Skip to main content

Splatoon 3 is already my favorite social media platform

While I loved my time with Splatoon 3 during my pre-release time with it, something was missing from the experience. Nintendo asked reviewers testing the game during the few days where servers were up to not create in-game messages, the social staple of the series. That meant that the streets of Inkopolis were a little quiet during my stay, with no posts popping up over players’ heads. I couldn’t wait to see how much fans would liven the place up once the game officially launched.

They did not disappoint.

Related Videos

Less than a day in, Splatoon 3 is already thriving as a social space. New players are bringing out the big guns as they fill the game with hilarious and utterly unhinged posts that have me logging in just to browse through more. If you’re looking for the next great social media platform, it’s Splatoon 3.

The Splatverse

If you’re new to Splatoon, the series may not seem like it’s well equipped for social interaction. The game doesn’t have any voice chat and players can mostly only communicate in matches by shouting “Boo-yah!” When you’re walking around the game’s hub world, you’re not interacting with live players either. Ghost data populates the world, as friends and players you’ve encountered become NPCs that sit around.

A post in Splatoon 3 says a user is playing the game on a modded 3DS.

That may feel classically Nintendo in how behind the times it is, but there’s a key communication tool in Splatoon 3. Like previous games, players can create rectangular messages that’ll display over their avatar’s head when they populate someone else’s lobby. Sometimes, messages will even appear as graffiti on walls. It’s a holdover from both games’ Wii U origins, as players could use the gamepad to draw messages and Nintendo’s Miiverse for social experiments.

Walking through the streets of Inkopolis is essentially like scrolling through a self-contained social media site filled with posts. It’s an un-curated revolving door of absurd jokes and memes that are often hysterical. Log in today and you’ll find an eclectic assortment of posts, ranging from Among Us references to goofs about Queen Elizabeth II’s recent passing.

“Queen is temporary, Splatoon is forever,” read one post I ran into.

A Splatoon 3 post says "Queen is temporary, Splatoon is forever."

What’s always been incredible about Splatoon is the way a community forms in a game with incredibly limited communication tools. It’s not like every Splatoon player is huddled up on a subreddit coordinating what everyone’s going to post about in any given week. Humor in the Splatoon universe is an organic, iterative process where players simply see something funny and riff on it accordingly. The series has its own secret language of memes, and its creation is still one of gaming’s most special community stories.

It’s not just a space for jokes. Some players use the post feature to create legitimately cool fan art within the limitations of the system. Others are already using it to make the game a haven for queer and trans folks, throwing messages of support out into the void. “Shout out to trans people,” one post I encountered succinctly states alongside a drawing of an Octoling offering a fist bump. Just about the only thing you won’t find in Splatoon 3 is heated discourse. There’s no real way to achieve that, turning the Switch game into an ideal social platform.

A Splatoon 3 post says "Un-follow me now, this is going to be the only thing I post about for the next week."

What I especially love about Splatoon’s approach to messages is that there’s no real validation attached to it. Players aren’t in it for likes, as there aren’t really any resharing or reaction tools outside of a “Fresh” button. They’re simply doing it for the love of the game and community. Compared to actual social media platforms like Twitter and TikTok that thrive on the mental mind games that come with the engagement chase, a Splatoon 3 lobby might be the healthiest social media you could engage with right now.

On the game’s launch weekend, I salute the selfless posters who are simply in it to make Inkopolis feel alive and weird. Even if the threequel doesn’t bring many new changes to the series, I’m happy that it already feels like home again.

Splatoon 3 is out now on Nintendo Switch.

Editors' Recommendations

Bayonetta 3’s outrageous action has already cast a spell on me
Bayonetta smirks while falling through the sky below a massive fish-monster in Bayonetta 3.

Game previews should be taken with some skepticism. When you see one, you are looking at a single slice of the game, carefully curated to accentuate the best parts of the gameplay and presentation, while minimizing any potential shortcomings. When I had the chance to play 15 minutes of Bayonetta 3 behind closed doors at PAX West, I applied every bit of healthy cynicism I could muster, and came away with one conclusion.

I think the Switch exclusive could be in the running for game of the year. It's that good.
A demon-infused spectacle
Bayonetta 3 looks to continue the story of its titular witch heroine. Like the previous entries in the saga, it’s a fast-paced action game in the vein of Devil May Cry (which is no surprise, as Hideki Kamiya created both series). The eponymous Bayonetta hacks and slashes enemies with a mix of guns, melee weapons, powers, and demon summons. The series has always been a visual treat, but this newest entry looks like it may be an absolute feast. 

Read more
Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is adding a very mechanical DLC hero
Ino in Xenoblade Chronicles 3.

A new mechanical hero is joining in the next wave of Xenoblade Chronicle 3's DLC. This fresh party member named Ino is a part of the game's expansion pass, which is split up into four volumes.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 Expansion Pass Wave 2 | Nintendo Direct September 2022

Read more
Splatoon 3 players: You need to download the Nintendo Switch Online app
The new Nintendo Switch OLED Splatoon 3 model.

Splatoon 3 just wrapped up its launch weekend, with players flooding into Inkopolis to live the life of a kid-squid. If you're one of those players, there's a handy companion you're going to want to bring along to the Turf War: the Nintendo Switch Online app.

Nintendo's historically under-supported mobile app is primarily used as a tool for players who want to use voice chat in games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. For Splatoon 3, however, it has several other purposes -- some of which allow players to earn exclusive gear not found in the game itself.

Read more