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Monday, March 22, 2021

"Making Walking Fun": Nintendo + Niantic Team to Create Mobile Pikmin App

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Who is against walking...?

Tonight, Nintendo and Niantic announced they're teaming up to create a mobile app based on the Pikmin series due for release later this year. It's being developed by the mysterious Niantic Tokyo Studio, which was founded in 2018 but has publicly accomplished nothing up to this point. (It seems the reason for that being the challenge of trying to hire enough quality people to make augmented reality-based smartphone games.)

This is the first real collaboration between Nintendo and Niantic, since Pokémon GO notably doesn't count due to being more of The Pokémon Company. (Which Nintendo still has a part of.) Shigeru Miyamoto was quoted in the short announcement as saying that the theme is “making walking fun” and “We hope that the Pikmin and this app will become a partner in your life.” Then they want you to give them your email address so they'll tell you when there's news.

Pikmin mobile app key art augmented reality Nintendo Niantic walking
Are... there only going to be Pikmin? No other creatures?
Either they're saving that for one of those future news drops, or they're wasting an opportunity.
(And after they added the Piklopedia to Pikmin 3 Deluxe! ...Which, uh, exists, by the way.)

That's the whole gist of it, so my question is... what do people have against walking? Walking isn't like brushing your teeth, which is inherently unpleasant (and Pokémon Smile, which has a very similar theme of making brushing teeth fun, doesn't actually make it fun). Walking is... a necessity. If you want to be fit, play Ring Fit Adventure on the Nintendo Switch. But maybe this is supposed to incentivise walking into the woods (and getting bit by mosquitos) or walking aimlessly on the streets of your city (and getting ran over by cars and bicyclists like Shigeru Miyamoto)?

Like, look at the picture above. If that art is supposed to be accurate and representative, then that means the Pikmin are as small as you'd expect them to be. What's that mean in practice? You'll constantly be looking down on the ground (through your phone) to see the Pikmin. Where do you want your head to be when walking (or any other method of travel)? Forward in front of you, so you can see where you're going without hitting into something, taking a bad turn, or falling down a ditch. That's a sure way to make walking NOT fun.

Consider me a skeptic. In any case, I'm curious on the “gameplay activities designed to encourage walking and make the activity more enjoyable.”

Ludwig wonders who is against walking, but he himself stays in his castle and doesn't go on recreational walks. If he did, he'd be mentioning them on his weekly KoopaTV Fitness Friday logs. ...So maybe he would benefit from this, until he bashes his face against a sign post or something because he wasn't looking where he was going.

A big reason that walking wouldn't be fun are all of the barking dogs.
The mobile app has launched, and it's called Pikmin Bloom. Ludwig doesn't comprehend how it's supposed to make walking fun.


  1. I agree I'd like to see more than pikmin, or at least one bulborb. While I'm still skeptical, the fact that they chose pikmin for this makes me happy. Chibi robo next?

    1. How about things that aren't tiny so you don't have to bend down (or squat) to see them?

    2. I suppose that might be nice. All this has got me thinking if this will be an actual game and not just something like pokemon smile. Wouldn't it be cool if walking a certain number of steps granted you one pikmin, which could in turn be used to fight through a story mode of sorts. Although i guess if walking gives you pikmin, then that would completely change how the game is played, there wouldn't be any numbered pellets lying about as you'd want to incentive walking.

    3. I totally feel like it'll be based around walking pellets to Onions, with Onions being real-life landmarks.


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