Wii U

Wii U Console Menu Worked On By Animal Crossing Director


“Miiverse” is the name of a social networking service, almost similar to Facebook, that will be available on Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U console. Similar down to a Like button (called a “Yeah” button in Miiverse) that will allow you to like comments that you agree with, and notify the person that posted them.


Miiverse has two goals—to allow players with similar gaming interests to communicate with each other, and to create a space where different players can recommend games to each other as well. Both of these are possible from the moment you turn on the Wii U console.


When you boot the Wii U up, you’re presented with a home screen called the “WaraWara Plaza,” which is part of the Miiverse service. This screen shows game icons, messages, and Mii characters of other Wii U owners that are playing games bustling around. In a twist, the game icons displayed here may not be for games that you have played yourself, but the ones that other players who show up in your WaraWara Plaza are playing. “Trending games” might be a good way to put it.


If the idea of Mii characters bustling around and socializing sounds reminiscent of Nintendo’s Animal Crossing series, it’s probably because both the producer and director of Animal Crossing were involved in the development of the Wii U console menu.


The Wii U console menu was coordinated by Hisashi Nogami, director of Animal Crossing. Meanwhile, producer, Katsuya Eguchi, served in an advisory capacity with regard to the WaraWara Plaza and the Miiverse service. Both wanted to give Miiverse a “live” feeling that hadn’t been possible in the past.


For the development of Miiverse, Nintendo teamed up with Hatena, an Internet service company that runs blogs and a Twitter-like micro-blogging service in Japan. Hatena were also responsible for the development of Flipnote Studio on Nintendo DSiWare, and designed Miiverse around the concept of creating occasions where users encounter other people with the same interests.


“With Miiverse, you don’t simply become friends with complete strangers without any prior knowledge. You become friends with someone whom you sense a shared sensibility because you play the same game,” says Miiverse producer, Kiyoshi Mizuki.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.