When people think Nintendo, they think “video games,” but their latest app isn’t all that much of a video game. In the tradition of Nintendo, the company has released a new product that sort of baffles the world by not necessarily being able to be categorized as any one thing. Miitomo is neither a video game nor is it a social network, and yet it has the elements of both intertwined. At the heart of it all, though, Miitomo has no point, and that’s just perfect.
Miitomo is one of those titles that makes you wonder, as soon as you open it, “Okay, now what?”
Once you get into it, however, it’s hard to stop. This is partly due to the game’s general premise: answering questions. Don’t lie to me and tell me you don’t love answering questions. The folks over at Nintendo have harnessed the human delight of questionnaires and encapsulated it in Miitomo. That’s almost all there is to it.
Video games typically have objectives– Miitomo doesn’t. Well, there is a little pachinko-style mini-game that you can play called Miitomo Drop, that allows you to collect exclusive and limited-time clothing and accessories. That’s as far as Miitomo goes in the traditional sense of what a video game can be, though.
By now, you might be thinking, “Then why do people keep playing it if there’s no point?” The social aspect is a large part of what keeps Miitomo compelling. Like any social network, the dynamic works best when you have other people also participating. Preferably, however, you ought to be exploring Miitomo’s ins and outs alongside your friends. Otherwise, you may not have much reason to care what anyone has to say. In essence, Miitomo is largely what you make of it.
Maybe you want to learn new things about your friends, spread rumors, or maybe you just want to see your adorable Mii audibly speak obscenities. Perhaps you’ve set a goal for raising enough money for that impossibly awesome outfit you’ve seen in the shop. It’s also possible that you just want to make everyone as uncomfortable as possible with strange Miifoto images (I know that’s my primary objective).
Once you’ve finished trying out all of that once, you may realize that you won’t have very much else to do, and you’re right, but that’s always what makes Miitomo great. In its simplicity, the app manages to capture an accessibility that keeps people coming back, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.
As this is hardly like your standard video game, it’d be difficult to get a lot of mileage out of grinding through it all trying to answer every question imaginable. There’s an organic and welcome vibe to Miitomo that really makes its successes shine through. Nintendo originally set out to create an application that brought a new way to interact with your friends, acquaintances, and enemies, breaking several social barriers, and they’ve done just that.
Miitomo bears the same sort of enigmatic allure of games like Animal Crossing, where there’s really no ending or any clear objectives, although Miitomo is much more collaborative. Playing alone isn’t what makes Miitomo great, it’s the collaborative effort behind it when everyone participates. In the end, there truly is not real point, but let’s see that stop you from playing.
Have you been playing Miitomo lately? What are your thoughts on Nintendo’s first major foray into the smartphone industry?