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The True Origin Of Nintendo Miis May Surprise You

Ah, the Nintendo Wii. That console was something of a game-changer in its day and is considered by many fans to be one of the best Nintendo consoles ever. Not only did the Wii revolutionize motion controls, tapping a whole new market of casual gamers and non-gamers, but it also introduced Miis. These cute, customizable avatars have been tied to Nintendo systems ever since. 


But Miis are more than just quirky icons that reside in a small corner on your dashboard. In fact, Miis have frequently been featured as playable characters in everything from "Wii Sports" to "Super Smash Bros.," to starring roles in games like "Miitomo."

Even though Nintendo slowed down its mobile gaming, Miis were not lost with "Miitomo." Fortunately, the company decided to bring more 3DS franchises to the Switch, and thus a port of the Mii-driven RPG "Miitopia" found its way onto the hybrid console.

The remastered Nintendo Switch version of this game offered a significant creator tool upgrade, allowing fans to take their Miis to the next level. While you browse through the endless catalogue of "Miitopia" fan creations, you might begin to wondering how the minds at Nintendo came up with these unique avatars.


The Nintendo peripheral that never made it to the US

It would make sense that the idea for Miis came from a creative program like "Mario Paint," however, the concept traces back even further in time, to a peripheral that never made it to the States.

In 2007, Shigeru Miyamoto, famed creator of "Super Mario," delivered a keynote presentation for Game Developers Conference (GDC). While rejoicing in the success of the Wii, he decided to offer his audience a history lesson and take everyone back to the beginning: the Famicom Disk System, a Japan-exclusive add-on that was supposed to be home to the Miis' predecessor.


Miyamoto wanted to leverage the Disk System's technology to offer a character creator. In his presentation, he showed off a prototype for a program that never made it to market. Just like when creating Miis, this program allowed you to select and reposition facial features to your liking, alter face shape, and pick a hairstyle. 

The character creator would have come with a separate disk that would allow you to bring your custom avatars to life, but unfortunately, Miyamoto's idea was ultimately shot down. Regardless, the concept he came up with all those years prior would eventually evolve into the Miis that are known and loved around the world today.