…Or that they at least don’t implement it in NYC.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a brief explanation. Every Nintendo 3DS comes with a few apps on, like a Friends List, SwapNote (for sending drawings to each other), things like that. There’s a switch on the righthand side of the 3DS which, when on, will activate StreetPass. You leave your 3DS on in sleep mode in your bag, and it will pick up the ‘tags’ of fellow 3DS owners who are also broadcasting a StreetPass signal. It’s really fun – when you pass someone within range, it almost instantly makes a soft noise. The LED on the outside hinge of your console turns a minty green. It’s very exciting and strangely addicting – each Mii you collect goes to your “Mii Plaza”, where you can collect puzzle pieces from them, gain different hats to put on your own Mii, and you use them as “heros” for a single turn in a little RPG-style Mii game.
Now, some websites like Kotaku are reporting that StreetPass is going to get an overhaul in the West (meaning the US and Europe). You can read it for more info, but here’s the gist:
“…Nintendo plans to implement a new framework via a system update for the 3DS, which will allow StreetPass communication to take place indirectly, via so-called StreetPass relay stations—basically, online servers accessed through public Wi-Fi access points. This way, 3DS consoles communicate with and leave their game data on a server instead of interacting directly with another console, not only increasing the chances of the data being received by another 3DS, but also allowing the same data to be received by multiple consoles instead of just one.”
Now here’s the thing. StreetPass is awesome in areas where people live in high density. By that I mean cities…places where people actually walk around, where you don’t sequester yourself in a car, away from other humans. This is great news for most of the US, most of Canada, and it’s clear to see why Nintendo would want to overhaul their system to benefit those people. But I really hope this is optional, and it sounds at the moment like that is a possibility. I’m aware that places like New York and Seattle are in the extreme minority in the US.
I’ve only just started gathering Miis through StreetPass recently. Usually I would keep the switch off in an attempt to save power, but my 3DS XL’s battery life is actually so good that I don’t have to worry about that. Living in NYC like I do, I get at least 1 person per commute. So that’s about two people a day, minimum. It’s fun and exciting to hop on to the train and think, who else here has a 3DS, squirreled away in their bag? I’m the only one with it actually out, playing in the morning. But clearly tons of people have it in their bags, since I keep getting new Miis. Oh and imagine conventions! A friend of mine bragged recently about how he got 300 new Miis during his first day at PAX East. Exciting :D
I saw there are other commentors from big cities that are hoping this is optional too, on that Kotaku article. I hope so as well. Don’t take this fun excitement from us, Nintendo! Not from places that are similar to Tokyo in terms of density, and have no problem with the fun way StreetPass works. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, as the saying goes. It ain’t broke in New York. It’s just not as exciting when it’s not random. Where’s the fun in simply accessing a server while I’m at home to get a new wave of Miis in my Plaza? I love guessing where it’s coming from, especially since some people look like their Miis.
The most exciting one yet was actually from today’s commute home. I passed a tall, skinny Asian guy while exiting my train station. Just as we crossed each other, the 3DS in my hands beeped softly; a familiar mint-green light glowed on. The Mii is a PERFECT doppleganger for my BOSS at work!
I took tons of pictures and, naturally, texted them all to him and our mutual friends. This face he’s making makes me crack up every time.
Compared with the guy in the back: