Nintendo is a company that most people who have played video-games have heard of. They’ve been leading the pack when it comes to game development for decades now and it’s not hard to see why. Of course, Nintendo is also no stranger to experimentation. A ton of their video-games and consoles have been experiments of some caliber, some of which are successful and others not.
However, one of the most interesting things they did with their video-games was introduce the “Mii”. With the release of the Nintendo Wii, the company created a new concept entirely for said console. The Mii was and still is a custom avatar created by the player, one that could be inserted into games to act as a playable character.
While this was a cool concept, there sadly wasn’t a game that made proper use of it for the longest time. Tomodachi Life and Miitomo were sadly gimmicky versions of this concept and both of them failed to make good use of the Miis as characters. The Miis were thrown into games on newer consoles, only for them to end up as mediocre affairs. This all changed with “Miitopia”, which may be the most interesting game Nintendo ever put out.
Miitopia was a pretty average, yet surprisingly solid turn-based RPG. It had everything you’d expect from a JRPG: Taking turns in combat, leveling up, getting new gear, staying at inns, choosing from weird character classes, etc. However, there was one thing this game did that set it apart from any other game on the market. The game had you casting Miis as your playable characters, allowing you to fill the roles of the game’s characters with real people. Heck, you could even cast other fictional characters from different franchises as the game’s cast!
I think this was the game’s most interesting appeal: The ability to have any character in fiction play the role of any character in the game. The crossover potential for this feature is INSANE. This gets especially crazy if you use “Mii Central”, which will put random custom Miis in the roles of all the game’s side characters. For example, I ran into a travelling food connoisseur played by SPIDER-MAN! I also got several villagers who were characters from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Star Wars, and the Legend of Zelda games.
In essence, this is what Miitopia is all about. This was the key selling point, especially for a game as simplistic as this. If Miitopia had released as just another turn-based RPG, then nobody would’ve touched it. The ability to cast characters as your heroes gives it this level of replay value undreamed of.
The game runs on its player-made content, giving it a wealth of potentially interesting characters to pull from. The fact that you can actually vote on which characters you’d like to see get cast gives it this feeling of being a part of a “community”. This is surprising, especially when you consider the fact that this game has no multiplayer compatibility to speak of.
This is honestly what makes the game so great, the fact that it unites us when we’re not playing together. These are OUR custom characters that we made and let loose into this Nintendo service, and seeing them end up in a silly 3DS game certainly warms my heart. I think that’s where Miitopia shines, feeling like this great experiment on how to unite players without actually bringing them together.
This is why I consider Miitopia to be more of a “social experiment”, rather than just another game. It allowed the creativity of millions of goofballs around the world to coalesce into this collage of craziness. I honestly don’t think we’ll ever anything quite like Miitopia again, which is a shame.