Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mii-ness

The introduction of the Nintendo Wii to my life has effectively divided my life into two parts — B.W. (Before Wii) and A.W. (Anno Wii-i). In preparation to buy the system, I knew I’d be looking forward to the next generation of Nintendo software, but the added benefit of access to old Nintendo, Sega and TurboGrafx-16 has allowed me to also relive my otherwise squandered childhood. I like that.

What’s struck me most about the Wii, however, is the Mii component, which lets players cobble together little representations of themselves from an available selection of facial features, hairstyles, skin tones and such. Mere moments after Spencer, Aly and I had transformed ourselves into Miis — Spiincer, Alii and Driiw, respectively — we went overboard creating a host of Miis for other people we know — some flattering, some not so much and none to be mentioned here. And that’s not mentioning are vast collection of celebri-Miis, including Cosbii, Jiisus, Lii-Lo, Britnii (bald version), Bowii, Iiman, Niicole, Padma Lakshmii, Anna Wiintour and a host of others that don’t readily jump to mind. (Yes, Anna Wintour was Mii-ified. And I’d wager my house is the only one in the Wii-enabled universe to performed such a feat. Though, for the record, she could be easily switched to “Joan Diidion” and I don’t think anybody would notice.) Aside from functioning as your virtual Wii-vatars for functions like the Everybody Votes Channel — a Wii function I have yet to really understand — or sending and receiving email, the Miis also appear in games. In Wii Sports, the Miis are the ones running around and hitting balls, despite their notable lack of hands and legs. In the Wii version of WarioWare, the Miis also occasionally appear in the various mini-games, sometimes in surprising ways. (My head on a jack-in-the-box spring, for example. It’s neat.)

driiw
the mii me

Nintendo guru Shigeru Miyamoto — the man responsible for creating Super Mario Bros., Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong, among others — has apparently been toying with the idea since the days of the original Nintendo system but hadn’t had a means to do anything useful with them. Finally, when Nintendo designers began work on Wii Sports — a game which initially was going to utilize Mario characters — they realized the possibility to give the world Miis.

I’m not the only person who’s hyped on Miis, it seems. A simple Google News search for “mii” gets a lot more results than I would have expected. First off, Nintendo has noted the popularity of Miis and has decided to expand what people can do with them. For example, they’ve announced a new Mii Popularity Channel, which I imagine would work like a Mii Hot-or-Not or something. Nintendo’s not the only one. Nintendo also recently Mii-ified two popular Japanese comedians and made them available to be downloaded by the general public. (The comedy stylings of famed jokesters Shuzo Matsuoka and Sanma Akashiya — on your Wii!) T-shirt company Mr. Cloud is now offering a shirt with your Mii’s face printed onto it.

Some whole websites have been created around Miis — specifically Mii Station, a site which functions only to help the Wii-tarded who can’t seem to create a Mii that resembles them. For a mere $5 charge, you send Mii Station a digital photo of yourself and they send you a finely crafted Mii in your image, which you can then add to you stable of ready-to-play Miis.

Most shocking of all: an article headlined “Can Nintendo’s Mii Concept Kill MySpace?” The article discusses how Miis could allow for third party constructions that could build an actual social network around them.
Gaming industry analyst Richard Doherty, research director for Envisioneering Group, said that it is a smart move by Nintendo. "Absolutely. Within a year, the Wii may be the most successful and valuable social-networking community on the Web," Doherty said.

"Nintendo is creating a framework for an open environment that will allow other developers to add value," he explained.
So very weird. And I just want people to be friends with Cosbii.

Speaking of which, anybody Wii-powered reading this now should become my Wii friend. Wii?

1 comment:

  1. I've been playing with Driiw more and more recently. He gets along well with others.

    I'll send you Sanam (Siiniim?) soon.

    ReplyDelete