First, let me just say I never got into Miitomo, and at least according to various sources, it never took off in the west. Personally, I had exactly three friends on the thing. And one of them only used it once. Granted, there wasn’t a whole lot to do with it and it was deleted from my phone in mere days. That being said, I think a Miitomo type of game on the Switch would be pretty darn neat and add to the social atmosphere. I know, I hate the word “social” too when applying it to “media,” but don’t click away yet!
Part of what makes the Switch such a great console for me are two specific things: first, the portability, which works for my on-the-go working adult with an active lifestyle who doesn’t sit down on a couch pretty much ever. Second, the in-person multiplayer capability. I think these two qualities of the Switch are what could make this a solid idea, taking elements from both and making something really cool. The multiplayer is only going to get better in the future as more games are released. Overcooked, anyone?
But we can’t forget that there’s still a lot of gaming that does and will take place over the Internet, either with real-life friends or Internet friends who are at home, far, far away. Lately I’ve been trying to extend my network of friends on the Switch, in order to build a little army of friends to game with, because knowing the people I play games with adds a layer of enjoyment to the gameplay, for me at least. Playing with strangers just isn’t as fun for me.
By the way, here’s a good time to plug the glowing Switch Friend Code on the right column of this page. Send me a friend request and drop a comment to let me know you did! Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is coming out soon and I’m gonna need some people to beat!
What I’m picturing is, rather than going to your Friends screen and merely seeing a Mii (or chosen Nintendo character graphic), gameplay habits, and friend code, what if Nintendo launched a free Miitomo-esque app that let you get to know your friends better? Having Internet friends isn’t strange, after-all, and much like StreetPass, you can answer super-personal questions such as “are you a dog or cat person?” or “what’s your favorite hobby?”
What I’m imagining would essentially be a blend of Miitomo, Tomodachi Life, and StreetPass’ Mii Plaza. Friends visiting each other’s consoles, saying hi, recommending a game (“I’ve really been enjoying Fast RMX lately!”), bringing them presents, I don’t know – just some more personalization and usage of the Friends List.
Being that I’m blending these three games in my head while coming up with this concept, let’s break it down by game.
Elements from Tomodachi Life
If you’ve ever played Tomodachi Life, you’ve probably been picturing that game since reading this article. I loved Tomodachi Life and one of my favorite things about it was when your Mii would wander into other Miis’ apartments and have a conversation. it’s just that little extra fun feature that would incentivize you to befriend more people, and let you get a little glimpse into whatever fun details they want to share.
I really liked the endless customization features in Tomodachi Life, and that adds to the personalization ability. Each Switch console could be treated like the Miis apartment, and have other Miis visit and hang out. That could be a cool way to go about it. Like Tomodachi Life, you could personalize the interior design, things in the room, etc. Selecting a friend in the Friends List would teleport you into their apartment. Pretty neat, I think!
Elements from Miitomo
Specifically, the “questions of the day” feature. StreetPass had a few questions you could answer that were unchanging, but Miitomo had daily questions that were goofy and just plain fun to answer, things like your favorite movies, your ideal way to spend your retirement, or what makes you happy. These can only enrich the social atmosphere that Nintendo is building. I know, it’s that awful word again. But it’s like Nintendo to be all about the little things. I don’t see Sony or Microsoft building software (or hardware!) that encourages you to go seek out more friends!
Elements from StreetPass
What StreetPass did great was the mini-games. It acted as a perfect incentive for you to want to meet more people. Now, given the fact that StreetPass does not and probably never will exist on the Switch, it wouldn’t be quite the same system where you could only play with each StreetPass hit once, but some little mini-games would be cool. Yes, I’m pointing to you, Slot Car Racers. That game rocks.
Along with the mini-games and “things to do” collection, StreetPass had limited personalization options, but I think Tomodachi Life has all the personalization you could ever want.
Human beings like customizing things. That’s how we’ve always been, since the days of chasing down velociraptors with spears to turn them into belts with our initials carved into them. Think back to how happy everyone was when they learned that they could change something so simple, like the Switch UI to a dark theme! Although that was less “personalization” and more “retinal preservation.” Just consider the popularity of The Sims games. Pretty much everyone I know has a BitMoji. People love projecting themselves on to a character and interacting with others using that persona. That’s the allure of socializing on the Internet in a nutshell, after all. You only show others what you want them to see.
Imagine opening up an app on your Switch and finding you and all your friends hanging out chatting about the answers to the question of the day. Or having a buddy you haven’t played with in a while showing up on your home screen to tell you he got a new dog. Sound insane? You bet it does. Insanely fun.
I’d love if Nintendo gave us an environment to interact with others that we can’t see in person! It will only add to your “playing games with friends” draw. Players still play online, and for a lot of people, it’s not always easy to get together in real life. If the idea is to get people playing together, build an interactive mini-game for us to facilitate that. It would be a nice replacement since losing StreetPass and the glorious Mii Plaza, but mostly it would give the Friend List some personality.
Bonus Photoshop Mockups!
I really enjoy messing around in Photoshop, so I threw these two different mockups together, just to get a feel for having a Miitomo presence on the Switch. Click them for full size!
What do you think of having a Tomodachi Life/Miitomo/Mii Plaza atmosphere on your Switch? Great idea? Worst idea ever conceived by a human being? Let me know in the comments as well as your ideas!