Last week Nintendo announced a bit of an oddball game in its Nintendo Direct. The ten-minute video focuses on a new game planned for the 3DS to be released on June 6. The game in concern is a new title called Tomadachi Life. The video showcases a game making use of the Mii Maker system available on the 3DS, and is largely focused on interaction between the Miis created and imported into the game. For those unfamiliar with Nintendo’s Miis, a “Mii” is a cartoony avatar that the player creates to represent themselves in Miiverse on WiiU or StreetPass on 3DS. Tomodachi Life uses these Miis as characters for the game. While players were given a release date and plenty of previews of what the game can do, the Nintendo Direct announcement gave no real indication of what exactly gameplay for Tomadachi Life involves. Players are the owners of the island, and will populate it with any Mii character they can imagine, and see the way that the Mii characters interact. While this may not seem like a particularly interesting idea to the grumpy, jaded, “hardcore” gaming crowd, the trailer showcases a specific brand of humor that only a Nintendo game can provide.
Detailed in the Tomodachi Life announcement is the process of Mii Creation. First the Mii is made outside the game using the 3DS Mii Maker. The Mii is then imported into the game and is given player determined settings for personality, and voice. After this the Mii wanders around the island interacting with the other Miis that were imported into the game. The title will likely make great use of the StreetPass and SpotPass features on the 3DS. Although the video did not go into great detail on how the game is played, the game appears to be some kind of hybrid of The Sims and Animal Crossing, with a very large degree of overall wackiness thrown into the mix. Parts of the trailer feature famed Nintendo character Samus Aran singing on stage, gossiping in a diner and even confessing her love for none other than Nintendo’s own Iwata. Too add to the hilarity, the trailer showcases a giant Reggie Fils Amie rising out of the ocean, and Mii versions of Link and Zelda.
Certainly much of the gaming community and even the business community is aware than Nintendo has fallen out of favor with today’s gamers, but something about this game feels like the type of game that only Nintendo could create. There is a certain element of ridiculous fun in just Tomodachi Life’s announcement that harkens back to the absurd hilarity of older games like Mario Party or Super Smash Brothers. These games, like much of Nintendo’s library rely less on games being these huge, intimidating projects slathered in guns, zombies and gritty protagonists and more about letting players simply have fun. While there is no single game that can pull Nintendo out of its little rut, Tomodachi Life certainly brings something to the table that players certainly won’t get from other games: pure, lighthearted, ridiculous hilarity. Even games with a sense of humor like Borderlands can not capture the same type of laughter that Tomodachi Life will produce. If players see more games with this “Nintendo factor” that is all over this game, the company may yet see some success out of this generation of consoles.
By Michael Foster