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Feature: Tomodachi Life Is The Game Your Mii Has Been Waiting For Since 2006

Posted by Damien McFerran

Bringing digital denizens to life

When Nintendo introduced the Mii concept along with its Wii console back in 2006, it was something of a revelation — so much so that former bedfellow Rare was inspired to imitate the character creation system on Microsoft's Xbox 360 console with its similarly cute Avatars. A digital representation of the player which traded realism for charm, the humble Mii does an excellent job of getting you even more involved in the action; from those tentative early games on Wii Sports to the more recent track-based action in Mario Kart 8, your trusty Mii has been at your side for eight eventful years, turning your smiles, head shakes and disgruntled grimaces into digital reality.

However, your Mii has never been given the chance to really grow and mature during that time. Instead, it is a merely an empty vessel which — outward appearance aside — behaves identically to every other Mii on the planet. Until now, that is. The release of Tomodachi Life on the 3DS marks a radical turning point in the life of the Mii, because now your digital doppelganger is finally able to have a life of its own. Wishes, dreams, friendships and fall-outs, all are possible in this new life-sim — and much more besides.

Your Mii is essential to Tomodachi Life — in fact, you can't even begin the game without importing your Mii. However, while the outward appearance is retained, everything else about this virtual avatar is fresh and new. You can give your Mii a distinct voice and decide on their overall temperament, and from that point onwards they're a (largely) free spirit, liberated from the constraints of the Mii Maker and able to chart their own course in what can be a strangely moving digital life.

The Miis you bring to Tomodachi Life are still governed by your own guiding hand to a certain extent — they will ask you for advice before forming key friendships or romantic connections — but despite your ability to meddle in their personal affairs, they showcase a surprising degree of autonomy. Previously firm friendships can quickly descend into chaotic brawls, while love triangles can form when more than one Mii wishes to display their affections towards a potential life-partner. When true love does blossom, matrimony and children are rarely far away and these significant events are made even more poignant thanks to the fact that the Miis involved are the same ones you've been nurturing throughout the Wii, 3DS and Wii U generational shifts. You can push them in certain directions, but after playing the game for a few days it becomes glaringly apparent that these characters have their own minds, and you're not always pulling the strings as much as you think.

In some ways, it's surprising that it has taken Nintendo's western offices so long to bring such a game to the west. The original Tomodachi Collection on DS remained a Japanese exclusive, possibly because it was simply deemed too weird for a western audience. However, with fellow life-sim Animal Crossing: New Leaf proving to be a global smash hit, Nintendo has clearly decided that the time is right for this unique offering to leave its native Japan and spread its influence over other regions.

The time we've spent with the game has reminded us just how attached we've become to our Miis, and seeing your own character — the same one who has stood dutifully by your side through all manner of trials and tribulations over the past eight years — begin a new chapter in their existence is both heart-warming and strangely moving. Miis may have enough cute charm to ensure that they haven't outstayed their welcome over the years, but they were crying out for an additional dimension — Tomodachi Life gives them that, and so much more besides.

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User Comments (41)



NintyMan said:

I've always liked Miis, and wish they had more personality and freedom. Tomodachi Life obviously provides that and is without a doubt the most ambitious game with Miis yet. This really is the kind of Mii game I've been wanting for years.



Nintenjoe64 said:

I just wish the Mii Channel let you look at each Mii's achievements within each game. I have almost 8 years of playing history for my Miis!



rjejr said:

I give Nintendo credit, this is the most interested I've ever been in a game that I have no interest in playing. I almost wish 1 of my kids would get it so my Mii could go and have some fun.

My only concern would be the name, "Tomodachi Life" isnt exactly "Disney Magic Kingdom". I'm surprised they didn't westernize it like they did w/ "Sayonara Umihara Kawase" into "Yumi's Odd Odyssey". Though I am glad they didn't go w/ some shovelware sounding title like "Mii Playground".

Maybe "All Your Mii Are Belong To Us" just for laughs. Or maybe not.



XFsWorld said:

I wish this game was available in 2011 when I was really interested in my Miis. I use to stare out the Mii Maker app wishing I could interact with them. It's kinda too late now..



Nintenjoe64 said:

@rjejr Nintendo probably think Tomodachi sounds enough like Tamagotchi to be a worldwide smash!

Now all we need is a Mii FPS.



HeroOfCybertron said:

@Ichiban Must you post your dislike for Tomodachi Life in every thread/article, sereiously I've seen you in almost every thread and article about Tomodachi Life and you post almost the exact same thing?



PJR0cks said:

It would have been an more interesting concept maybe if they added some sort of functionality similar to the game to the consoles operating system itself, so you would turn your Wii U on and see that your Mii has been doing all sorts of crazy thing, while you were gone. of course it would need a lot of things to sort out but it's just an idea.



brandonbwii said:

I've always been a little confused on exactly what you actually control and interact with in Tomodachi Life.



sinalefa said:

So far Rusty is the only Mii centric game that I actually enjoy. Not sure if this could change my mind.



BertoFlyingFox said:

The demo was a great bit of fun, I like how everything was presented and the item management wasnt too confusing or cluttered.



faint said:

@epicdude12302 actually from what i can tell after playing the demo version this needs to be something you cary around with you. home console would be a bad fit.



AJWolfTill said:

This game is extremely intriguing but I have no idea whether I would actually enjoy it. I hope I get to try the welcome version at some point to find out.

@Damien McFerran On the third line of the fourth paragraph, should that be "meddle in their personal affairs"?



rjejr said:

@Nintenjoe64 - "Tamagotchi"

Damn, I knew Tomodachi sounded familiar. Well that makes sense then. I guess if they had called Tamagotchi "Robot Pet Rock" it wouldn't have been as big.



Dragonxflame323 said:

It's been a long time coming. I'm gonna have a blast having mini soap operas with my friend's Miis and my own. No one quite knows how to charm in a game like Nintendo.



Action51 said:

Not my kind of game, but fans of the Sims and Animal Crossing will probably love this.



Sherman said:

I was really into getting this... then I saw those commercials and everything they do it's just... I don't know... not fun at all.



KodyDawg said:

Anywho, this game looks amazing. I can't wait to see who my Mii's interested in, whether it be Rosalina or Zelda. XD

But how in the heck are Microsoft's avatars "similarly cute"?! I'd hardly call them similar to Miis, and I personally just don't like their design.



HandheldGuru97 said:

So excited for this game, it looks insane, yet incredibly fun!!!!!!!!!!! Which is why I love Nintendo Hey @Damo when do you think you guys will have the review up??? Curious to see what the embargo is on this game...Mario Kart 8 was 2 1/2 weeks ahead of release!!!!!



DespyCL said:

This game looks really fun, i enjoyed tomodachi collection even if it was in japanese, too bad that ill never be able to get this, and mario golf... snif



HopeNForever said:

@Nintenjoe64 "Now all we need is a Mii FPS."

We already have one... sorta. It is the dinosaur shooting mini-game in the relatively poorly received Wii Play: Motion.



Bender said:

I always wanted "Miiventure" where you picked a Nintendo themed weapon style and used the wii motion plus for swords or the crossbow gun controller for guns/crossbows and you'd run around beating up monsters in Nintendo themed landscapes. With full control over where you go and whatnot... Sadly, all I can do is dream on that one xD



Noelemahc said:

@rjejr Sayonara Umihara Kawase retains its original title in the European release. As a bonus point, I'm moderately certain many of the folks that will be getting it have played previous instalments of the game on whatever console they could, so the name carries little impact.

Tomodachi, on the other hand... That said, nobody said you can't keep the Japanese title as a memorizable, if gibberishy, foreign word and turn it into a high-recognition brand - Shin Megami Tensei and Danganronpa are but two examples of this working out just fine.



rjejr said:

@Noelemahc - "Shin Megami Tensei and Danganronpa"

I see those 2 as games for adults, or at least teens who know what they want when they get those. Guess I see Tomadachi Life more as Animal Crossing for Miis where the likely purchasers would be kids and soccer moms so I'm just surprised they didn't go w/ a family friendly title like "Miis Play Together".

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