Nintendo’s newest Wii channel is pretty freakin’ awesome.
The blue light was on when I got home from a marathon Call of Duty 4 session on Xbox 360 last night, so I eagerly switched on my Wii and discovered, thanks to a note from Nintendo on my Wii Message Board, that a new, free Wii Channel had been added. I hit the Wii Shop, downloaded the Check Mii Out Channel, then spent the next hour completely mesmerized by its charms.
Arguably, Look at Mii is Nintendo’s first real foray into creating an online community. As you can well imagine, one of the fixtures of the new channel is to upload your own Miis onto a database, where Miis from around the world can be seen, as can information on the creator. You can also upload funny Miis and get ranked on how good your funny Mii is. You can look at dozens of Miis from your region as well as around the world. You can sort them in various ways, and even download Miis you especially like onto your Wii. It was hard not to resist the striking Jack Black and Walter (from Big Labowski) Miis.
As I clicked through the pages and pages of Miis from around the world, I was struck by a few things. First, people are a lot more creative in making Miis than I am. There were designs I didn’t even know were possible. Also, Adolf Hitler is an amazingly popular character to design, which is rather disturbing. I thought I was being unique when I spent a half-hour making Mr. Garrison from South Park, only to find that he was another incredibly popular character, as was Kenny from the same show.
The other side of the Check Mii Out Channel is the contests, in which Nintendo gives you a theme and you are supposed to make a Mii that fits the theme, then upload it to the contest page. The current theme is “Mario without a hat," which is certainly an effort to gear up excitement for Super Mario Galaxy’s imminent release. I thought my Mario was quite good, but we’ll see how well it fares overall in five days when the contest ends.
There are a few problems that dog the Look at Mii channel, though. Perhaps most irritatingly, your uploaded Miis are given an ID number which is akin to the much-ballyhooed friend codes, except each of your Miis has its own code. And if you don’t write that code down somewhere, it becomes next to impossible to find your Mii among the thousands that have already been uploaded by now, especially when your character is as popular as Mr. Garrison. I think you should be able to check on all of your Miis simply by clicking on your Mii Artisan Info icon, which lists how many Miis you have created and what your overall rank is.
Also, in an effort to allow people to remain anonymous, and because Nintendo thought that people would upload themselves onto the Check Mii Out Channel, individual Miis do not have full names—only initials. So if I were to upload myself, I would be Z.M. instead of Zachary Miller. I don’t mind that so much, but when people are making funny Miis, it would be helpful, many times, if I could see the full name of who that Mii is supposed to be.
And while people are being very creative with their Miis, it’s becoming obvious that certain Mii options—noses, and eyes, for instances—are far too limited. I could never really get Mr. Garrison’s eyes right, because all of the Mii eyes have enormous pupils. I hope that, in the future, Nintendo releases some new content for the Mii Channel itself.
Overall, though, it’s easy to waste a lot of time on the Look at Mii channel, and I like it. Like I said, it looks like Nintendo is starting to acknowledge the need for an online community that is not hampered by a horrifying friend code system (although that problem persists to some degree here). While I didn’t spend too much time with the Mii Channel before, I am now motivated to get my creative juices flowing. The entire South Park cast? I think I’m up to the challenge!