Early Stars in the Miiverse Skies

Carolyn Petit is intrigued by the opportunities for self-expression and social connection in Nintendo's new community, the Miiverse.

'

When I first brought my Wii U home last week, I expected it might be the excellent New Super Mario Bros. U that kept me up using my shiny new console into the wee hours. But that wasn't what did it. Instead, much to my surprise, it was the Miiverse that captured my attention more than anything else.

Nintendo's new social environment lets players post brief messages about games, and I had some fun with this. After completing levels in Mario, I was sometimes prompted to express my feelings on those levels with a rhyme, and when I got stuck at a certain point, I liked being able to include a screenshot in a post as I asked for assistance. It was other people's contributions, however, that kept me up for a few hours, happily browsing the Miiverse, giving many posts an emphatic Yeah! (the Miiverse equivalent of a Like on Facebook).

"Seeing the ways in which people touted their victories was more social and more joyous than looking at a list of achievements or trophies in a friend's profile has ever been."
The posts that elicited the most enthusiasm from me weren't the examples of clever wordplay, though many of these got a few chuckles out of me. No, it was the drawings sketched on the Wii U pad and shared in the Miiverse by my fellow users that kept me skimming through communities, looking for the next demonstration of impressive artistry or the next humorous little doodle.

There are no achievements or trophies to be earned on the Wii U--at least not at this point--but this hasn't stopped artistically inclined people from celebrating their own accomplishments. One drawing I saw showed Mario sporting a necklace with five shining stars, similar to those your New Super Mario Bros. U profile is bestowed with when you've earned 100 percent completion in the game. Many users included screenshots next to their drawings to provide visual proof of the feats they were celebrating.

Immediately, such drawings made me feel a sense of camaraderie with these players. I felt that, with a simple click of the Yeah! button or a quick comment, I could join in celebrating their success. Seeing the ways in which people touted their victories was more social and more joyous than looking at a list of achievements or trophies in a friend's profile has ever been. Of course, not every battle in every game goes your way, and the drawings reflected this. One ZombiU player mourned the survivors she felt she had failed, with a row of tombstones sketched to honor their sacrifices. Communicating in this way encourages empathy. Players seem more likely in the Miiverse than in other gaming communities to reach out to each other, sharing in each other's victories and losses, rather than lashing out at each other.

"Miiverse is already a bit more than just a social network supporting the games available on the Wii U. It's something of an attraction in itself."
Not every drawing is about a specific in-game success or failure, though. Some of my favorites were those that celebrated the connections players felt to their favorite characters, such as the drawing by user RachieFace of herself in a Mario cap. Other drawings rang in the Wii U era, like Josh's stylish sketch of Mario stepping into the world of high definition. Plenty of people are just having fun with Nintendo icons, like Danimal's drawing, on the Batman: Arkham City board, of Mario soaring through the air sporting a cape and cowl. Others are lobbying to see some of their favorite characters make an appearance in the next Super Smash Bros. game. Still others are creating precise-looking pixel art, demonstrating the sort of rigid results you can get from your Wii U sketches if you put in some serious time. And many just seek to make you smile, like Player 1's glimpse into the mind of Yoshi, and J.C.'s speculation about rejected Nintendo Land attractions.

This is all just with the very limited tools users have at their disposal now. Miiverse is already a bit more than just a social network supporting the games available on the Wii U. It's something of an attraction in itself. When I fire up the console, my first stop is usually the Miiverse, where I see what the users I follow have been up to and look for new people who are doing interesting stuff with the Wii U's stylus. I love that the Miiverse provides players a platform, limited though it is, to express themselves creatively, to celebrate the games and characters they love, and to connect with like-minded people.

This is the infancy of the Miiverse, which may be only hinting at what it can become. How wonderful would it have been if Mario Paint had let you share your creations with the world? Perhaps now we can have that. People have created such delightful things already; if the Miiverse eventually offers people Mario Paint-like tools for drawing, music, and animation, the imaginative creations we'll see from some users should be extremely impressive indeed.

I really like what the Miiverse is at this point. I don't know how many lewd drawings or foul-mouthed comments Nintendo is nuking every day in order to maintain the friendly vibe of the community and make it feel like a place where people can just enjoy celebrating the games they like and their own accomplishments within those games, but I hope this mood is maintained. And as the Miiverse grows, I hope the tools it gives users grow, too. I really want to see what some of you might do, given the opportunity.

--

Visit our gallery of Miiverse artwork to see some of the sketches users have created.

'

Written By

Want the latest news about New Super Mario Bros. U?

New Super Mario Bros. U

New Super Mario Bros. U

Follow

Discussion

1 comments
Flat_Line_____
Flat_Line_____

 One thing I find kind of amusing is how a good % of the Mii's in the main plaza are actually just bots made by he nintendo staff. When I first started hanging out in the Miiverse I thought it was kind of odd just how many times I kept seeing the same generic questions being asked. Questions like, "Should I buy this game?" Or, "Is this game any good?" pop up over and over again.

I guess they are just there as filler for the times when actual human players are not around so it doesn't feel so empty. What gets me though is that alot of people don't even realize that they are wasting time actually answering a question/topic started basically by a bot. Even though that initial question does sometimes start real conversations between players.

And for those that will think I am crazy, or full of it, watch just how many times those questions get asked (Using the EXACT same structure and spelling.) And then, see how many times the original poster of that question actually responds back in that topic. Yes, sometimes real people really do ask that question I know, but after a while, you can just tell when something is a little off.

But on the subject of user created art, there really is some amazing stuff being done in there. I too have spent quite some time just admiring the talent.

blindkorn09
blindkorn09

Finally an article talking about how AWESOME the Miiverse is!!!!!!!!  I think most game sites released their "Reviews" of the Wii U way too early, because not a single one of them mentioned the amazing art and feeling of community on the Miiverse!  I think that Gamespot should do an amended review of the console now that the community is "Live"

iempire68
iempire68

 it's a pretty neat concept on wii u and i've been wowed many times at the talent i've seen. i too have gotten lost in reading/posting in the different communities. have to say also, it's a very friendly community as well.

SaurabhAV
SaurabhAV

godammit.. you actually made me want to buy a WII U now.. fuck... 

jayd02
jayd02

sometimes I have to turn on my game really fast because a picture from Miiverse will pop up and I have to see who drew it.  Then I spend hours looking at everybody's pictures and not playing games instead.

 

What makes it good now is only the dedicated fans are on the Wii U.  When everybody gets one is when the trolls and the hate comes.  Lets enjoy it now while we can.

nini200
nini200

Hilariously enough, Funky Barn has some amazingly hilarious and well done troll art

Evilnator
Evilnator

The gaming community actually doing something worthwhile, this is impressive.

cynicalundead
cynicalundead

This is my most favorite thing about the WiiU. I love drawing pictures on Miiverse. I also love how you can see and talk to everyone who is out there. Please check out my art... I have over 500 'yeahs' so I guess I am okay. My username is Bonecoaster. Here is  one of my favorites: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/A85aL9ZCEAE3JYi.jpg:large

 @carolynmichelle

Vickman178
Vickman178

Miiverse has already helped me find some secret levels in Mario Bros U. Even after I still couldn't find it after the guy gave me a description, he then just drew me a picture which made it a lot easier for me to find.

 

Freaking Genius!

ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

Anybody that thought Miiverse would be a novelty is an idiot. Just look at all the populated game forums around the web... I expect the ps4/720 to have similar features it is nothing innovative just natural progression. 

2611mp
2611mp

Soon it will be "you have completed level 1, do you want to share this on Facebook? No? Well you better tweet it then because you're not seeing level 2 until you give us some free advertising."

Jadedfever
Jadedfever

I Knew Nintendo would make Communicating fun,they are always fun,can't wait to pick up my Pal Wii u up today.

franzito
franzito

So Miiverse can be used as a mural of sorts?

Zanoh
Zanoh

Simply put, the greatest trophy is connectivity, how well a community reacts to each other's individual achievements. That is why I prefer Miiverse over online leader boards and trophies.

teknic1200
teknic1200

 @blindkorn09 not to mention the fact that a whole bunch of things that didn't work on day one now work.

 

miiverse keeps me off of gamefaqs when I'm home from work.

garysingh34
garysingh34

I was like you but eventually took the plunge and I have not regretted it one bit! Lifes too short....I told myself!

teknic1200
teknic1200

 @jayd02 seeing as how they will need to actually have a wii u, many of the trolls that hang around places such as this won't have the opportunities to troll miiverse..

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

 @jayd02 that right there is my problem with it because I don't care about that crap well it is crap to me so if when I ever get a wii u I hope you can turn stuff like that off

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

 @jayd02 

It's okay, we can always gang up on them and have them banned.

cynicalundead
cynicalundead

 @jayd02 I have logged maybe 5 hours playing actual games, 20+ hours on Miiverse, drawing and talking to people. 

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

 @ArabrockermanX I don't see my self using it at all and it wont matter what system it is it seem to be similar to ps Home and I'm never on that did try it out but that type of stuff isn't for me

Luizao2779
Luizao2779

 @ArabrockermanX It is innovation over what is out right now. It will make Sony and MS try something similar or better. Which even you would agree is GOOD. Just hating because it is first done in WiiU is really lame.

franzito
franzito

 @Zanoh The main problem with leaderboards, I guess, is the suspicious high scores. The trophies are pure and simple show off.

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

 @alrepairs 

Lol, we watched it at the same time O_O

 

I, unfortunately, did not have the luxury of growing up with Zelda, the first Zelda game I ever beat (forgive me) is Skyward Sword but hey, at least I started at the origin story XD. I'm in the process of playing through Ocarina of Time 3D, tried Twilight Princess by didn't like it (might go back to it and try again). I definitely want to play Windwaker and maybe when VC launches on eShop, I'll get A Link to the Past. 

alrepairs
alrepairs

 @shadowhunter0  @jayd02 You probably don't want a Wii U if the sight of "Miis" anger you LMAO.

 

The console nor it's content is crap.   You just don't prefer it.

 

know the difference.

jayd02
jayd02

 @shadowhunter0 Let me explain how the console works since you don't have one.  When you turn it on the Miiverse comes up on your tv screen while the gamepad shows the channels.  Your Mii's run down and the Miiverse pops up and then you see things.  You don't have to look at it at all.  Just keep looking at the gamepad and you can start your game without ever looking at the Miiverse.

 

For me though I like to look to see what crazy drawing comes up.  Like cynicalundead said before, you will probably spend most of your time looking at other comments and other communities.  It will get ridiculous when more games get released and when more people get the console.

Jadedfever
Jadedfever

 @franzito  @Zanoh IKR,I sometimes wonder how people get such high scores in just such less amount of time.

alrepairs
alrepairs

 @abHS4L88 I feel REALLY old ;.;

 

My first game was "The Legend of Zelda" in 1988 @ 2 years old.  Ever since then I was captivated.

armodillo17
armodillo17

 @abHS4L88  @alrepairs Wind Waker was my first Zelda game. So amazing. I got about a 3rd of the way through Twilight Princess before I lost access to the game. I've since played the original and am a little more than halfway through Zelda II. I want to try to play the rest in order.

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

 @alrepairs  @jayd02 I never said the console was crap I think the wii u is a good system but and yes I don't prefer who like this kinda of stuff so for me it is useless crap and that is my opinion of it and I don't care if you are anybody else likes it

 

and it doesn't anger me but to me it would get an annoying quickly

shadowhunter0
shadowhunter0

 @jayd02 it would still be nice to be able to disable it completely

 

if and when I do get a wii u I might actually like it but I doubt it I probably get annoyed with it and just look at the controller when I start up the system like you said

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

 @cynicalundead 

I contributed about 15 XP

 

Yeah, that's me. I suck at coming up with user names so I just abbreviate a part of me into my username :P

cynicalundead
cynicalundead

 @abHS4L88 I just sent you a friend request... I think it is you. There were a bunch of letters and numbers like the username here. I have over 600 yeahs now. ;) over a 100 in 24 hours. :)

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

 @cynicalundead  

Oh, you were talking about overall, I have 126 but I'm not as active an artist as you are :P

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

 @alrepairs 

Lol, I'm replaying Kirby's Epic Yarn, Return to Dreamland while still playing through Super Mario Galaxy (with Luigi) and The Little King's Story. Debating on restarting Rune Factory: Frontier since my first save file won't let me progress for some reason (despite having an amazing field DX).

alrepairs
alrepairs

 @abHS4L88 Haha, it's cool to know we're both in the same age range ^^.

 

Funny, I haven't been on Miiverse lately...playing Skyward Sword again on the Wii U for a bit.

 

Though the game isn't "Upscaled" to 1080p on the Wii U, colors look more polarized and ultimately better in HDMI, versus the washed up component output.

 

Now Nintendo...give us a texture/shader patch for Wii games ;).

abHS4L88
abHS4L88

 @alrepairs 

Well it should be obvious that you're not much older than me :P unless you consider 2 years much older XD

armodillo17
armodillo17

 @xdrmonkeyfishx  It's not because you were young; it's just a hard game. I've kind of stalled on it at the moment, because of the difficulty. It's not just that it's difficult to stay alive, it's how penalizing death is. Not only do you go back to the beginning, but you lose all your XP (or whatever they call it). It makes it very, very difficult to level up late in the game. I really like the side-scrolling battle idea, and surprising depth of combat (high/low blocking, upsword/downsword moves), but I really don't like how the game discourages exploration with the enemies (who are MUCH faster than you) that pop up whenever you leave the path. Exploration was one of the most fun parts of the original, to me.

xdrmonkeyfishx
xdrmonkeyfishx

 @armodillo17  @abHS4L88  @alrepairs I found Zelda II one of the most difficult Zelda games, probably because I was a kid when I played it. It's really different, which is why I like it so much. You guys should try Majora's Mask. It's nearly as good as Ocarina, but a lot darker