MICRO-REVIEW: MIITOMO

 Pic made in-game. If this doesn't sell you Miitomo, I don't know what will.

Pic made in-game. If this doesn't sell you Miitomo, I don't know what will.

I am a gaming omnivore. With the desperation of a thirsty alcoholic, I clamor for more and more diversions from life’s metronome, while facetiously demanding that these be awesome for free, and readily available. Anything can be a game, really, and any game can be fun. Even among cheap and dirty paper-bagged malt beers, one finds shining stars, and Miitomo resonates as one such guilty pleasure. Nintendo’s new cartoon avatar-oriented social networking game provides laughter without wit, fun without skill, and breadth without depth - and I play it every day. On account creation, Miitomo requests access to your phone's camera (to snap pictures for cute-ification into Mii-form) and preexisting Facebook & Twitter accounts (to import friendlists of friend-Mii's). From there on out, it's pretty much show & tell. 

 Allow me to explain Miitomo's elaborate info-economy by way of flowchart.

Allow me to explain Miitomo's elaborate info-economy by way of flowchart.

Imagine all your real-life friends as immortal tamagotchi’s: they dawdle; they chirp; they change, insignificantly, over time; and they don’t die if you forget to feed them. Now swirl in a Balderdash of personal questions and a bottlenecked daily clothes-shopping economy, and you have Miitomo. There is a Gabe Newell quote somewhere about industrializing the playerbase, drafting them into the game design production chain. Miitomo champions this attitude, as it does little else than translate your and your friends’ wardrobe choices and quiz responses into something bobble-headedly pleasant. But, you know what? For such a nefarious sham, it does this so well. Miitomo proves to me that a video-game needn’t challenge skills, command attention, nor broaden the imagination to delight. Sometimes it is enough for a game just to keep you company on a long busride home. And hey, who would've thought you'd be able to hear completely unfiltered profanity coming out of Nintendo toons?

Miitomo: Nintendo's Zen of daily-dose cuteness. On iOS & Android. Twenty minutes a day, for a week and a half so far.