When Miitomo launched, I had no plans to download the app. It seemed like a watered-down version of Tomodachi Life, a 3DS game that generated little buzz outside of gaming communities. I had no interest in it until all my friends downloaded it and, in true millennial fashion, my FOMO kicked in. Within two hours it had me enamored.
Then in 2018, with barely two months left until its two year anniversary, Nintendo announced they were pulling the plug on the app. It's closing down on May 9, 2018. In the wake of Nintendo’s death sentence for the under appreciated and often forgotten Miitomo, here’s why we’re going to miss it:
It encouraged silliness
The Miifoto feature was one of my favorite things about the app. You could put in your own photos and superimpose Miis in ridiculous poses with expressions that captured anime-level rage to weepy sadness. You could also dress up your Miis in clothing that wasn’t available in the store or through the mini-games. By providing those options it was pretty much Nintendo saying "Here! Have fun! Be silly!" almost akin to parents forcing their kids to go play outside with their friends during summer vacation. During its first two months, I woke up everyday to some new Miifoto concoction my pals had made and we still laugh at them two years later.
It satisfied the need to collect stuff
Miitomo was really good at making you want stuff and then wanting to have all of that stuff, specifically through clothing items. To bring users back daily, Miitomo offered an exclusive clothing or accessory item. There were clothing sets that could only be won through the mini games while limited time or seasonal collections were coveted. If you were a Gaia Online kid, Miitomo felt like the less embarrassing version of that compulsive need to get every clothing set for your avatar. My personal favorites were the pancake and bread collections. (I know I have a collecting problem and I like hoarding stuff, but at least hoarding in Miitomo was easy and didn’t take up a storage unit.)
And most importantly...
It made you get to know your friends better
One of the core features of Miitomo was getting asked questions by your friends’ Mii likenesses. Sometimes they were as simple as "What do you like about dogs?" to some philosophical nonsense that made you sit there and think "Why is my Nintendo game asking me about how to make life fulfilling?" But through that, you found out new things about your friends and got closer to them. The heart of Miitomo was friendship. I mean it’s right there in the title (in case you don’t know, tomo means friend in Japanese). Nintendo has always valued fostering friendships - even in unintended ways, like impromptu Smash Bros tournaments in your friend’s basement. Miitomo was just another way Nintendo nudged people to care about their friends.
Miitomo has sorta kinda become this weird little time capsule of what my friends and I were like two years ago. At least Nintendo increased the hair color options in the meantime, so my Mii can finally look like, well, me.
I don’t think I’ll be keeping it on my phone until its death day. Miitomo was Nintendo’s way of getting their toes wet in the iOS market, seeing what worked and what didn’t work. It was by no means a perfect app and it was fun while it lasted. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye but it’s for the best.
If you want to download Miitomo for old time’s sake, you can still download it for iOS and Android. Just don't get too attached. Nintendo are running some special events to celebrate Miitomo's final few months so get involved.