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Nintendo's Inspiration For Miis Can Be Traced Back To The SNES

SVG 9/8/2022 Brittany Alva
Nintendo Switch Mii close up © Nintendo Nintendo Switch Mii close up

The Nintendo Wii is one of Nintendo's biggest success stories. According to Nintendo, the home console sold over 101 million units, placing it among the best-selling consoles from the company. While the Wii wasn't the flashiest gaming console (it wasn't even high-def), it had plenty of hidden gems for players to discover. The console also featured Miis, a now-iconic part of Nintendo's digital ecosystem.

Miis were first used on the Wii, where players could create their own Mii characters and bring them into various games like "Mario Kart 7" and "Wii Sports." From there, Miis became a part of Nintendo's subsequent hardware and were cemented by the time Nintendo said goodbye to the Wii. Miis even got a few games of their own with "Miitopia" and "Tomodachi Life." However, while Miis initially made their mark on Nintendo fans during Wii's reign, their inspiration actually came from the time of the SNES.

Miyamoto's Mii Ideas Began On SNES And Never Stopped

Shigeru Miyamoto pointing up © John Lamparski/Getty Images Shigeru Miyamoto pointing up

According to Did You Know Gaming, Shigeru Miyamoto, the genius behind many Nintendo franchises like "Mario" and "Zelda," had an idea for a SNES game that allowed players to create faces by mixing and matching different features to make their own characters. There would also be a "scenario disc" that could load and animate created characters. Unfortunately, Miyamoto's colleagues at Nintendo didn't quite understand the vision at the time, and the project was abandoned.

Years later, on the Nintendo 64, the project was picked back up and morphed into "Talent Studio." "Talent Studio" let players create characters, scan in their faces, dress the characters up, and put them into random situations to make animated movies. However, despite seeing a release, Miyamoto's coworkers still weren't sure about the concept.

Eventually, Miyamoto discovered another team developing a Nintendo DS title that let players create digital avatars. Seeing the similarities between what he sought to make and what the team had already accomplished, Miyamoto left his team to work with the others. This project would eventually spawn the Mii Maker Wii Channel some two decades after Miyamoto began pursuing his vision. 

So, not only can fans thank Miyamoto and the SNES for some of Nintendo's most beloved games, but also their favorite Mii characters.

Read this next: Hidden Gems For The Nintendo GameCube

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