If Facebook had a baby with The Sims, you would get Miitomo.
Nintendo, known for making games that you and I love, like Super Mario Bros. and F-Zero, has decided to take their first official plunge into the world of smartphones with Miitomo. Miitomo is probably best described as a social media platform, because it’s hard to really encapsulate it; it’s kind of a messaging app and kind of a game at the same time.
If you’ve ever played Tomodachi Life on the Nintendo 3DS, Miitomo is pretty much a spin-off of that. You start off by creating your in-game avatar — dubbed the Mii — which, ideally, would be an extension of yourself and look and talk like you. And then you can pull in friends from Facebook and Twitter to fill your social circle.
You can also play dress-up with your Mii and play minigames within the app to unlock pieces of special clothing to adorn your Mii with to inject more personality to your Mii. You can also snap in-app “selfies” with your Mii doing all sorts of shenanigans. Miitomo is sometimes funny and sometimes bewildering, but more frequently both at the same time.
But that’s not all, Miitomo will also ask you questions, ranging from innocuous questions like “What’s your favourite TV show?” to more surreal, psychological questions like “Imagine Flowers Blooming in Your Mind’s Eye. How many flowers do you see?” (Here’s a tip: Your answer to this question translates to how many people you’ll date in your life.) You can ask your friends personal questions too, to which only you can see the answer.
Miitomo does rather excellent text analysis and can turn what you type into words your Mii will say. The text analysis even extends to subtle animations like a Mii licking her lips when talking about food. Listening to your Mii speak your answer, as well as other Mii’s responses, puts a fun spin on sharing about your life. In fact, this seems to be the solution to encouraging people to share about themselves, in a world where even Facebook has difficulty coaxing people to share more personal updates instead of cat videos.
Miitomo is weird and wonderful, and centuries from now it may very well represent one of the peaks of our social media culture. One can hope.
Miitomo is currently available on iOS in Singapore. The Android version should be forthcoming.