Thursday, April 14, 2016

I Don't Think Most Gamers Understand "Miitomo".

Nintendo's first mobile project, Miitomo, launched a couple of weeks ago here in North America. With it launched My Nintendo, a service that Nintendo wants 100 million accounts signed up to. Thus, one could say that Miitomo is a bit of a Trojan horse to get people to sign up to My Nintendo, this being the main point to Nintendo's mobile app in the first place.

Notice how I say mobile app and not game. Miitomo isn't meant to be played like a game. It's not really meant to be played at all. Instead, it should be used. Sure, there's Mii Drop, a mini-game within Miitomo that has users dropping Miis into a pachinko style board in hopes of gaining exclusive attire for their Miis, but that really is the limit to the area of play that Miitomo possesses.

Miifoto is magic. Miifoto is love. Miifoto is life.
The confusion that Miitomo is an app and not a game has been a point of contention with many games. Sort of like how gamers have the opinion of casual gamers not knowing a joystick from a d-pad, a lot of true and blue gamers really don't understand Miitomo. Not to say that even if they did understand Miitomo fully that they would enjoy it. It's definitely an app that isn't for everyone.

Firstly, Miitomo does have "gamification" in how users can earn MyNintendo points for doing in-app tasks, such as connecting one's Facebook and Twitter accounts to Miitomo, changing one's Mii attire on a daily basis, and answering a certain amount of questions per day, to name few. Many gamers use Miitomo as a means to quickly accumulate MyNintendo points. One such way this is done by adding as many people to their Miitomo friends list as possible.

I saw it was commonplace on sites like GameFAQs and NeoGAF, adding pretty much what amounts to be strangers to their Miitomo friends list. Then, after having about 400 strangers, these same people wonder why they don't care about what these people answer, not having the motivation to really interact with them, thus finding Miitomo to be a bore. 
Posting and reading off the wall answers
is part of what makes Miitomo fun.

While one can easily artificially build up their Miitomo friends list with strangers found on the net, that's really missing the point of the app. Miitomo is a social app, and it doesn't hide this fact at all. It's meant to be used with your circle of friends. I understand that not everyone has friends who use Facebook or Twitter, much more have them interested in using the same app as them. However, through gathering your real life friends, which fortunately I was able to do, I have really enjoyed myself with Miitomo.

Furthermore, Miitomo isn't meant for long stretches of use. It's perfect for answering a handful of questions per day, perhaps perusing your list of friends to see their answers, and maybe even commenting on their answers to start a fun discussion. I noticed some gamers were using Miitomo for hours at a time (which isn't good anyway as Miitomo confusingly sucks up battery life like the dickens), and then they wondered why they got tired of it so quickly. Again, Miitomo isn't a game. It's not meant to be used in long bursts. Instead, just hopping in while you wait for your order to ring up at Starbucks, while you ride the bus to school or work, or while you get ready for work or bed works wonderfully.

Lastly, a point that I think gets lost on many gamers, especially the traditionally catered to demographic of 18-35 year old men, is that Miitomo really isn't being marketed for them. It's also not really meant for them either. As this initial Miitomo spot on Nintendo Mobile's YouTube channel shows, it's really putting the spotlight on kids and young adults. I imagine that market would eat Miitomo up, if they aren't already. So, when xXx_PaperBoy69_xXx (pardon the awful example!) logs into Miitomo, wondering what the heck people see in this app, well, he shouldn't be surprised he doesn't get it. Heck, even some of the Nintendo faithful don't "get" Miitomo, and that's all right. There's nothing wrong with that. It's just not an app for everybody. Sometimes the greatest answers are the simplest ones.

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