers only as The Donald. After observing a few suspect answers about building walls and some Miifoto propaganda, our relationship was cut short, and he vanished from the app without a trace. Trump’s marketing team must have really pushed the boat out with this one.
If you’re into it, there’s also a twitter account called Miitomo Hell that lavishes in the meta musings of Miitomo’s most edgy, cataloguing each day’s best attempts to mess with the app’s miserable swear filter.
Miitomo is a hilarious and bleak look into the future of social media, but it’s one that you shouldn’t miss out on. Give it a few hours and you’ll end up addicted, but don’t blame me when you’re forking over extra cash for that cat sweater.
Jordan Oloman is a Geordie Archaeologist from the UK who loves old school point and clicks, Death Cab For Cutie and anything made by Double Fine. Catch him on Twitter @JordanOloman.
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