Monday, May 23rd, 2022

From Famicom Disk System to Switch-Evolution of Nintendo’s Miis

Image: Nintendo Life

During the holiday season, we’ll republish some of the best features, interviews, opinion pieces, and issues of the last 12 months. From staff and contributors — The articles we feel represent our best in 2021.Among them is our usual combination of thoughtfulness, frivolity and retro. Expertise, The nostalgia of the game, and, of course, the enthusiasm for everything about Nintendo. fun!

Oh, Mii. I remember when I first created my own Miis in 2006.Perhaps the most character customization we experienced at the time was SimsSo making Miis our friends, family, and favorite video game characters was a fun pastime. So it’s a real shame that Nintendo left Miis in an attempt to move the Switch away from the Wii brand. Of course, these fun avatars still exist — the switch hides its own Mii Maker — but it’s not that noticeable, and it’s certainly been in the backseat in recent years.

That said, with the release of Miitopia on Switch this Friday, Miis will be fully revived with its own enhanced Mii Maker utility, so I thought it would be fun to look back at Miis’s history. , Their popularity and their final side lining.

From the heart of Miyamoto

Nintendo GDC 2007 Mii
image: Nintendo, GDC 2007

The idea of ​​creating your own custom character for video games was an idea that Nintendo had been brewing in the office since the NES era. Returning to the Famicom Disk System, Shigeru Miyamoto thought it would be fun if the player could use the console to create his own custom face for the character that he could control after inserting another “scenario disc”.As the man himself outlined 2007 GDC Keynote Speech It represents the evolution of Mii, and prototypes have also been developed, but when Miyamoto presented his ideas to other Nintendo officials, they really struggled to see how this turned into a fun game, so The idea has been shelved.

However, although Miyamoto is known for his tenacity, this idea will not go away. He took the time to wait for technology to catch up with his concept. Real game Go with this character creation software. And when Nintendo launched its second disk system add-on, the Nintendo 64 DD, it needed a second-generation console before this happened.


Mario Artist Talent Studio
image: Luigi Blood

With the enhanced power of the Nintendo 64 and the space provided by 64DD’s own discs, Nintendo revisited its character creation software and said, ” Mario Artist: Talent Studio, The second game on the Mario Artist line, and the successor to Mario Paint in the SNES game / creation suite. The purpose of this 64DD game was to create a unique character called a “talent”, dress up in different outfits, and then use the software to create a short 3D movie. The talent you create can also be imported and used in other Mario Artist Line games.

You could also use the in-game creation software to draw the face of the talent, but one of the big features Nintendo promoted was the ability to take pictures and use them to create characters. A feature originally included in Rare’s Perfect Dark (until Nintendo doesn’t like shooting faces at players), this face transfer can be done with either the Game Boy camera and can take pictures. You can import it into your game using the Nintendo 64 Transfer Pack, or use a camera that supports NTSC video output and transfer the data using the bundled capture cassette. This allows for incredible details (at the time) of these characters. This is fidelity enough to match the new author of Miitopia.

Talent Studio was unfortunately limited in scope as 64DD never left Japan, so the vast majority of players around the world never experienced this.However, Nintendo didn’t intend to waste this creator’s idea, so it’s the successor to Nintendo’s GameCube. Stage debut, Finally renamed Away.. This title has a more advanced version of Talent Creator, which not only retains the ability to take pictures of yourself with a Game Boy camera, but also uses Nintendo’s GBA e-Reader card to make celebrities and other off-the-shelf products. Game the character.

This concept was released to the public at E3 2002, but I couldn’t find a way to release it. Nintendo ran into the same problem again. After the character was made, it had nothing to do with the character other than making a goofy movie. The project was put on ice again and looked like the end of Miyamoto’s character creation concept.

Time when Mii shines

At the time, unknown to Miyamoto, a completely different team at Nintendo was working on the Nintendo DS software, developing their own character creation suite.Inspired by the appearance of Kokeshi dollThe model is very similar to Miis and impressed Satoru Iwata, then president of the NCL. He informed Miyamoto of the project, and Miyamoto immediately jumped on the ship and abandoned the previous team and Manebito to work on this new “Kokeshi” project.

However, the team was still struggling to figure out how to use the character. They were able to create a collection of mini-games, but eventually realized that the player would stop playing and the character would be unused and unloved. At that time, Wii was also under development, and the team responsible for making Wii Sports had a hard time coming up with aesthetics. They tried using Mario characters and found it incorrect.They said it player It wasn’t the “plumber” of the shop that was a tennis professional.

As a result, Wii Sports had no characters, and the DS team’s character creation tools had no games. You can see where this is heading.

Nintendo GDC 2007 Mii 2
image: Nintendo, GDC 2007

Miyamoto approached the Wii sports team who worked at the talent studio and asked them to change this DS software to something that works on the Wii. To avoid the issue of these avatars having a one-time appearance, it was decided to expose the software to the entire Wii system, not just Wii Sports. There was also a plan to revive the option to convert my photos to Miis by inserting an SD card into the Wii. This is abolished due to concerns that many Wii users don’t want to do the tedious work.

Upcoming Mario Golf: In Super Rush, you can play with Mii, but in the community sampling Miitopia’s extended toolset, it can be difficult to revert to the usual “old” Miis.

And then, as we know, and as we love them today, we have Miis. They will be a staple of the Nintendo system in the age of Wii, 3DS and Wii U. Various “Wii” series games (Wii Play, Wii Party, Wii Music, etc.) will stick to the use of these characters, and Mii will have a chance to shine even more with the DS (Japan) Tomodachi Collection and 3DS follow-up. Shou, Tomodachi Life. The original 3DS Miitopia provides Avatar with its own RPG, forming an integral part of Wii U’s overlooked social hub Miiverse, and will be used in other games such as Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. became. Players compete and fight with Nintendo’s iconic mascot. And who can forget about the unlucky mobile experiment Miitomo? Certainly not.

This concludes our discussion of the long and disturbed history of Mii, a concept of nearly 20 years. The announcement of Miitopia for Switch was a surprise. Its more advanced Mii creators have captivated talented players who go to town with seriously striking work, as they did in 2006 when the Wii was launched. Upcoming Mario Golf: In Super Rush, you can play with Mii, but in the community sampling Miitopia’s extended toolset, it can be difficult to revert to the usual “old” Miis.

Anyway, perhaps Miitopia on Switch shows that Miis still has a lot of life left. If so, I’m looking forward to seeing what crazy creative plans Nintendo has for them.