Mii

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Play Nintendo Mii artwork.png
A group of three Miis.

Miis are customizable avatars featured in a variety of Nintendo games. Debuting with the release of the Wii, Miis have been present in every Nintendo platform since.

Development

The development and history of the Mii Maker, as well as the Mii avatar, was a long and arduous process, taking about 20 years to reach fruition. The idea of creating a personal avatar for players has been around for quite some time, as Shigeru Miyamoto has stated to have tried to create such avatars since the Famicom Disk System.

Famicom Disk System prototype

The prototype made by Miyamoto for the Famicom Disk System

During the Game Developers Conference of 2007, Shigeru Miyamoto revealed informations during a keynote speech concerning the long set of ideas and development that lead to the current Mii design, to which he stated to have had the idea of a character creation has been thought by himself for years[1]. Multiple ideas were revealed and screenshot of prototypes were shown that later lead to the Mii's creation 20 years later. A prototype for the Famicom Disk System was shown during this interview, this prototype, while finish, was never released due to the rest of the staff stating that they were no way to turn a character creator into a proper game at the time, especially at the time at which this prototype was created.

Nintendo 64DD

After the Nintendo 64DD, a disk drive peripheral released as an add-on for the Nintendo 64, was launched, the idea of a character creator was once again brought up, with some of the original ideas of Shigeru Miyamoto being re-used in the 64DD game Mario Artist: Talent Studio, which featured a somewhat in-depth avatar maker and the player optionally being able to utilize the Game Boy Camera and the 64DD's Capture Cassette in order to put their own face on their avatar.

Nintendo GameCube stage debut

On the console following the Nintendo 64, the GameCube, another character creator was meant to be implemented in a new game that would be a spiritual successor to Mario Artist: Talent Studio titled Stage Debut, which would have utilize the Nintendo e-Reader and a scrapped peripheral called the GameEye in order to put their own face on an avatar in game, which would then dance or interact with the environments around him.

Stage Debut featured various characters from the Mario franchise, the Animal Crossing series and the Pikmin series. Miyamoto showed a short film realized with this software at the E3 2002 with the working title Stage Debut. This software was later renamed to Manebito yet was cancelled and never released due to the staff again stating that they was no way to turn a tech-demo into a proper game.

Nintendo DS

A screenshot of the DS prototype showing a Proto-Mii based on Satoru Iwata.

Around the time of the development of the Wii by Nintendo division EAD, a separate team, being Nintendo SPD, was coincidentally working on a similar game involving creating farious faces.[1]. The character creator was said to be made similar to a Japanese puzzle game called Fukuwarai in which the player had to place different parts of a face onto a drawing of a face. Satoru Iwata then talked about Shigeru Miyamoto about this project with him then deciding to join the team in order to finally make this concept that had been in his head for around 20 years.

This team, however, completely unaware of Miyamoto’s Mii concept and the software eventually evolved by following Shigeru Miyamoto's concept of avatar creator based on kokeshi, with the avatar maker reaching to a point of allowing the player to edit the parts of the face in terms of size and position, allowing the character made to look more like a specific person.

This software was then ported into the Wii software and was tweaked a bit in order to make it feel more adapted on a Wii, with this project later being titled "the Mii Channel."[1]

Usages

The main usage of Miis is as characters in Nintendo games, either as the main characters, such as in Wii Sports, or as extra customizable characters, like in the Super Smash Bros. series. Sometimes, their faces can be used as masks, like in Animal Crossing: City Folk.

Miis have also been used as ways to identify Nintendo users. For example, My Nintendo accounts use Miis as a form of profile picture. Additionally the Nintendo 3DS requires a Mii to represent the owner of the console. For the Nintendo Switch, users can use pictures of select Nintendo characters and images as profile pictures, but they have the option to create a Mii and select a pose for it.

Mii creation and storage

In every Nintendo platform since the Wii the means of creating, storing, and sharing Miis has been slightly different.

Wii

The first Mii creator was the Mii Channel. Miis stored on the Wii console walk around a white, tiled void and sometimes interact with each other. When the player selects the Create Mii button, they are taken to another screen where they can begin with choosing the gender and appearance of their new Mii.

Users have an option to "favorite" Miis, giving them dark red pants.

Nintendo DS

While the Nintendo DS does not have a built-in Mii creator, two games on the console still included them.

Personal Trainer: Walking

Main article: Personal Trainer: Walking

Personal Trainer: Walking allowed users to either create Miis in the game or import them from their Wii. These Miis are used to represent the player in the walking exercises featured in the game. The Mii creator is set in an yellowish area this time, with the customization features selected on the bottom screen.

Tomodachi Collection

Main article: Tomodachi Collection

Tomodachi Collection allows players to create Miis that can live on an island. The Mii creator is very similar to the one in Personal Trainer: Walking, but now options for voice and personality are added.

Kuruma de DS

Main article: Kuruma de DS

Kuruma de DS allows players to create Miis that can be seen troughout the game. The Mii creator is very different from the one seen in Personal Trainer: Walking and Tomodachi Collection.

Nintendo 3DS

Mii Maker is essentially a smaller version of the Mii Channel: Miis stand on a similarly tiled void and can walk around, but they do not interact with each other. Additionally, to accommodate for a smaller screen, only up to 10 Miis can be shown at a time, with the bottom screen having arrows to scroll between different slides of Miis.

Mii Maker adds several facial features that are not available on the Mii Channel. Additionally, users can use the 3DS camera to automatically make Miis based on one's image or to scan a QR code to make a copy of someone else's Mii.

New colors for pants were introduced with the 3DS.

  • Red: can mean the Mii is...
    • the user character of the system
    • the user character of someone else's system
    • a favorited Mii
  • Blue: the Mii is received from another system
  • Gold: the Mii is a character distributed by Nintendo

Miis are also used as profiles for StreetPass.

Tomodachi Life

Main article: Tomodachi Life

Being the sequel to Tomodachi Collection, Tomodachi Life has the same Mii creator with the same music. However, the option to share Miis via QR codes is introduced. Miis could be imported from the Nintendo 3DS' Mii Maker as well.

Miitopia

Main article: Miitopia

For Miitopia's Mii creator, the Mii is placed in a yellow void with animated waves flowing all around, similar to selecting a Job. 24 additional colors were added for hair, eyebrows, eyes, and lips, many of which can be considered unnatural or dyed colors. The song that plays appears to be a remix of the original Mii Channel theme. Miis can be imported through multiple means: Mii Central (a built-in database of popular Miis), the 3DS Mii Maker, Tomodachi Life save data, friends' systems, or from QR codes. Miitopia also has a personality system like Tomodachi Life, but it is much simpler and consists of 7 instead of 16 personalities.

Wii U

The Wii U's Mii creation app is very similar to that of the 3DS. For starters, it is also called the "Mii Maker", and it allows users to create Miis from photos or import them from QR codes. They can also be sent and received to nearby Wii and 3DS systems. The Mii is a greenish-blue void this time, and are placed on the left while facial features are on the right.

Normal Miis are stored in the systems Mii Maker, with over 300 Miis being able to be stored on the system at once. User Miis are placed in WaraWara Plaza, the home menu of the Wii U. Additionally, popular Miis from Miiverse communities would show up when the service was still active.

Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch Mii creator is the first and only Mii creator in a Nintendo console that does not feature a plaza. Instead, Miis can be viewed via a menu that can be located in the System Settings. It is also the first creator to not have any music.

The Mii creator is a lot more simplistic than previous instalments. The Mii is placed in a light grey, sparkly background. To the left of the screen, the customization features are listed with words and icons this time. When the colors for hairstyle, eyebrows, eyes, mouse, facial hair are selected, there is an option to show 100 more colors, many of which are unnatural for humans.

When choosing a look-alike to start from, the user must select the gender of the Mii first and then 18 seemingly randomly generated Miis will be shown.

Retiring the usage of QR codes for Miis, the Nintendo Switch allows users to send and receive Miis by connecting the console to nearby users. Currently, the only way to share Miis online is through Miitopia's access key system. Miis can also be transferred from Wii U and Nintendo 3DS using amiibo.

Miitopia

Main article: Miitopia

While the Switch version of Miitopia has a creator that is identical to the console's, there are two new features introduced: Makeup and Wigs. Makeup allows the player to add up to 100 shapes to their Mii's face, allowing for even more customization. Wigs replaces the Mii's hair with a wig the player can create by combining bangs, backs, and cowlicks, along with a two different hair colors and accessory colors when applicable.

Replacing QR codes from the 3DS version, the Switch version allows players to share Miis via access codes. Each code is unique for each save file, and by sharing it other players can have access to all the Miis from that file (except for ones made private), along with any wigs and makeup they have on. Players can also import shared Miis from the game into the Nintendo Switch itself, however makeup and wigs will not carry over.

Other platforms

Miitomo

Main article: Miitomo

In Miitomo, players could create Miis via camera or from scratch. QR codes from the Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, and Tomodachi Life could imported as well, and Miis from My Nintendo could be added too. This time, the Mii was placed in a light blue gradient background. It used a similar personality quiz to Tomodachi Life, albeit a bit more advanced. While the game focused on the player's Mii, additional Miis could be made and stored on the app as well, which were referred to as Sidekick Miis.

Mii Studio

Mii Studio is the Mii creator for My Nintendo, and the first official browser-based Mii creator. It was made to replace the now defunct Miitomo.[2] Mii Studio is very similar to the Nintendo Switch Mii creator due to fact that users can import their Mii from their Nintendo Network ID and it features no music. No new facial features are added.

Pikmin Bloom

Pikmin Bloom Mii selection screen
Main article: Pikmin Bloom

Miis are featured in the Nintendo mobile game, Pikmin Bloom. The Mii maker in this game is very limited, as there are only several presets to chose from. Players can, however, change their Mii's skin, hair, and eye color, but only natural color options are available. To access more options, players must edit Miis via Mii Studio and then import them into the game. If the player signs in with their My Nintendo account, the Mii associated with their account will be the first available preset to chose from, and they cannot edit skin, hair, or eye colors within the game. There are also 9 outfits to chose from for the player's Mii.

Trivia

The Mii silhouette displayed on Luigi's phone in The Super Mario Bros. Movie
  • The shape of the Miis were based on Kokeshi dolls, traditional Japanese toys with round heads, cylindrical bodies, and no arms or legs.[3]
  • The Play Nintendo page for the Miis lists Mario as their one and only friend.[4]
  • It has been seen that the word "Mii" cannot be written in either all uppercase or lowercase letters in official contexts. The former can be seen in the StreetPass Mii Plaza game Mii Force, where a line from the Mii Force Captain is written as "Mii FORCE, ASSEMBLE!" A notable case of the latter was seen in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, where an in-game notification was written in character as Sans promoting his own Mii Fighter costume. "Mii" is capitalized in this notification despite Sans' dialogue in the Undertale series being written completely in lowercase.
  • Miis are referenced in The Super Mario Bros. Movie via a silhouette in Luigi's phone when he receives a call from the Brooklyn Couple early on in the movie.
  • Some Miis make a cameo in Mario Kart: Bowser's Challenge in Universal theme parks. They appear in the pre-quede to showcase ride mechanics and safety precautions.

Gallery

References